About this Website (a.k.a is this guy for real?)

basement finishing jason jenn cn tower

If you're thinking about finishing your basement you've come to the right place.

Whether you plan to do the work yourself, hire a contractor or a little of both this website should be able to help you out.

Two years ago I finished my basement without any previous construction skills or knowledge.

Now I'm taking all of my notes and photos and putting them online.

This Website is about Finishing Your Basement

Hello and Welcome.  My name is Jason.

I've been working on this site to be your guide for great basement ideas, basement permits, framing, electrical, painting, trim, pool tables, dart boards, bars, man caves, women caves, kid corners you name it.

This website will show you:

Be sure to subscribe to the email list. You'll get access to my basement cost estimation spreadsheet.  Plus, I'll show you a great tip someone gave me that helped my save over $920.

I also hope to show you how finishing your basement can give you tons of personal confidence and teach you all sorts of the new skills that have nothing to do with home improvement.

I Had Zero Experience Remodeling a Basement

basement finishing - kids

My two little "helpers". Most common question "When are you going to be done?"

Please don't think that you have to be Bob Villa or some super smart uber learner to undertake a project like this. I was not a handyman in any sense of the word prior to this project.

I didn't own any tools beyond a hammer and a drill.  I had trouble just hanging pictures straight.  I once tried to install a new dimmer light switch in our dining room and took the power out to half of my house.

I would not have even attempted to try such a large project without the help and guidance of my friends from work. They had both finished their basements on their own and then they helped me with information, explanations and inspiration.

I'm building this site to be the "friend whose just finished their basement" for everyone!

I still had to read a decent sized stack of books. I also had to get over the learning curves at each phase (and you will as well). But having a resource to get a jump start is critical.  Having somewhere to go to ask specific questions and get ideas speeds up the cycle of learning significantly and makes the project much more fun.

Writing From a Different Perspective

basement finishing - rigid framing gunI'm not a professional basement finisher and I don't plan to be.  But this is a good thing.

It gives me a great perspective from which to write to you. 

I'm writing about struggles and concepts that many professional blogs and books will gloss over because to them it may be obvious.

Don't get me wrong, my work and knowledge-base is excellent. I also got all the proper permits and passed all of my inspections, not short-cuts here.

I'm not bragging but I got glowing feedback from the "pros" that said I was doing everything right. I can say now with absolute confidence that there isn't a home improvement issue that I could not solve myself.

I'm including little tips and tricks that a homeowner with very little home improvement experience may relate to. "How to buy lumber" for example, or "How to use an air compressor".  These are both areas that I know some people will have questions about because I just had those same questions last year.

Through the website and the email newsletter I plan to share all of the notes, ideas and pictures I saved throughout my project.  Yes, I made a bunch of mistakes but my basement still turned out awesome and was a really fun project.  You can do the same, minus some of those mistakes!  

Click here to subscribe to the Newsletter

Yes, But I Have No Time and Very Little Money

I started this project while working as an IT manager. I was limited to weekends and a few week nights. You can, and I might argue should, do it in your spare time in a slow and progressive manner.  It's something that can be done in stages.

My wife was also pregnant at that time.  So I could not have picked a worse time to start a loud, messy, time sucking project.

In retrospect though, is was the perfect time. Our other two kids were 5 and 3 and needed some space to play in the dead of winter. They have a truck load of cousins which make for a level of noise in our house that almost drove me nuts. We also had baby stuff coming out of our ears so we needed the extra storage.

Budget for the basement was tight, which is one of the reasons I decided to try and tackle it on my own. So I started with just a small project to build a storage room and frame in the HVAC area to protect it from errant kids toys.

From there, each phase waited until the budget was right or I found creative ways to get things really cheap or even free. (signup for the newsletter to get my tip on to get free lumber).

Okay, so Why Do You Want to Help Me?

I'm sure, if you're like me, then you want to know what the angle is? Why am I doing this? There are really three reasons:

  • First, I like writing and I like social media and digital marketing. This site is kind of a test site for me for figuring out how that stuff works.
  • Second, money. Hey, I'm not hiding it. There's no shame in my game. I want to help you, that's why there's TONS of free content on here. I'd like to cover the cost of running the website plus put a small amount in my basement home theater fund. That's the one part of the basement  along with flooring, that I've yet to complete.When you're really ready to start I hope you'll check out My Book, Premium Video Series and Design Files .
  • Third, I truly just want to pass on what was passed to me. I'm a big believer in keeping that healthy cycle going.

So best of luck to you with your basement finishing project.  I hope you enjoy the site and the email newsletter and share your experiences, tips and progress.

If you're reading this and your like "OMG, this site is the bomb!" Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from intelligent, attractive, good smelling readers such as yourself.

basement finishing jason

If you're reading this and your like "OMG this site is total crap!"  Please leave this website at once. Do not comment. Retire to your smelly armchair, turn on the boob-tube and never come back!

