Jason's Top 7 Finished Basement Ninja Painting Tips

Ninja Painting Tips - Check out those eyes, straight Ninja for sure.

My 7 ninja painting tips will cut your basement painting time by 50% and save you  a minimum of $106 dollars.

Tip #7 is so obvious, you will kick yourself.

Puuushaaa, you say. Jason doesn't have any tips about painting, he's an amateur basement finisher turned blogger.

Well... you better check yo 'self before you wreck yo 'self.

When I was 15 I got my first real job… at a paint store. I didn't "paint" there but I did learn about every painting product that ever came on the market. And I talked with every professional painter in the tri-state area. So after three years, I knew a thing or two about [Read more...]

Buying Basement Doors (How to not screw it up)

For the HVAC room I used this natural looking door with a slatted top to allow for ventilation that's required by code.

For the HVAC room I used this natural looking door with a slatted top to allow for ventilation that's required by code.

It's time for basement doors. Yes, you've framed your doors but that was months ago. Maybe years ago. Hopefully not, but I know it might have been, no judgment here.  Seriously though,  hurry up.

The drywall is finally up, the electrical is done, the plumbing is in, it's time to buy doors and install them.

Don't skip out on me! There's a special money-saving tip at the bottom of this post.

5 Things to Consider Before
Buying Basement Doors or else...

1. Buy Solid Core Doors.
If you buy the cheap hollow core doors, I hope you have some tissues ready to soak up the tears (of sadness) that will be flowing from my face when I find out. You've been warned.

Here's a link to Home Depot's door buying page. Notice they have hollow core, solid core and solid "wood" doors. Solid wood are great but they are really expensive. I think the solid core is a nice compromise.

2. Buy [Read more...]

Basement Trim - How much will it cost? What do I need to buy?

Installing trim is not hard to do and will transform the look of your finished basement from "under construction" to "I like to party... with class". By doing it yourself you can save big on labor and it's actually kind of fun.

In this post I'll show you exactly what I paid for my basement trim. Plus, I'll break down each component and tell you why you need it and what to look for when you buy it.

Let's start with this detailed break-down of the trim cost for my basement. Keep in mind this was for a 1200 square foot basement with 5 doors and 3 windows.  Your cost may be more or less depending on your situation.

Finished Basement Trim Cost Breakdown

Base Trim2071.35$279.45quantity is in linear feet
Shoe Molding2071.25$258.75quantity is in linear feet
Door Trim1201.50$180.005 doors, 2 reg., 2 extra wide, 1 double
Window Trim481.50$72.003 windows at 16 lf per window
Decorative Trim701.50$105.00chaulk board, art niche, built-in shelfs
Trim Blade130.00$30.00for a 10" blade
Brad Nailer160.00$60.00price is for reconditioned (new is $120)
18 Gauge Brad Nails27.50$15.002 boxes of 1000
Custom Trim214.00$28.008 foot 6 x 1 pine board
Plinthe Blocks24.50$9.00for walk out doors
Trim Paint123.00$23.00gallon of Behr semi-gloss
Total Basement Trim Cost   $1,077.70


Here's what you'll need [Read more...]

What Drywall Size is Right for Your Finished Basement

drywall size width

Drywall Size? Charlotte has no idea. I think she rode this scooter over 10,000 miles while I was finishing the basement.

Drywall size kept me up at night.

Yeah, I'm a big basement nerd and I know it.

Here's what happened.  I was thinking of drywalling my basement (which I don't recommend btw) and so I started looking at drywall sheet prices.

The drywall size, lengths and thicknesses, absolutely affect the price, but not necessarily in the way you would think.

I was also obsessed with preventing noise from upstairs from creeping into my basement sanctuary. So I was reading everything about different drywall thickness and how they performed in terms of noise abatement.

I was swimming in drywall fears! In the end. I hired a company to do the installation.  Even though I didn't do the work I still needed to answer some important questions.

  • I was wondering if I could even carry a sheet of drywall by myself?
  • How much does a sheet of drywall weigh?
  • Would a 12 foot sheet of drywall fit down the steps?

[Read more...]

