Basement Workshop, Framing out the walls.

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Forum topic by Jeremy Greiner posted 09-07-2013 06:10 PM 5147 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 3012 days

09-07-2013 06:10 PM

I am getting settled in my new house here and I plan to turn most of my basement into my workshop. I want to get a subpanel added, and do a lot of electrical work (add several 220v outlets etc..). I’m having a bit of difficulty figuring out if I want to frame out the basement walls or not.

The walls are all concrete, and already have an inch and a half of insulation which is directly attached to the concrete walls. If I frame out the basement I’d likely have to remove this insulation, which is time consuming and costly, though I would hope I could re-use much of it between the studs, I don’t know.

Framing out the basement is also a cost, and a considerable amount of time.

The main advantage to framing out the basement is that it makes installing electrical outlets easier instead of having to deal with conduit. It also offers good support for hanging cabinets and so forth. With that said, I’m unsure if it is worth it. I’m having a hard time finding a definitive answer on how to frame out the basement that follows codes in my area. I’ve read the code and it seems to be a vague set of guidelines. I also have to decide if I want to get a permit + inspections etc.. which is all added expense for in my opinion BS crap.

I’d also have to deal with drywall and painting the basement if I framed it out, which adds to the expense. I’m just not sure if in the long run it’ll be worth all the extra time and expense for framing out the basement walls when I don’t plan on turning the basement into a living space I just plan on using it as a workshop/storage etc..


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

16 replies so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


4211 posts in 3816 days

#1 posted 09-07-2013 06:39 PM

All important considerations my friend.
Having a garage shop, I’m afraid I won’t be able to offer much advice. But I intend to follow this thread to see what others have to say.
I know one thing, and that is it’s cool to have you creating a new shop.
Knowing you, I bet it’ll be a nice one !

View widdle's profile


2069 posts in 3239 days

#2 posted 09-07-2013 06:56 PM

Absolutely worth it…i prefer 1/2” ply instead of drywall..Obviously they both work..go for it..

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2189 days

#3 posted 09-07-2013 07:34 PM

Just my thoughts. I would leave the foam and frame it out with 2×4, then r-11 batts. Finally I would rock the walls and ceiling. It won’t hurt to leave the foam and you won’t have to dispose/repurpose it. The thought process behind this is that when its done you will have a nice place to work, and it increases the value of the house as a finished basement at resale time. Also I would skip the permit. If you do it right then all you are doing is raising your property taxes by getting a permit. You are not doing anything structural, and if you are hiring a qualified sparky then what do you need to have it inspected for.

Just my thoughts

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2526 days

#4 posted 09-07-2013 08:03 PM

#1 Not everything for which you get a permit adds to property taxes. I’ve gotten permits for my driveway (doubled the size) my patio (there wasn’t one. Now there’s a 24×24 one), my workshop (16×24 on concrete pad WITH electric), my wife’s garden shed (on a concrete pad) and a full rewire and service entrance upgrade and NONE of these thing raised my property taxes. Your town may be different butting pulling a permit doesn’t automatically raise your taxes.

#2 If you pull a permit for electrical, keep in mind that this may mean your entire house has to be brought up to code. Not sure if that’s a national thing or what but I know people all over the country and it seems a common theme.

#3 How many of you giving advice actually HAVE a basement? :)

I’d forget about framing the walls out if money is an issue. You’ll have plenty of other expenses. Like sound deadening and keeping dust out of the heating system (if you have forced air).

Do basements in your area get water in them? I’d put some floor to ceiling posts in and put some hefty french cleats between them and hang cabinets that way. I’d build base cabinets and/or tables on large locking casters just in case you get a little water. If you get a LOT of water, all bets are off and you have other issues to deal with at that point.

If you decide later to rearrange things it will be much easier if everything rolls and only a few things are attached to the walls. And later on, you can always frame it out and rock it. Oh and you can construct “power towers”. Box out about a 4×4 (internal) hollow post and run your power down inside that. You can get creative. If you make them fatter you can run dust collection in there too.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2925 days

#5 posted 09-07-2013 08:42 PM

Dunno if you can use foam on walls anymore. So my first question would be whether you are perfectly legal in your basement (i.e. does your taxing district have any record of any improvements performed to date)? I only ask that because I was left “holding the bag” on my previous house for all the improvements done by one or more of the previous 3 owners over its 35 year life…it only cost me about $10,000 or so to bring it up to today’s code). You don’t want to spend a lot of $$$ if you will be forced to remove it later.