Cheers -Jason

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Questions and Comments

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment.

  1. says

    I just purchased my first home and it has an unfinished basement area, I am finding your site to be a wealth of information. I can’t wait until I get all moved into my new home so that I can start my own project.

    • says

      Thanks Chris. Your feedback is my writing rocket fuel. I started out just planning to write a few articles but now that I'm into it I really want to fill in each section. I plan to have an article a week through the end of the year at a minimum. Let me know as you get started if you run into any issues that other people might benefit from. - Jason

  2. says

    Hi there! I'm glad I found this website - we have a brand new home and have a huge beautiful basement. Lil problem - it's stuffed with boxes, and old things (like pool tables, kitchen tables, motorcycles) and is unfinished. LOL - maybe your site will give us some inspiration! Hubby is an electrician, so I will send your link to him in hopes of one day finishing our basement. ;-)
    Check out my if you have time!

    • says

      Hey Jules, glad you liked it. Electrician! You've got it made. Or is it a cobbler's wife has no shoes situation? I'm sure he'll come around once he sees my post on the urinal guitar. ;-) - Jason

  3. Jay says


    How many square feat was your basement that you finished? I am just trying to get a ballpark of what it's going to cost in lumber for framing. Thanks, for the great information and knowledge you provide. This will be my first project, so I am trying to get everything lined up to start.

  4. Steve says

    I have a full framed out basement already. I will be relocating some door openings and removing some non-loadbearing walls (Confirmed with a prof architect aka my unemployed brother in law) We spent a few evenings with a laptop and a couple of beers getting a full 3D model (to scale) of the basement. (Google Sketchup is fantastic) Your site is exactly what I need. I have been researching and talking to everyone and anyone to come up with a game plan and so far you and I are on the same page... do you have some before / after pics of your project? How about some tips on your research on saving money on materials (beside the Home Depot/Lowes coupons)

    My outside deck was my first project and its done! Composite. Aluminum rails. LED lighting. Custom built in bench. Custom tables with left over materials. All in all, I added a 16'x16' and a 8'x12' addition to an existing 8'x14' sturcture. Its huge now!!!! Love it. I will share my experience / research as well.

    • says

      Steve - My deck is a piece of junk for which I paid way to much. I'm jealous of your LED lights. I tried to use SketchUp but never really got the hang of it, looks like a great option. I have some before/after pictures scattered throughout the site, but nothing where they're all in one place...yet. I do have a few money savings tips scattered throughout different posts. Putting them all in one spot is a good idea. It's now on the list, albeit a very long list. Thanks for checking out the site, glad it's been helpful. Good luck with your beer powered basement project - I LOVE IT !!! - Jason

  5. P says

    Your beginnings nearly mirror mine, except I have a few more tools and a little more experience destroying parts of my house. I look forward to all of your tips as I get started!

    • says

      Good luck Paul! Funny/not funny story about my friend Mark who finished his basement before I did mine. Sawzall, demo, live electrical wire - let's just say Mark doesn't do a lot of demo anymore. Safety first, especially during demo. - Jason

  6. says

    Love the site and the tips. A great subject - how to finish a basement. Would like to work with you and share your tips. What is the best way to contact you?



  7. Peter says

    My basement is pretty much unfinished but has a finished ceiling. Very strange but it's a plaster ceiling with some version of recessed lights. It was plastered when the house was first built. I really want to frame and drywall the walls but I'm not sure how I could tie the walls into the ceiling joists without ripping the plaster down along the perimeter of the ceiling. If necessary I would do that then just patch it in with drywall when done but I'm wondering what the verdict is on this. Your input is much appreciated. Thanks!

    • says

      Peter - I would take down 3 to 4" of ceiling plaster or drywall from the ceiling before wall framing (as you mentioned). Technically you could just use longer nails or screws and go straight through the ceiling finish but it would not be as secure as going straight to the joist. Take it down, then frame up the walls, once the drywall is up and finished no one will be the wiser. Good luck! - Jason

  8. Scott says

    This is really good info! Thanks for sharing what you learned, and presenting the information in an easy-to-read format. You discuss what to do with existing insulation on the walls, but I couldn't find any reference to a previously unfinished basement. Any thoughts on what insulation/vapor barriers should be used against concrete basement walls, especially in the colder climates (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc).

    • says

      Scott - I'll have to do some digging on specific recommendations for more northern areas. I don't have enough knowledge to feel confident in an recommendation. Let me check with a few companies in those area and see what I can find. - Jason

  9. Adam says

    Hey Jason I love the site. I am getting ready to start on my basement and start with the framing. Is there anything that needs done with the ceiling prior to starting the framing for the walls?

    • says

      Adam - So glad the site has been helpful. There's really nothing you need to do to the ceiling to start framing. Framing is step one. When your framed wall has to run parallel to your floor joists you'll need to install blocking (there's a post about that, just searching "blocking") but other than that you're good to go.

