Have a question about rough or finish
carpentry? Need to figure out a shortcut for doing remodeling work?
Send me an email at
Tom@ArtisticHomeRenovations.com. The best questions will appear with answers below.
Q: I was telling a guy at work
about my weekend project. I was closing off a heating run in my duct
in the basement hoping to get better airflow to the room above. I
patched the hole with sheet metal and sealed it with duct tape.
My "friend" laughed at me and
said you NEVER use duct tape on duct work. Is this BS or what?
A: Use duct tape on a duct? Makes
sense but it's really not a good idea. It'll dry out and fall off
after a few years. Better to use special aluminum tape designed for
duct work. Sorry to tell you your friend's right!
Q: Hello. I am finishing my
basement and trying to figure out how to frame duct work in a
basement. I don't want to lose much head room but using 2x4s and
drywall uses up at least 4 inches of space. I don't want to hit my
head. Any ideas?
A: I get this a lot. Here's what I
do. Hang 2x4s from the joists above and run them flush to the duct
bottom. At that point attach lineal boards (2x2s or 2x4s) to the
2x4s hanging from the joists that run the length of the duct.
Important: only attach sheetrock to the framing, never screw into
the ducts themselves. That's a code violation.
This works for up to 24" wide
ducts. If your duct is wider just run a bead of drywall adhesive on
the bottom of the duct before putting up the sheetrock. You'll need
to brace the bottom of the drywall while the glue dries overnight. I
use a T-brace made out of 2x4s.
Instead of you using up 4" of
headroom this trick uses on 1/2".
Q: Why do you builders always
use flat wall paint? I hate cleaning dirt off that stuff, it never
comes off without taking the damn paint with it. I told my builder I
wanted the semi-gloss that will clean up better but he said flat was
A: OK, here's the truth. Flat wall
paint hides mistakes in the sheetrock finishing. The builder can
patch it or do a sloppy taping job and flat paint will still hide it
from you, the homeowner. The more glossy the paint is the more
mistakes will show.
I've used semi-gloss on a
stairwell because the homeowner knew there would be a lot of
fingerprints to clean off. It was a pain because I was painting over
the same color but in the flat finish. I had to paint the stairwell
3 times before I thought it looked good. So, using a glossier paint
will cost more than a flat paint.
Q: Hey Tom! I'm finishing my
basement and will use 2x4s on the wall with fiberglass insulation. I
know you're supposed to use plastic to keep water out but which side
does it go on? Between the concrete wall and the studs or between
the studs and the drywall?
A: The vapor barrier always goes
against the concrete basement wall. It won't protect you from a
leaky basement though! Make sure your walls are completely dry
before you frame them. If you have water problems later you *will*
also get mold problems. Bad!
If you have water leaking in,
check the bottom of the wall. Is it wet? Is it wet only after heavy
rains or melting snow? This is probably caused by the dirt around
your house foundation settling. When the dirt settles down towards
the foundation the rainwater/snowmelt will run TOWARDS your basement
not away. This is bad. This is a big reason why basements get wet.
To fix the runoff problem bring in
enough dirt to backfill around your foundation to make sure it
slopes AWAY from the foundation.
>> Watch out if you have poured
(not block) concrete walls. When you start framing you'll discover
your walls are not perfectly flat but wave in and out. I've seen
poured walls wave in and out by 2 inches from corner to corner. This
is because the wall forms used when your basement was poured had
already been used on many other houses. The crews have to bang on
the forms to break them loose after the concrete cures. This bends
the forms so the next house (YOUR HOUSE) doesn't get perfectly flat
Instead of power-nailing your
framing following along the wavy wall you'll need to shim it away
from the wall to get a nice straight finished wall.
Q: We've got trouble. We're
selling our house and the real estate agent noticed the bottom of
the wall in our finished basement has black mold on it, right where
the baseboard is glued to the wall. How do you get rid of it?
A: As you know mold can be a big
problem, especially with how it can affect your health. In most
areas you cannot sell a house until the mold is taken care of.
Getting rid of mold is
complicated. It involves protective measures such as:
-securely bagging all materials removed to prevent mold spores
contaminating other areas of the house,
-put up a protective plastic curtain to seal off the area while the
-treat the areas opened up with special chemicals.
You know this is almost like the
movie Outbreak with the CDC isolation tents and environmental suits!
Because of this DO NOT TRY TO DO THIS YOURSELF. You must hire a
trained mold remediation specialist.