Since we’re not framing the exterior walls of the basement yet, we went straight to the interior walls, specifically the permanent walls for the bathroom and mechanical room. After Mario put in the mesh for the concrete, I went around and carefully measured locations for the walls and placed J-bolts to secure the sill plates, so that once the slab was poured we wouldn’t have to drill into it. The main reason for this was the radiant tubing in the slab: if you drill into the concrete and hit a tube, that loop is basically useless, and our floor only has three loops. Unfortunately, Mario informed me the day of the pour that because of the way they were screeding and finishing the floor, the J-bolts sticking up all over would get knocked over and interfere, so he pulled almost all of them out.

First wall section

First wall section

I framed the wall in sections, pressure-treated sill plate and standard 2x4s, sill gasket under the pressure treated sill to prevent moisture wicking, coated screws for anything touching the pressure-treated lumber and regular screws and 8D nails for the rest. The uneven floor joists above required some shimming and I had to add blocking to a couple of sections where the wall was parallel to joists. I watched all my inside corners for drywall nailing edges and followed the tub instructions for framing around it. For the curb at the outside walls I built L-shaped pieces and attached them after the fact rather than try to build it with the section. I came back and installed an additional exterior half-wall for the utility sink and washing machine hookup, though in retrospect I might as well have just framed a full wall. I may reconfigure that, but I need to pick up some additional lumber since my original estimates proved low.

Bathroom framing

Bathroom framing

While the wall framing was pretty straightforward, we did run into some snags. For starters, the plumbers had put the toilet too close to the tub, something I could have had them fix if I’d noticed it before the floor was poured, say, back in October when they installed it. Because the toilet can’t move, I shifted the tub a few inches away, so the tub will have to use an offset drain and one of the few remaining J-bolts no longer aligned with the wall. They also managed to place a vent completely outside of the wall it was supposed to go through, but at least it’s inside the mechanical room where it won’t cause too much of an issue. I had to frame the wet wall of the bathroom with 2x6s because the plumbing alignment with the steel column wasn’t quite right, and I had to make some provisions for the steel beam that runs through the bathroom. In general, framing around all of the pipes sticking out of the floor was challenging.

Bathroom framing done

Bathroom framing done

With all the walls up and framed and a few J-bolts secured, I spent a lot of time poring over the photos I took of the floor after Lester installed the PEX tubing, determining where exactly I could drill the floor and secure the walls with Tapcon screws without hitting anything. After several nerve-wracking drills, including one gush of concrete dust that I was certain was air escaping from the pressurized tube, I had all the walls secure and the pressure gauge on the PEX lines holding near 70psi assured me I hadn’t hit any. Whew.

Now the plumbers and electrician are working on their respective pieces. Once they’re done and we’ve passed inspection we’ll get to insulation, drywall and putting up the temporary walls. I’ve got a list of smaller items as well, like hooking back up the water filter, moving the water heater, running venting for the bathroom exhaust fan, and ordering the other fixtures: vanity, toilet, faucets, and utility sink.

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