      There's a bunch of great stuff here but if you need more be sure to check out my book and the bonus materials.

      Be sure to email me a picture of that first wall!

      Cheers and Good Luck - Jason

  10. Carl says

    Hi Jason,
    Big fan of your site. It has given the confidence to start my own finish my basement challenge. Question: I just purchased your book last night but I don't see where I can download it. Should I be getting another link to the content?

    Also did you have your basement inspected for radon? Here in the Midwest it's a big issue and I was wondering if you tackled this on your own.
    Thanks for your help and inspiration.

    • says

      Hello Carl - Thanks for being a fan, it's great to hear! I did not have a professional Radon test done but I did use one of the store bought tests (which were negative). That's a great blog topic though and I've added it to my 2013 list. Good to know that it's something more prevalent depending on where you live. Good luck with your basement - looks like your on your way. Cheers - Jason

      ps. I sent you an email about the membership page for downloading the book. Thanks for buying!

  11. Ram Sundaram says

    HI Jason

    Your website is excellent and it has lot of ideas and tips. I am doing my basement on my own and i had completed the Framing. My next is step is electrical and i hired an electrician to do that work. I am thinking about drywall. When i discuss with some of my friends and pros and everybody says it is not an easy job. Installing drywall by myself is very difficult? I have to install drywall and total sqft coming around 2000 sqft. I know the contractors will ask more money. Which is the best option 1. to go with contractor for drywall or 2. do it myself?


  12. Matt says


    After finding your webiste, I am finding that finishing my 1800 sq ft. basement won't be as bad as I thought. I am almost done framing and was wondering what your thoughts are on spray foam insulation as a vapor and draft barrier? I know its more expensive but I really like the vapor barrier aspect.


    • says

      Matt - One of the thinks you may or may not like about this website is that I won't have all the answers. In this case... I don't know? I'm not sure which is better. I've added this question to my to do list. I'll try to pull any article together for you shortly. Great job on the framing, isn't it awesome?! - Jason

  13. Edward Liptrap says

    Hey Jason,

    The site is awesome, and has been an big inspiration to start working on the project I've been putting off for years. I'vs had a pretty good idea of how I wanted to lay things out, but your insight has really helped resolve all but a few issues. I may have overlooked this along the way, but I didn't see a post addressing insulating the walls or should I say what you put on your walls before you even began framing. Thanks for all the time you spent putting this page together - Ed

    • says

      Thanks Ed, you're feedback is fueling my writing fire. There is one article on basement insulation here but that's if you already have some up. If you don't have any then I suggest framing your walls and then installing insulation between the studs. If you live in colder climate (Canada, Michigan, Buffalo) be sure to check your local code to see if you need to put in a vapor barrier.

      Good luck with your basement, you'll love the project! Take it slow but steady, always moving forward. - Jason

  14. Karen Stroud says


    I love you for creating this site!

    I'm a "DIY'er-til-I-die!" I actually started doing my own work a few years ago when I realized how much some contractors intentionally rip women off. This year I decided to remodel the basement in my 1966 era, split foyer/ranch style home. Due to a water issue, I gutted the majority of the space. I was thinking this project is too large for me to conquer alone so I started "interviewing" contractors. Needless to say, none made the cut..except my plummer Duane (he's a keeper). I've gathered books, notes and anything else I can find on finishing basements. While searching for information on framing around pipes, I came across your website. OMG, I'm in DIY heaven! Just scanning the site, you've answered so many questions I had and ones I hadn't thought of yet. I love love love it!
    Thank you so much for your time, unselfish efforts and wonderful sense of humor.

    You're the MAN Jason!

    Warm regards,

    • says

      Karen - I'm frantically hunting for a tissue as there is a big ole tear of joy slowly sliding down my left cheek. You rock for writing such a great comment. It's head-scratching to me why


      contractors still try to gouge women on home and car repair projects but I have 4 sisters and I know from them that its still happens way to often.

      Good luck on your project, you're going to kill it! Email or leave a comment if you have any questions.

      - Jason

  15. Joe says

    Hi Jason,

    I'm still early in the framing stage of my basement ('my first wall' picture coming your way soon) and I got to thinking about HVAC. I don't see you mention this topic but I may have just missed it.

    My question is, do I need to add it for my basement? The builder put two registers on the main trunk line in my basement. One will land in the entertainment area and the other in the closet with the water heater and furnace (bad luck). Cooling in the summer isn't a worry but the basement gets chilly in the winter. I was originally thinking of adding vent lines to each room off the main floor trunk, but I don't need the cooling and am afraid of changing the heating-cooling performance of the main floor. Maybe I should just install a couple of space heaters and call it good? Have you done any research on this topic?

    I love the site and the book, by the way. You're the wind beneath my wings!


    • says

      Hello Joe -
      Good question to ask before drywall! I added 1 new register but on an existing trunk. My basement is chilly in the winter, perfect in the summer. At some point I will probably add 2 more registers on the existing east-west HVAC trunk, one in the office and one in the family room.

