If you missed yesterday’s post, hop over there right now and see the “before” photos of our desolate, unfinished basement.
The Suburble family has paired up with DRIcore Products to finish our basement, and finish it well. If you’ve never seen the fabulous blue-bottomed board before, head to DRIcore Products and check it out!
When we started making plans to renovate our house, the basement was first on the list.
The basement would be where our guests would stay. It would also have a playroom, and maybe a little space for the men to play ping-pong and entertain each other with their witty repartee. But right now – it was a concrete room. With exposed floor joists. And a hot water tank just hanging out for all the world to see.
I’d learned about DRIcore from my incessant watching of home improvement shows. The basement remodels always included the installation of DRIcore subfloor, the click-together panels that let moisture travel beneath the subfloor and left the flooring (and baseboards, walls, strewn-about toys) dry.
The pallets of material arrived, and Mr. Suburble and I immediately got to business. We watched the video, gathered our tools, and started hauling panels down to the basement.
A measuring tape
A skill/circular saw
A hammer/small sledge
A tapping block/piece of lumber
(Optional, but VERY helpful) Flat pry bars, typically used for installing floating floors
Measure the square footage of your basement and then divide that number by 3.3 .That will determine the number of panels you need to complete the subfloor (including loss when making cuts, etc).
Before you do anything, you have to take a trot around your basement and be sure that it’s – for the most part – level. If there are some big disparities, you’re going to have to use self-levelling concrete, or grind the humps down. Not-so-obvious spots can be sorted out once the floor is laid – with a concrete drill and tapping screws – but the big valleys in the floor need to be dealt with before installation.
Then, you sweep. We brought out our little Shop Vac and our push broom and started cleaning up all of the little rocks and bits that were on the floor. Again – the best surface is a level surface. Take the time to prep it.
When installing DRIcore, you want to be sure that you aren’t left with a piece that is less than 3″ on either side. This means measuring the width of your walls and doing a bit of math.
A surefire way to be sure that your basement gets finished? Write all over the walls with permanent marker. Your wife will be so horrified that she will make a silent promise to herself that the basement walls will be finished as soon as possible – as walls peppered with math-graffiti are NOT going to be left in her beautiful basement space.
Mr. Suburble did some figuring, and determined whether we needed to cut down our first board or not (to ensure that our final board width was greater than 3″).
The panels were put down in a brick pattern (to ensure that the floor was its strongest and seams did not meet). DRIcore works in a tongue-and-groove fashion – you slip the two boards together and then tap them together to ensure the panels are flush. We used the tapping block for some joints, but for the most part, our flat pry bars were the most efficient at getting a snug fit. Immediately, the subfloor started to take shape.
The boards cut easily with our little circular saw. See how Mr. Suburble is properly attired for being a Weekend Warrior? Safety glasses (yes, they’re tinted – they’re from his work), long jeans, closed-toe boots….
… and here is his goof-ball wife. I’m only showing you this so you can see what NOT to look like when you’re playing with power tools. My sunglasses became my safety shades. And my footwear…
Look away, kids.
But look at how happy I am to put the flooring in! It’s happening. The basement is coming together!
And it did, very quickly… .
We cut our pieces around corners and door jambs and found that install really wasn’t all that difficult. In the space of two afternoons, our basement floor was completed!
Once the floor had been laid, we broke out this baby.
It’s a concrete drill. And we rented it for about $35 including the concrete tapping screws. Mr. Suburble pulled out some of his inverted marking paint (which is just a fancy way of saying spray paint that you shoot upside down) and we started walking around the room. Anywhere that we felt a bit of a wow in the subfloor that wasn’t just the regular bounce of a floating floor, we marked with paint.
We drilled pilot holes through the subfloor into the concrete, and then followed with screws that were flush with the floor. This prevented any movement in the floor and the previously not-quite-perfectly-level slab wasn’t any longer a problem.
Again – this isn’t going to work for big valleys – but the little ones can be handled just fine with this technique.
But after I was done admiring the mister, I glanced up at the basement.
It was thing of beauty. No longer a hard, concrete floor – we now had a subfloor.
Already the basement was seemingly more finished. And brighter.
We put our hands on our hips and surveyed our work. Not bad for a weekend’s worth of work!
The basement is happening! Next thing you know… we’re going to have walls.
And a bathroom!
Are you working on a basement project yourself? Head over to the DRIcore Pinterest boards and get inspired – there’s tonnes of good basement-y stuff on there. And visit DRIcore to learn more about their subfloor, SMARTWALL and advice from the pros!