I'm finishing my basement. I've read many previous posts about
fastening walls to the floor. But my question is a little
Many of the walls I'm putting up (traditional 2x4 construciton frames)
are right up against the poured concrete exterior walls of the
basement. What type of fastening for the lower wall plates is
acceptible for the walls that butt up directly to the exterior walls?
I was thinking just a little Liquid Nails would be OK for the exterior
walls since any force that may be applied to the wall would just be
absorbed by the poured concrete walls of my basement behind them.
For the interior partition walls, I was going to use nails fired
through the plates and into the concrete of the floor with one of the
.22 calibre nailers and some Liquid Nails (for a little insurance & to
hold the plate in place during nailing). I'm using PT wood &
galvanized nails for the lower wall plates.
Thoughts or suggestions? Any suggestions regarding sealing?
Any issues with floors cracking from the nailing?
How much of a gap do you suggest? the 1.5" of a 2x4 would be
convenient to do. I have not heard about this technique to help reduce
moisture problems. Anyone have experience with that?
Thanks for your replies everyone.
I have seen two very disparate methods of finishing a basement/below-grade
wall: Furring "strips", half-studs or full, "2x4" studs *or* 4x8 sheets of
high density polystyrene (StyroFoam<tm>) glued (PL400?) to the concrete wall
(poured or block) and sheetrock glued to that.
Which is better? Which is more "do-able" by a do-it-yourselfer?
Personally I would drill into the concrete and use an appropriate
anchor. They make some new types you might not be aware of. One is
inserted into the hole and hammered until it spreads. Then a nut is
screwed down on it. They even make concrete screws/anchors but I
haven't had good luck with those. The liquid nail would probably seal
the underside but cheaper caulking would do the same.
I have the green charges right now. If they don't work for me I'll be
picking up the yellows which I think have a little more kick to 'em.
Yes I'm definitely insulating and planned on a vapor barrier on the
So I have a suggestion for a gap and one for using spray-on closed
foam. I like the gap idea as opposed to the closed foam since it
doesn't add cost. Is there a big advantage to using the foam over a
Thanks again ALL!
I just used standard 22 nail gun. My 14 year old son loved firing it
although often he didn't swing the hammer hard enough. I had to leave a
little space in back as the floor was not even next to the walls. Never had
any of the walls shift. I put up paneling and did a lot of driving of nails
into the walls.
I also painted the walls with water sealing plaster (Bil Dry, I believe)
before doing anything.
I found it was worth the trouble to predrill the bottom plate as it was hard
to drive galvanized nails through the pressure treated wood mainly because
the studs weren't against anything.
Lately, I have been going with Tapcon concrete screws, about one every
By "directly to exterior walls", you should leave a small space - partly
for breathing space to avoid moisture problems, and partly because that
exterior wall may not be as plumb as you will want your stud wall to be.
A good practice to follow. I go a little further (yea, "overkill") and
also use sill gasket between the PT plate and the concrete.
Our building code requires that sill plates be either PT or use sill
gasket beneath them, and when we built our home we went with both, so I
follow the same practice anywhere a wood is fastened to concrete that is
"I really think Canada should get over to Iraq as quickly as possible"
Thanks for all the feedback guys. You've given me a lot of feedback
that I definitely do apprecaite. I will definitly make sure I have an
airgap between my stud wall and the concrete to have decent ventilation
back that and to make sure my walls are nice and plumb.
Thanks again for all your feedback and if anyone has any more
suggestions, please let me know!
Code in my part of Minnesota now calls for a moisture barrier between
the insulation and the exterior wall. This is in addition to the
traditional moisture barrier between the insulation and the interior
wall. This is also the case in much of Canada.
You can just staple plastic sheeting to the studs.
It wouldn't hurt to see what your local code requires. (Even if you
aren't pulling permits.) My city has some of the more common
requirements on-line and the inspectors are usually pretty helpful.
Don't know for sure but you may have good idea. Look at a the site operated
by 'Shell Busey'.
Search his site for "Basement Finishing".
You should get an article that describes putting 10 foot wide plastic sheet
down the concrete wall, under the stud wall**, then putting the tail-end up
the inside of the wall, overlapping that with the actual vapour barrier on
the inside (warm side of the wall under the plasterboard or whatever), the
vapour barrier then going up to the ceiling etc, see his diagram.