      I think if you added a "new" trunk you would definitely need to ensure that your HVAC is sized and balanced correctly. Just adding a few registers, I believe, is not a problem. I plan on interviewing and HVAC expert as some point to get some more detail on this. This good news is that adding a new register after drywall isn't to bad.

      Cheers - Jason

      ps. I'm really glad you like the book, check out the premium videos section as well, I've been adding a new one each week. I'll be singing Bette Midler songs all day. Yes, I know some, I have a soft side, I'm no DIY monster.

  16. Anton says


    Great site! I've finished basements myself at a couple of my prior homes and am now back at it in my current home. We're now at drywall stage (home is 40 yrs old). Basement ceiling open web truss heights are all over the place. So,,,,,I'm thinking of using "drywall truss clips" to get a straight / true ceiling line. Do you or any of your followers have any experience with using clips or shims to even out the wall to ceiling during install?


    Anton (St.Charles, IL)

    • says

      Anton - Thanks! I'm jealous of your multi-basement experience. I haven't heard from anyone yet on using clips or shims, this is actually the first time someone has asked. I've never used them myself either. I'll see what I can dig up though. Have you also considered not dry-walling the ceiling? That's a very popular design right now, you can always add it later. Here's a link to my pinterest page with some photos. - Jason

  17. Kip says

    Hey Jason-

    Does your book happen to cover framing w/floating walls? We have expansive soils around here so code requires floating walls in basements.

    Thanks a million. Just discovered the site, but I like what I've seen so far a lot.


    • says

      Kip - Not yet. A few people have asked about that so I'll have to add a chapter on framing floating walls. Stay tuned. (if you buy the book, all future updates, videos, etc. are included at no extra charge). - Jason

  18. Wade says

    Jason, excellent site! i am in the preliminary design/idea gathering stage for my basement, so your website has been a great source for me to start thinking through logistics, timeline, and pros/cons of subcontracting out some of the work (drywall!!!), with anticipation of starting sometime this fall. I too have young kids and a full time job, oh, and a wife, so its encouraging to see that it can still be done. Also, i live in loudoun county as well (when i saw your orange permit slip in a pic, i said "that looks like a loudoun county permit slip.....then later i saw you lived in Ashburn), so it's good to get local insight on permitting, big box store sales, etc. I will be ordering your online book for sure!

    I did notice on your website there wasn't much info pertaining to final flooring (carpet/engineered wood, vinyl, etc) unless i just completely missed it. Did you install your flooring yourself? Does your book go into flooring? Also, does your book have anything related to butler's pantry's/bars?


    • says

      Wade - Fantastic man, you're going to love this project. Yes, you can finish it with a young family and working full time. It will take some time but totally doable.

      Flooring... yes... I'm almost there. I stained my floors with a concrete stain because my kids liked to ride their little scooters/bikes in the basement. But... now they're getting a bit older and are ready for carpet - real flooring. Another reader in South Riding just finished his basement and is getting some quotes on carpet installation - I'll share those on the site as soon as he passes them along to me.

      Good luck with finishing your basement - thanks for buying the book and videos - be sure to ping me with any questions.

      Cheers - Jason

  19. bob says

    Jason, Great book..I have a quick question on my layout. I have what i think is the perfect area for a home theatare area with a 3X14 cutout area for a builtin in home entertainment shelving system. The only issue i perceive is that the area directly above this area houses the upstairs bathroom (sink, toilet, whirlpool tub, walk in shower). I plan on using the 3x14 area to house part of the sewage piping (with a fullize door for easty access) and the aformentioned shelving system. My only concern is the home thearter diretly below this bathroom and the potential damage to the electronics in case of a water leak. Would you suggest an alternate layout?

    • says

      Bob - Well... that depends. Do you think there will be a water leak? My guess is no. So I personally would absolutely use that area - it sounds perfect. If there's a history of water leaks or something like - then maybe I rethink it. In most cases - your bathroom should not leak - ever! Besides, if it does leak - you have great excuse to get some new equipment. I've seen the 4k TVs, those things look sick (amazing)! - Jason

  20. Andy says

    Thanks for a great how-to on framing your ductwork in/extending the vents on the underside of ducts. Easiest to follow info I came across searching for details on the best way to deal with ducting in the basement.

  21. Scott says

    Hey Jason,

    I really enjoyed surfing through the website to find what seems to be an endless amount of information on finishing a basement. I plan to start my basement project this Spring. I have about 1,500 sq ft to finish. I will be putting a full bath in the basement and was also thinking about putting in a wet bar. The only problem is that each are on opposite ends of the house. Does your book cover wet bars and how to run the plumbing? It would be easier if my plumbing was near the plumbing for the bathroom, but its not. Also, would I be able to get a hard copy of the book if ordered? I see that it can be downloaded. Nice job with the site by the way. A ton of useful information.

