Finishing the Basement

Posted 2014-06-01  

Loading lumber in the snow. First day. Framing first day. Little helper. Spray foam completed. Shower floor. Framing completed. Living room. Bathroom. Living room A/V cabinets.

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We moved into our current house in Spring of 2009. We’ve always wanted to finish the basement, and I’ve been drawing plans in my head for years. So when I had 3 weeks off in December 2013, I decided it was time to finally get started on the project.

The plan originally included a wet bar and fireplace, but in the end we decided not to do either of them. The fireplace didn’t work out because it was very difficult to vent the pipe through the joist space we had available. The fireplace rep’s answer was to just remove some of the heat shielding. “It should be fine” he said. I kindly thanked him for the advice and ran the other way. We decided to skip the wet bar as well because it isn’t something we would really use much, and the location where it would sit means it could be added on later if desired.

I did all the work myself with the exception of the spray foam insulation, carpet and drywall. The list of work included:

  • Framing the walls/soffits
  • Jack hammering out the shower floor and re-leveling it
  • Wiring lights/outlets/smoke alarms
  • Installing the outlets/switches/light fixtures
  • Wiring cable/ethernet
  • Wiring A/V
  • Zoned HVAC system for basement
  • Pluming for shower/toilet/sink
  • Tiling bathroom floor
  • Installing shower/door
  • Installing toilet
  • Installing vanity
  • Installing misc hardware in bathroom
  • Installing vent fan/vent through wall
  • Installing built in A/V cabinets
  • Replacing 8’x3.5’ window in basement
  • Priming/painting
  • Installing doors
  • Installing basement/casement trim around doors/windows
  • Ripping out existing carpet in upstairs living room, which we had replaced at the same time as the new carpet was installed.

Start to finish the project took several months. The progress went really fast the first few weeks when I worked 18 days in a row on it, but slowed afterward when I was back at work, because I could only work on the weekends.

Chuck Hays works at Google as an SWE on the Duo team.

Chuck was formerly a Senior SDE at Microsoft working on the Azure AppPlat team.

Chuck lives in Minnesota and is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota with a master's degree in Computer Science & robotics.

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