The reason given is "to prevent moisture emanating from the concrete to the
wood studs". I like that idea; although I have no problems with dampness it
sounds like a good idea. It encases the stud wall where it is below
grade/ground level with plastic on both sides; might be good idea, at the
top of the wall outside the new basement stud wall there will be an air
pocket that can breathe to the outside?
** hadn't realized this before but Busey also shows the bottom plate of the
proposed basement stud wall sitting on a pad of foam insulation, same width
as the 2 by 4 plate! Thus insulating it from the concrete floor??? I guess
the foam will stand the weight of the wall? Most of us would put a piece of
PT treated 2 by 4 as the plate w/o foam and then use regular studs, I think?
Idea anyway. Terry
Thanks a lot for the link. Looks like good info.
I guess if I go with NO air gap but have the plastic sheet on both
sides of the stud wall, that will protect the studs from any moisture
emanating from the wall. Also, having little or no air gap will reduce
the amount of moist air from the house to get between the stud wall and
the concrete wall.
But it also seems having an air gap would help to ventilate any
moisture that may tend to collect between the fram system and the wall.
It seems the best of both worlds is the plastic sheet both sides of the
wall to protect both the wood and insulation and then leave some air
gap to allow some ventilation?
BTW. I'm in SE Michigan. It doesn't reallly get that cold here and I
don't plan on heating or air conditioning the basement. I will mainly
use the basement to entertain in the Summer, Spring or Fall.
Occasionally in the Winter. It will always be nice and cool down there
but never cold enough to warrant any extra heating than what I get from
heating the rest of my ranch. Also, I run a dehumidifier just to be
Thanks again for everybody's feedback. If anybody has any more I'd
love to hear it!
On 1 Apr 2006 18:44:01 -0800, " email@example.com"
I'd be very cautious about plastic sheeting on both sides of the wood.
Code here (Calgary, Canada) used to require a moisture barrier between
the studs and concrete wall from floor to joists, in addition to the
required vapour barrier.
That proved to be a moisture envelope -- so code was changed to
require a moisture barrier four feet from the floor or to ground
In practice, as long as a basement does NOT have a plastic moisture
barrier from floor to joists, the city inspectors are happy. If
there is a full height moisture barrier, they will ask you to cut
large X's in it .. to open it up.
Why not phone your municipality and ask what code requires .. and what
their experience is.
Thanks for the info.
Code here only requires the barrier on the warm side of the wall but I
thought doing both sides might be a belt & suspenders solution for a
small increase in cost. I think I'll just do the one (warm) side and
leave it at that. It's a lot easier that way.
It turns out my concrete walls are not plumb vertical so I have a V-gap
going from the base of the wall to the top with the gap at the top
being about 2 inches. I'm stuck with that unless I really stuff it
with insulation which I don't plan on doing. So there will be a small
1 of the long exterior basement walls will be in an unfinished area and
I won't be insulating it. I also won't be heating or cooling the
basement (other than using the HVAC from the rest of the house) so I
don't think I will have moisture problems either way. Plus I have had
the aluminium foil test going on for several days now (including this
severe rain) and there's no evidence of moisture on the walls or floor.
So I think I'm going to stick with the vapor barrier on only the warm
side and allow the gap to be whatever it turns out to be. Keep my
dehumidifier down there for insurance and just get down to business. I
got to GET 'ER DONE!!
Thanks for all your feedback guys...
On 1 Apr 2006 18:44:01 -0800, " firstname.lastname@example.org"
I think the air-gap is a bad idea. If the pocket is sealed off,
then at best it does no good at all. If the pocket is vented
to the inside, then you've created an inaccessible area where
mildew and vermin can hide, from which they can invade your
If they're vented to the outside, then you're
guaranteeing moisture in the pocket, where it might not
otherwise be. This might be a good idea if you KNOW
you've got water problems that you can't actually solve,
Far better to solve any bulk-water intrusion
issues first, then seal the wall against vapor, and put
close-cell foam (either spray or panel) up against the wall.
and then build the studwall against that.
The indoor side of the foam won't condense moisture, because
it's not cold. The wall-side of the foam won't condense
moisture, because water vapor cant get there, and there's
no room anyway. No moisture, no mold.
Are you sure you can do that? Is your walls 100% plumb? Go easy on it.
Also frame height better be little less than ceiling height and let the
wall float. Concrete nail with a gun(rent one) will work well.
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