    • says

      Hi Scott - Thanks for the wonderful feedback on the website, it's great to here. I plan to add plumbing and bars for the next edition of the book but it's doesn't cover those in detail today. The book is currently only available in digital form. Again, that may be something we can add in 2014. The videos, bonus files and digital book have been very well received however and have now been tested and proven to work by several thousand people. It doesn't have every answer but it's more than enough to get you started on and through finishing your own basement.

      Good Luck!


      (oh, I almost forgot. Once you buy the book you're get any updates for free. I update it quite often so that's another plus of the digital version)

      • Scott says

        Thanks for the quick response Jason. I will more than likely get your book and take advantage of all the extra material provided. I plan to do the framing and drywall and will read how you were able to do the electric and plumbing with little to no experience. I would love to be able to do 95% of all the work myself to keep costs down. One thing I find interesting is that you cover how to get permits. I live not too far from you in Adamstown MD about 30 min from Ashburn VA. I anticipate my project spanning about a year also. I'm currently deciding on the layout since my basement is completely unfinished. I have a yorkshire model by Ryan homes and like their design for the basement so I will probably go with that and have set a max budget of 15k. Hopefully I can stay a couple thousand under that though as long as I can do most of the work myself. I'm curious to have a general contractor come out just to get a couple estimates to see what they would charge to do the basement. I know it will be way over my max budget but just would like to know how much they would over charge. Talk to you soon!!


        • says

          Sounds like a great finished basement plan. I think getting a few estimate is always a good idea, just to see where things are and see what issues they might spot. Fair warning, I've heard getting permits in some parts of Maryland can be trickier than here in VA, but you can do it. - Jason

          • Scott says

            Thanks for the heads up Jason. I also noticed that permits seem to only be good for a set amount of time like 6 months in MD. This means that if my project goes past that time, I will probably have to get an extension. I will look more into it. MD seems to be very strict on a lot of things these days.


  22. Scott says

    Thanks for the heads up Jason. I noticed that MD places time limits on permits like 6 months or so. I'm going to have to look into whether I could actually get permits for actually doing most of the electrical and plumbing myself or if MD requires someone who is licensed. Frederick county where I live is pretty strict. They even require sprinkler systems inside the homes now which is a good thing. Keeping costs down but doing things accurately and to code is my main focus, especially if I plan to sell in the future.


    • Scott says

      Hey Jason,

      I did a little research on what is required to get permits to do my own electrical and plumbing in frederick county maryland and they require an examination and a $10,000 bond. More strict than VA for sure. I'm still planning on doing the framing, drywall and flooring myself but will probably get the pros to do the other work required.

  23. Ben says

    Hi, great stuff, I need to make the basement first though, do you have any idea how to make a basement floor in new house? I guess the only way is to lay gravel bottom then pour concrete on that. I just can't seem to find how to actually construct it. Also where do you put a sump pump, at the corner of basement that is the furthest out of the ground or the deepest in the ground? If you know any of this it would be hugely helpful, Ben

    • says

      Hey Ben - I just checked and iMadeMyOwnBasement.com is still available. I can't really advice on how to pour a basement floor. My thought on sump pump location is that it doesn't really matter but they're usually placed near the electrical panel because that's already going to need a utility closet or cover, this way you're not building two.

      If you do end up pouring your own floor - would you PLEASE take pictures and notes for us - a lot of people ask about this. I'd be happy to write it up and post it to the blog in your name. Good luck! - Jason

  24. says

    My husband (regular guy no handyman background experience) is in the starting stages of finishing our basement. So I (concerned wife) Googled DIY basement finishing. I was so relieved when I found your site. Just to know that the possibility of my husband succeeding in his adventure helps me to sleep at night. Thank you! When I see him googling his next issue I will steer him in this direction. Thank you again. :)

  25. Tom says

    Does you book cover HVAC. Right now the vents in our unfinished basement are in a straight line where if we finish and make rooms some of the room will not have direct heat/air with the current configuration.


    • says

      Sorry, I don't have the HVAC chapter's complete yet. They should be coming this year... and all updates are included, but it's not covered. - Jason

  26. Kasey says

    What an awesome website! After taking a glance at it, I immediately decided to add this to my Favorites list. First of all, anybody that can make me chuckle about remodeling/renovation in the middle of a work week is worth listening to. Secondly, my husband and I are just weeks away from purchasing a new home and a finished basement is tops on our "to-do" list. Obviously, I hit the jackpot for all the info when I surfed onto your website. Lastly, but certainly not least, anyone that quotes "The Empire Strikes Back" in their website search box must be trusted.

    • says

      Who loves Kasey? I do! Welcome. So glad the site is fun and helpful, that's a winning combination. Good luck finishing your basement, you're going to love it! - Jason

  27. says

    Wow - thrilled to stumble across this site! We are about to finish our basement as handy, intelligent, but not terribly experienced folk, so this site is PERFECT for us.


