August 25th, 2013 9:02 PM by Dan Howard
Material selection for the basement can make the difference between having an enjoyable family living area in the basement or a dreaded dark and smelly place.
Frame walls with steel studs instead of wood studs. It is not really so scary to use steel studs. They are easy to cut and screw together. They are better in basements because they are not a source of food for termites or mold.
Do not install the new walls directly against the foundation. Allow an air space of an inch between your new walls and the foundation. That air space allows trapped condensate to vent out from behind walls.
Use a wall finish such as fiberglass drywall. Traditional drywall, including MR (Moisture Resistant) board supports the growth of mold. Some of the fiberglass faced drywall products are DensArmor and Greenglass Board.
Raise the wall finish and any wood trim about 3/8” up from the floor. This avoids the wicking of moisture up a wall if a leak occurs.
Select a floor material that is resistance to water breakdown or mold. Some examples would include carpet that is Olefin yarn based as opposed to other yarn systems. Avoid carpet pad. When you think about it, carpet pad is really a sponge that will hold dirt, odors and mold
Read the instructions on all flooring before purchasing. Yes, I know that reading directions is a tough task. An example of why this is important is the popular composite or laminate flooring. Some of these materials specify “not for use in a below grade application.” Others require specialized underlayment or procedures for this use. Ceramic or solid vinyl flooring products such as Traffic Master are examples of good products for basements.
When installing flooring, use adhesive suited for damp areas. Saving money on adhesives can be an expensive mistake
In the end, if a basement is not a comfortable place to go, it has little value. That is unless you want to grow mushrooms in your very own basement cave.