Reply by jmos

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Posted on Unfinished basement for wood shop?

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839 posts in 2393 days

#1 posted 09-05-2012 08:19 PM

Your situation sounds exactly like mine.

I did coat my walls (entire basement) with Drylock; not the best stuff you can get, but not bad. If your place has good exterior drainage, you should be fine even with bare walls. If it has poor drainage, I don’t think any type of interior film will help. My basement walls have been dry (5 years, bought new construction), and it’s not too humid. I’ve had no problems with rust at all.

Temperature wise, the basement is cool, and fairly consistent; summer or winter. I actually prefer it a bit on the cold side; don’t see any need to insulate walls.

I also put up a wall to separate my shop from the rest of the basement. I used 2×4’s on 20” centers and covered it in the non-shop side with 3/8” CDX plywood. My main goals were to keep the kids out and the dust in. My shop area has no HVAC vents or returns, and if it did I would have sealed them off to prevent geting dust in the rest of the house. My shop area also excludes the furnace and hot water heater. Where HVAC ducts run through the shop I sealed them. Then I took a can of expanding spray foam insulation and sealed off any cracks around my new wall, or anywhere that had path to the first floor. My shop has three small windows I can open if needed.

I didn’t do anything to the ceiling, except for the aforementioned sealing of any holes. Tarping the ceiling isn’t a bad idea, but it would be a PITA to remove anytime you want to pull a wire, or something like that. Depending on noise, you could also put soundproofing on the ceiling. I don’t often get into he shop when anyone else is home, but even when I do noise isn’t too much of an issue.

I’ve been running a 1.75hp dust collector (PM-1300) and ceiling hung air filtration unit (PM-1200). I’m happy to report I’ve had no issues with dust in the house (and I’m the one that does all the cleaning, so I would know). I haven’t been entirely happy with the dust collection in the shop (even after upgrading to Wynn filter and pre-separator), and I’m in the process of installing Clervue cyclone to correct that.

As for fumes, I avoid anything that will make a lot of them. They do get into the house, even when I try to ventilate. For me it’s mostly water based finishes and shellac. I’ve pretty much given up the idea of spraying or fuming. It’s a sacrifice I see with a basement shop. If you can use a garage to finish, I would plan on that; I don’t have one, so I make do.

Another issue can be getting material into your basement. My stairs have a landing and a 180deg turn, so I’m limited on what I can bring down or take up the stairs. I can’t manage a full sheet of plywood. I decided against a full cabinet saw in favor of a hybrid mostly because of the stairs.

Make sure you run yourself extra power and lots of outlets. I dropped a bunch of 20A outlets all over the shop and I’m happy I did.

If you don’t have one, buy a decent to moderate hammer drill; you’ll want one for sinking concrete anchors. It’s more trouble than it is worth drilling holes in concrete with a regular drill. I’ve been happy with the Tapcons for medium duty type work (readily available at HD).

Plan on getting lots of lighting too. I put in some initially, then had to go back and add more. Don’t get much help from those three little windows.

Those are all the pearls I can come up with for now. Good luck and I’m happy to answer and other questions I can.

-- John

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