  28. Vinnie says

    I'm assuming I'm writing to Jason, at least I hope so! Anyway, I am embarking on the journey of finishing my basement. I stumbled upon your website and it has been amazing. It's as if it was written to me and for me personally. So much good information.

    I have a question I haven't seen covered on your site, though. A friend of my wife suggested we test for radon. I bought one of those cheap radon tests at the hardware store and did it. Well, the results came back high, now I'm trying to decide what to do next. Do you or anyone you've spoken with have any experience with radon mitigation?


    • says

      Hi Vinnie - Yes, it's me, Jason. Thanks for the kind words about the site, I did indeed write it for you, what took you so long to get here?!

      Ahhhhh Radon. What a fun topic. I need to do a full post on this but here's the very short version. Yes, radon is a very real concern! If you have high radon levels, it can be worse than smoking. If you're a smoker and have radon, forget it, you're dead.

      If your home radon test is coming up high, you should have a professional firm come out and double check. If their results are high I would absolutely spend the time and money to mitigate (big legal word for stop) any radon gas seepage into your basement. You CAN fix a radon problem, it costs around 1,500 depending on where you live and the size of your basement. I know, that sucks, but don't skip it.

      What they do is seal all the open cracks in your floor and wall, then they seal up your sump pump (if you have one) and install an ventilation pipe with a small fan. It has an added benefit of keeping your basement dryer - almost like a dehumidifier.

      I'll post a link to a full post as soon as I've written it. Let us know back here how it turns out for you.

      Good luck! - Jason

      ps. if anyone is looking to buy a home radon test kit, here's one I recommend.

  29. Justin Lee says

    The sewer exits my basement 4 or 5 inches above the floor. I would like to build a decent size bathroom with a shower and laundry. I would like to include a drain in the floor for clean up or that rare flooding event. I need to pump up to a higher point to join the system. Are there special considerations? I probably need to bust up the floor a bit. Any advice?

    • says

      Hi Justin - Yes, you'll need a power pump thingy. Sorry for knowing the full technical name but it is basically exactly as you describe. It drains to a pit and then the pump pumps it out. My parents had one. I honestly don't know a lot about them.

      My inclination would be to hire a firm to do this bit, although if you're really into it I'm sure you could learn it. If you decide to do it yourself, please take some pictures and video, and some notes. I'd love to feature that type of content here on the website.


  30. says

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    Is gonna be back steadily in order to inspect new posts

  31. Eddy says

    I saw your pallet project and I wanted to get on it. However, I ran into some pallets and they are all types of thickness. Would you say 1/2" would be good for the pallet wall?

  32. Holly Carlson says

    I am looking to finish a basement. I have read a lot about pneumatic nail guns. I have been told by employees at Lowes and Homedepot to get a finishing nail gun that shoots the bigger nails but others have said to get a framing gun. What are your thoughts?

    • says

      Hi Holly - Ultimately you will want both. I say want, because it is possible to finish your basement with a regular hammer, but I don't recommend it. The first thing you'll need the framing gun, then when you get to the part where you install your trim - you'll want a finish nailer. I still prefer the air compressor driven guns over the pneumatic. Air driven guns are less expensive (usually) and for a homeowner finishing their basement - you don't really need the advantages that you're paying more for with a pneumatic.

      Hope that helps. Good luck finishing your basement, you can totally do it!


  33. nate says

    Great info. We are having our basement remodeled in Vancouver and it is a huge project! Initially I was going to try and do a good portion of it myself, but once we added hydronic radiant floor heating, I was over my head. Got a couple local companies off of Servicegems we are using, so hopefully it all works out well. This is a great site, especially how you answer everyones questions. Keep it up!

    • says

      Thanks Nate. I'll admit it... I'm jealous of your hydronic radiant floor heating. But I think in Vancouver you probably need it a lot more than me. - Jason

  34. Lindsey says

    Hey Jason... My husband is starting to finish our basement and I came across your website. We both found it helpful and useful friendly. We are in the process of dry locking our cement walls before framing it out. I read your post on the paint sprayer that your friend luckily had. We are not that lucky so we are looking into purchasing the one you recommended. Our concern is tip size. The maximum tip size on the model you suggest is .015 and you recommended a tip size of .023 to .025. Will that model accommodate the larger tips? Any help would be appreciated.

  35. Clif says

    Hi Jason,
    I am in the process of purchasing a home with an unfinished basement. It's a walk-out basement with one entire cinderblock wall exposed to the South. Additionally, it has a garage door which allows for parking in the basement (the home is 1948 - I guess they didn't worry about carbon monoxide poisoning back then). I was planning to get rid of the garage door and use that as living/entertainment space. There's only one major setback for starting the entire project; the floor slopes in from all 4 corners of the basement toward the center where a drain is. Is it possible to finish a basement with a sloped floor? I'm guessing I'll have to build a false floor of some type, but I'm worried about ceiling clearance (I'm 6 feet tall), so I don't want to bring up the floor too high.
    Any thoughts?
    Clif Davis, Washington State

    • says

      Hi Clif - After more than 1500 basement comments and questions it's not very often now that I say this but "That's a new one".