5 Reasons Not to Install Drywall on Your Own in Your Finished Basement

cost to install drywall when finishing your basementOk, so you've made it through the major phases of finishing a basement.  How do you know when you're ready to start the drywall stage for your finished basement?

Have you passed both your framing and electrical inspections?  If the answer is yes, then you're ready for drywall. If not, you still have some work to do.  Don't do it, don't skip the inspections!

Installing drywall in your basement is bitter-sweet. On the one hand you're finally turning the corner from working on your basement to finishing your basement. On the other hand, all of your masterful framing, plumbing and electrical accomplishments are about to be covered up forever.

When I was getting close to the drywall stage of my basement finishing project I had a ton of questions:

  • How much is installing drywall in my basement going to cost?
  • What thickness of drywall should I buy?
  • Do I install drywall in the basement bathroom?  Or do I need some sort of special waterproof sheet rock?
  • People told me that hanging drywall is super dusty.  How dusty?  What do I have to do to prep?
  • How long will it take to install it.
  • How heavy is a sheet of drywall?  Can I lift a sheet on my own?
  • What drywall tools and books do I need if I'm going to do it myself?

I'm going to write about all of the questions above but the big question to start with is... [Read more...]

How to Install a Drop Ceiling - 5 Simple Steps and 1 Big Mistake

If you had asked me a year ago would I ever write an article called "how to install a drop ceiling" I would have looked at you like you had three heads. Yet, here I am. Or rather, here we are.

I figured out how to install a drop ceiling for my basement

I taught myself how to install a drop ceiling and here's the result. It makes me tear up with joy each time I go down to my basement. I'm writing this article to show you how to do yours.

I'm guessing you are here for the same reason that I was Googling for days on end a year ago. You want to know if you can install a drop ceiling in your basement on your own.  

The short answer is yes!  Yes you can and it's not that hard. You can save a lot of money by doing  it yourself IF you don't make some of these key mistakes.  [Read more...]

Drop Ceiling vs Drywall for Finishing Your Basement

drop ceiling for a basementA drop ceiling costs about the same if not more than a drywall ceiling.  I'll tell you exactly why in just a minute.

When I was figuring out how to finish a basement I thought to myself  "Self… should we save money and drywall the basement ceiling on our own?"  Then I imagined the difficulty of recruiting my lazy friends to help me drywall the ceiling.

Then I thought "drop ceiling!" that's the answer.  Cheaper, easy to do by yourself.  The only problem...it screams BASEMENT!".

I did some research and pondered it for about 3 weeks.  [Read more...]

7 Insider Tips for Buying Trim (for Amateurs)

16 feet of basement floor finishing trim

When you're 95% complete with your basement finishing project, trim may seem like an afterthought, but you will need to install base trim and door trim at a minimum.

I highly recommend trimming out your windows as well (yes, the short little stubby ones too). It doesn't take long and just looks a million times better.

In this post, find out how to buy and transport trim from Home Depot to your house.

Keep in mind that prior to my basement finishing project I had never once touched, cut or installed trim. So when I walked into Home Depot to buy some trim it took me about 10 minutes to find the right aisle and another 30 minutes of just looking around like an idiot to figure out what I needed to buy.

Don't worry, if you think you look like an idiot then you're stretching your comfort zone and that's a good thing.

#1 Buy the [Read more...]

4 Critical Things to Do Before Your Basement Drywall Is Installed

new drywall in my finsihed basement at night

Jason's basement, the night after the first day of drywall installation.

Basement drywall is a major step in finishing your own basement. So if you've made it to the drywall stage!  Congrats!

Your finished basement is one phase closer to being a reality.

Your basement framing is done (at least you think your framing is done.)  Your wiring is top-notch and your plumbing rough-in is rock solid. All of your inspections have passed and you find yourself giving people construction advice at cocktail parties.

When did cocktail parties go out of style by the way?  Those sound like a really, really good idea and I don't think I've ever been to one.  

Go ahead. Do it. You know you earned it.  Pat yourself on the back. You've now accomplished something that many people in the world wouldn't even dare to think about.

Ok, now stop patting yourself and tell your back  "heads up back, lots of heavy lifting to do in the days ahead"

Even if you've wisely followed my advice there's still a lot of prep work to do before your drywall crew comes swooping in. [Read more...]