Don's Basement

Here's a great basement finishing story from Don. He didn't do ALL of the basement finishing phases but he definitely saved a lot by taking on a good portion of the project. Plus, he was able to get EXACTLY what he wanted out of his basement.

Don's Story

Hi Jason –

I joined your site about a year ago – my wife and I got the keys to our new house in Jan 2014 and started on the unfinished 1700 sq ft basement. We finally moved in July 1st after the drywall was done and are still touching up some odds and ends. Everything was permitted and inspected.

I bought many of the things you recommended – books, tools, etc, and did LOTS of reading. While I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted to because we needed to get moved, I did a little bit of everything including all of the electrical from design to finish inspection. I had done a couple little things before but nothing on that scale myself! Your book and advice (and a few phone calls to friends) were invaluable.

We had a few electrical considerations - we have 18 pinball machines that I ended up breaking into 3 circuits controlled from 3 hidden wall switches so they can all turn on at the same time – it’s pretty cool! I also broke the lighting up into 3 separate dimmable areas. I pulled LOTS of wire but it was well worth it.

Our basement wasn’t plumbed for a bathroom so we had the floor jackhammered up and roughed in – my brother and I did the finish work installing the fixtures and toilet/vanity/sink etc. I had to drill through the side of the house for the exhaust fan and everything (as well as in the mechanical room for an auxiliary air intake – also code.) I did the tile floor too - it’s the first time I have ever tiled ANYTHING, and it turned out great.

We added a workshop with egress window (also code now) - I took your advice and put in a 36” door, which is plenty wide enough to roll a pinball machine in there if I need to.

We didn’t want to drywall the ceiling so I did some research, rented a sprayer and sprayed it flat black. Final cost: $300 including sprayer rental. It worked very well with the game room/arcade vibe we were going for.

Anyways, we still have plans for a science fiction/mad scientist lab themed bar area (winter project) but I wanted to send some pics for you to hopefully pass along to others that yes, they CAN do it too, and to thank you again for the inspiration to try it myself.


Don H

Before and After Pictures

trim11 trim5 trim3


plumbing3 IMG_20141026_191915_247 IMG_20141026_191858_401 IMG_20140810_202139_698 IMG_20140810_201958_007 IMG_20140810_201931_884 IMG_20140810_201810_239 IMG_20140810_201619_328 basement 5 bare8 bare7 bare6 bare3 698

Basement Finishing Stories - Brandon, near Louisville, KY

Here's a basement finishing story from Brandon. Brandon lives near Louisville Kentucky and finished his own basement. I don't know how he got by without it but you won't believe the one tool he DIDN'T have!  

Name and General Location: 
Brandon, near Louisville, KY

Basement Size :
About 700 sf

Main Rooms:
Foyer, Family, Laundry, Half Bath

What Phases Did You Do Yourself?
Framing, Drywall hang (finisher re-hung it since I did such bad job), Tiling, Plumbing, Paint, Trim

basement with walk in entrance and tile

Brandon's basement foyer. Nice tile work! Jealous of your walk-in entrance.


Q: What is your normal day job?

Supply Chain Manager

Q; What type of previous DIY experience did you have?

Some, not a lot. Hang blinds, plant trees, laminate wood flooring

Q: How much did it cost you to finish your basement yourself?:  

About [Read more...]

Basement Finishing Stories - Jason from Ashburn, VA

Yes, I know I'm sort of interviewing myself here. This is a new type of post I'm trying out. Let me know what you think. Do you want to read more stories from other people who've finished their own basement?   (leave a comment below)

basement finishing Rigid reconditioned tool

Name and General Location: 
Jason   -  Ashburn, Virginia

Basement Size :
Roughly 1300 square feet

Main Rooms:
Kids Play Room (future pool table area), Living Room, Office, Game Area (air hockey, pinball),  Full Bathroom, Storage Area

What Phases Did You Do Yourself?  [Read more...]