      I guess my first option, personally, would be to do nothing. I would stain the floor, maybe put down some big area rugs and rock on with life. If you use it for awhile and decide your really want a more finished basement look - then you can always add the sub-floor - which, yes, you would need. The only part you'd have to "redo" would be your base trim - as once you install the floor you'd need to re-install that.

      Question though - does that drain get used? Have you ever had water issues? Or was it just for hosing down their "garage" etc?


  36. Tom C says


    Would love to have a finished basement, but as you know it costs a small fortune to higher a contractor. When discussing with a friend he simply said, we can do that. That's when I started my escapade on google and found this site. I have been browsing for the past day and a half and am very interested in your advice.

    I know nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not very handy and get lost when I read some of your tips because I have no idea what some terms are, such as toe nailing. I assume this isn't taking a break to trim your toe nails. So, I am interested in your book and videos but want to ask some questions. Do your book and videos show and explain very clearly, for us that are not even quite novices, each process? Do they show explain the simplest of details, such as toe nailing? I refer to your 8 Steps To Build A Wall In Place article. This is what I read and thought, no way I can do this. Does the book and/or videos show exactly how to perform each step? This sort of thing is what I am looking for, and need.



    • says

      Hi Tom - YES! You are at the stage I was right before I finished my basement. The book walks you through the overall project and some of the details. The videos are step by step and don't skip any of the "basics". For example - the first set of videos just shows you the tools you'll need and how to use them. The "toe-nailing" is also explained and I show you how not to hurt yourself while doing it.

      I'm glad you commented because I'm sure a lot of people are thinking the same thing you are. Your "absolute nothing" starting point is exactly the reason I created this website and the basement finishing course. I'm sure you won't need it, but just to put your mind at ease - I offer a 100% money back guarantee.

      If you decide to start this adventure you'll be one of 20 or so people around the US and Canada that start every week!

      Good luck and hope to see you on the premium side. YES, YOU can do it!


      • Tom says


        Thank you for the reply and the encouragement. I just watched your intro video on youtube and have a quick question. You say to build a work bench and a wall to prove to myself that I can do it. Does your book or on of your videos show how to build the workbench and go over building that first wall?

        Thank you again,

  37. ryan says

    Hi. I signed up yesterday for the free basement estimator but i never received any email with the goods. Can you manually send? Thanks!

  38. Jason says

    My sump pump runs continuously; at least every 2 hours and sometimes every half hour during heavy rains. It drains just fine, but I believe our sump pump sits below the water table. As an experiment, I unplugged my sump pump for 2 days and it did not overflow; the water level in the sump stopped increasing once it filled up about 3/4's of the way up.

    I'd like to raise my sump pump, but I noticed that when I drain it, water pours out of the spout leading into my sump for about 10 seconds. My question is, if I do raise the level of my sump pump, is it dangerous to have that much water accumulated in my sump drain underneath my house? Will that cause any damage to my foundation, for example?

    • says

      Hi Jason - Well, I'm not really qualified to say whether the water will cause an issue as I'm not an engineer. However, my opinion has a amateur homeowner is that it would not be an issue. Your sump pump is not currently clearing out all of the water, as evident by the fact that it run continuously. Good luck! - Jason

  39. Teresa says

    Hi Jason! I was wondering if you had any time estimates anywhere? Our recent quote for a n 1100 sq ft basement was around 15K. My husband believes he can do it himself cheaper, but I am concerned about the amount of time it may take and looking for some estimates to show him. Thanks!

  40. John Judge says

    I really like your evaluation you did for the Best Christmas tree stand ever. I have invented the best Christmas light storage device ever and would love it if you would review it for me. I live in Portland, Oregon and quit my job to market this invention. Let me know if you are interested. You are doing a great job with your website and book. I hope you are making money with this venture.
    John Judge

  41. Dan Kurzatkowski says

    Hi, For the lumber, when using 2x4's do you go with kiln dried or raw cut. Kiln is usually spruce were raw cut is pine. I know as the pine dries it will shrink but since moisture is something you don't want I figured a very valid and important question. Sometimes the wood from Hdpt, Lowes and local lumber yards is so wet you can feel the moisture. your thoughts?

  42. Rick says

    I have a general question regarding the ceiling height in my basement. Excluding ductwork, etc...the ceiling height throughout is about 105". Can you give me any ideas as to how to frame the walls that is cost effective, or am I going to have to purchase 9' 2X4s for framing? Can I have 2 boards for the top AND bottom plate? I would still be 1/4" short (if my math is correct). Just looking for ideas and a little help before I get started building my first wall.
    Great site by the way!! It's really helping me get motivated to start finishing my basement. It's going to be a big project as my basement is over 2,500 sq ft.
    Thanks in advance.