Whatever you do I think studding out the walls is a given. I guess you could run your electric overhead but I don’t think you would be happy with it for everything.

And don’t dimiss conduit…sticks of EMT are generally 10’ long…not a big deal having outlets placed that far away and other than an occasional bend. The process is much like playing with Legos.

View bandit571's profile


22024 posts in 2924 days

#6 posted 09-07-2013 08:57 PM

Then again, some of us just use the dang basement as is…

All I’ve added was a 48” dual bulb shop light over the area. Yes, it does get some water going across the floor, on it’s way to the single floor drain. There are some screws in the overhead joists, to hang some of the tools up out of the way. Dresser was down there went we moved in, just reused it as a till for other tools..

and it is known as the Dungeon Shop….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Loco's profile


210 posts in 1990 days

#7 posted 09-07-2013 09:31 PM

Bandito. Jeff Foxworthy just hired a team to chase you down via your ip address /;-)~

-- What day is it ? No matter. Ummmm What month is it ? No moron. I paid for a 2 x 6. That means Two inches by six inches. I want the rest of my wood.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8622 posts in 2569 days

#8 posted 09-07-2013 11:48 PM

Here’s an idea for you Joe…

See post 11 on this thread....

I think you could use 1x on the flat and 2-1/2” ram sets…. Then tongue and groove pine for the wall sheathing.

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View 47phord's profile


182 posts in 2478 days

#9 posted 09-08-2013 01:33 AM

While I can’t speak to the codes in your area, I vote for framing up over the foam insulation, insulation between the studs, then hanging sheet-rock. You don’t have to finish the drywall if you don’t want to, and if finances allow, hang some 1/2” OSB over that as it gives you a nice, sturdy base to hang stuff from.

View Promod1385's profile


19 posts in 2314 days

#10 posted 09-08-2013 01:57 AM

I have done several basement finishes in newer Centex or Roning brand homes with this same type of insulation system. You are good to go, leave it in place and frame in front of the insulation. If you insulation is of the foil faced type you will be good to go in regards to the code and vapor barrier.

I wouldn’t waste my money adding more insulation if you have a newer home that is up to current energy codes.

View LakeLover's profile


283 posts in 2180 days

#11 posted 09-08-2013 10:43 AM

Depends what kind of foam, most need drywall over it, if it is considered a living space.

+1 on the foilface, even another 1/2 inch and tape all the seams.

I would tapcon 1×4 on the flat and drywall. EMT is cheap and movable.

What about sound tranmission to the upstairs?

View rjpat's profile


46 posts in 2218 days

#12 posted 09-08-2013 12:02 PM

I am looking at doing this also, be sure and google “insulating a basement”, there is a lot of things you need to be aware of. Also, check out

View DoubleJ's profile


11 posts in 3454 days

#13 posted 09-08-2013 12:39 PM

I went through the same thing about 2 years ago, I initially installed some conduit and electrical outlets. Found out wasn’t happy with this, ended up just framing out the walls and hanging 1/2 ” ply, more expensive but leaves so many options

-- JJ, Ohio

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2688 posts in 3162 days

#14 posted 09-08-2013 01:09 PM

I had a house in Maryland that I put a 1200 sq. feet workshop in the basement. It also had insulated walls which I left in place. I put metal top and bottom track on the floor and under the floor joists and then installed wooden 2×4’s in the tracks, I used screws, not nails. I did not further insulate this wall but did install wiring and sheet-rock over it.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 3012 days

#15 posted 09-08-2013 05:29 PM

A few extra notes.
The insulation is the foil faced kind, so if that counts as a moisture barrier and I can just frame over it, that would make the process a lot faster and easier.

As for water on the floor, there hasn’t been any issues with that and when I was looking to buy the house it was raining a lot. It does have a sump pump installed and ready to use if needed however, and I do plan to keep everything on wheels just because I like being able to move things around if I need too.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

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