Once the back of the basement was clear of our crap, it was time to start framing the back half of the basement.
The hardest part of the basic framing was making all of the walls square to each other. With some of the walls already in place, we made it as square as we could.
Outer Wall Framing
Using a laser level, we installed the bottom and top plates on the outside perimeter walls, and then put in studs every 16″ inches on centre. Basic stuff.
Doing the basic framing was relatively easy, but framing around the windows and closet was more challenging. The other challenge was framing around our dryer duct, but we created a nice little channel for the duct to travel down to where the dryer will be.
We have two windows in the space that need to be finished: one that was already installed and a new one that we custom ordered.
Once the new window was in, we could complete the framing around both windows. A lot of basement windows have drywall returns for trim, but I wanted a wood trim that stuck out just slightly past the drywall (about 1/4″). I managed to find pine at Home Depot for about $100 per window that was almost deep enough for the trim.
To make the window trim, I essentially made a pine box based on the window dimensions. Since the trim itself was just shy of the depth I needed (more on that fix later), I didn’t have to worry about ripping the pine boards. Beauty.
Once I had the trim boxes done, I used the framing to put them in the right spot, making sure the trim would stick out approximately 1/4″ past the finished drywall. It wasn’t easy to get the boxes level, plumb and sticking out the right amount, but we eventually got there (ish). We then nailed the trim to the framing to keep it in place.
To close the gap between the window itself and the trim (because the pine wasn’t quite wide enough), I used 1/4″ thick and 3″ wide pieces of wood to create a subtle accent. When it’s painted white, I don’t think it’ll be visible at all. The only annoying bit was the extension trim didn’t leave enough space for the window crank so I had to get creative. Ideally I would have made the trim 1/4″ to 1/2″ wider, but the foundation of the house wouldn’t let me. Again, when it’s painted white, it won’t be noticeable.
The other framing challenge was for the closet in the spare bedroom. Half of the closet was already framed for the boiler “room”, but we need to frame around a PAX closet that we bought from Ikea. My idea was to essentially have a wall of closets (the PAX and the boiler) so it looked custom and built in.
Once all the other framing was done, I build the PAX and put it in place, making sure it was square and plumb. Then we framed around it. Getting the measurements just right was tough and we took our time to make sure it was done right.
I also made a melamine door frame for the mechanical closet for the future cabinet doors to attach to.
The last and most annoying piece related to framing was installing the pocket door track.
In designing the basement, I knew I didn’t want a door on the spare bedroom because the room was small and I wanted to take advantage of the open space between the bedroom and the under-stair storage. We had a couple of options that we went back and forth (a lot) about.
In the end, we decided to put the pocket door across the hallway. The door itself (when open) would sit behind the PAX closet.
Figuring out the hardware and how to build it flush with the drywall ceiling was a long and frustrating feat. The rep from Hafele didn’t seem to understand what I was trying to do or have an option for a track that was flush with the ceiling, so I had to figure it out myself. It ended up being a bit of a hack where I got wall mounting brackets and installed the track to 2x4s in the ceiling.
Once all the framing was done, the last step was to complete all of the utilities in the ceiling: electrical (including a future power circuit for our garage), plumbing, HVAC and insulation.
I’m really not a fan of drywalling – or more specifically, mudding and sanding – but luckily it’s a small room that doesn’t have a lot of surface area.
We installed the ceiling boards first and then the walls. It didn’t take long since there weren’t that many panels and the room was just over 8 feet (so not much cutting!). Taping and mudding took about a week, but unfortunately coincided with a 2-week-long heat wave. The sweat and drywall dust created a nice paste on my skin.
And like every other room in the house, I primed and then painted two coats of Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace. Painting is really my favourite step – mostly because it signifies the end of the drywalling process. But in this case, it was also exciting because it meant our new washer and dryer could be delivered.
Washer and Dryer Delivery
The washer and dryer holds particular significance for us. When we first moved into the house, the washer and dryer lived in the kitchen. We were able to move the machines down to the basement by taking them apart – something we weren’t going to do with new machines. So when we first moved in, we dreamed of the day when we would widen the stairs to the basement and move new machines down those wider stairs. That was 6 years and 3 kids ago and a lot has happened since.
Next up: our built-in storage!