    • says

      Hey Rick - Yes, you have both a great situation (high ceilings) and a challenge (framing high ceilings). You can definitely double plate your top and bottom - that's done quite often. The other option is going to be a lumber yard or special order from Home Depot. You just need longer studs, simple as that. I recommend home delivery of a bunch of studs anyway - much easier than hauling them yourself. So perhaps start by planning your framing and then ordering a batch of about 50 studs of the length you think you'll need. You can always use those as the top plate if there's a screw up in measurement.

      Remember, it's very difficult to order the perfect height. You order a touch long and then trim to length as needed while you're framing.

      Good luck!

      - Jason

    • says

      Hi Kara - Yes, I think it will be tight but it's possible. You'll need to commit to do almost all of the work yourself. You'll also need to get creative and look for free or reduced price materials and tools. You're in the right place though, finishing your basement on a budget is what this website is all about! Good luck! - Jason

  43. Ryan says

    Question on wiring plan. I've installed all my outlet boxes and boxes for LED recessed lights. Do you have any planning sites or education for how many lights and plugs put on one circuit?

    Currently the panel has 2-15amp breakers for the pull chain basement lights and plugs and I'm planning on reusing the start of these to feed this part of the finished basement.

    I want to put 24 LED (12.5watt) recessed lights on 1 switch? What AMP breaker would you recommend.

    Next I would have a bathroom with an exhaust fan, 2 LED recessed lights, & Vanity lights.

    Next I would have one area with 1 dimmer switch controlling 2 Halogen bulb recessed lights.

    Next I have under cabinet lights.

    Last, I have a total of 17 plugs (bathroom, TV & Components, wine fridge, ice maker).

    • says

      Hi Ryan - Yes, I have a great video about this in my course. Tons of framing videos, basement planning and electrical video among others, plus the book and a bunch of bonus files. Hope to see you soon on the premium side - well worth it! - Jason

  44. Autumn Reinhardt-Simpson says

    Ahhhh! So excited to get going! I'm a librarian so I am convinced that there is nothing a person cannot learn with a library, the internet and a will of iron. I decided I was going to finish the basement in our new house and have been looking for good resources for awhile. While many have been helpful, your site, book, and videos are even better, tailored as they are for noobs like me. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Jon - At the bottom of this page (before the comments start) is a signup form for my basement cost estimator AND email list. If you sign-up for that - then you're on the list. - Jason

  45. Jennifer says

    Having issues with electricians saying we need to hire (their buddy) to also do framing and drywall because "the drywall needs to be there before the electrical" which we think is wrong. Can you confirm wiring, etc need to be in place before drywall and inspections are before drywall? Are there inspections after drywall?

    • says

      Hi Jenn (or is it Jen) - regardless - Please don't hire those electricians! They are scamming you. Well, they're trying to, but you're internet savy and you have the answers.
      1. Yes, electrical wiring comes BEFORE drywall. Yes, it's need to be inspected BEFORE drywall goes up.
      2. Yes, there are inspections after drywall, typically this is the final inspection to close out the project.

      Hope that helps. - Jason

    • says

      Hey Chris - Not exactly but once you learn the skills on framing (which I do teach in detail) you'll know exactly how to build a box around those elements. - Jason

  46. Erika says

    Our neighbor with a similar house to ours just got some insane quotes for finishing her basement. My heart sank, as we really want to do ours, and there's no way we can afford what she was quoted. But then I found your site and immediately emailed the link to my husband. Hey, maybe we can do this!! Thank you for bringing sunshine to my day!

  47. ROD Rodriguez says

    Hello Jason. I'm new to this fancy pants club. I like reading books made of paper. Am I also getting a hard copy of the book or am I forced to read your e-book on my laptop whilst taking a poop?

  48. says

    Good for starters. Glad you were able to use pallets. For a bathroom toilet, must I saw cut the floor over to the sewer tie in?. (For flow).

    • says

      Not sure I follow... (for flow) ? You will need a hole for the toilet to drain it's "fun stuff" out and down into the sewer tie-in. - Jason

  49. Dianna says

    Is the photo on the home page of your site (the photo with the columns, chair rail, etc.) your finished basement?

  50. jj says

    I'm debating getting your book and starting, but am curious. How long does the framing part take? For example, if I were to frame a 16x21 room? the full basement is bigger than that, but I'm trying to get a feel for time and see if I have enough time to do this myself.

    • says

      Well JJ - Now that I know how to do it, I could frame a 16 x 21 room in one long weekend. But... it took me about 4 weekends to learn it and practice it to get to that point. Everyone learns at a different speed and if you're like me you may not have a whole weekend to frame your basement. Plus you need to factor in time to buy the lumber and setup a saw (if you don't already know how to use one). Bottom line - it takes an invest in time to learn but after that you can go pretty quickly. (for the framing). - Jason

    • says

      Hi Rusty - No. It's possible that depending on where you live it "might" be a code requirement, but in my opinion that is very rare. - Jason

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