Which to build first? Walls or floors?

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David Bonnell

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Jun 4, 2008, 11:52:01 AM6/4/08
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Finishing my full concrete basement. People I have spoken to tell me
to build the walls first, then the subfloor. It seems to me that it
would be much easier to lay down the entire subfloor and then place
framed 2x4 walls on top of the floor...there would be just as much
work building the walls, but considerably less work putting the floor
in place (you would only need to cut plywood at the edge of the
foundation, instead of custom cuts to fit around every interior wall).

Nobody has given me a good reason *why* the walls should be built
first. On upper floors (supported by wooden joists), walls are built
on top of the subfloor, right?

I suppose that if there was water damage in the basement, it would be
easier to remove a section of subfloor that wasn't being held down
underneath walls. Any other ideas why it might be a bad idea to build
the subfloor first?

Enthusiastic Amateur

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Jun 4, 2008, 11:04:15 AM6/4/08
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I saw on some tv show that they put basement walls OFF the floor for various
reasons. Then cover the gap with moulding or something. If that's the case,
what's the diff?


"David Bonnell" <dbon...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:c885fd85-1c76-430f...@2g2000hsn.googlegroups.com...

Wayne Whitney

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Jun 4, 2008, 1:08:58 PM6/4/08
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On 2008-06-04, David Bonnell <dbon...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Finishing my full concrete basement. People I have spoken to tell me
> to build the walls first, then the subfloor.

What are your plans for a subfloor over the concrete slab? The reason
I see to do the walls first is if anchoring the wall bottom plate to
the slab through the subfloor would negatively impact the performance
of the subfloor. E.g. if it is supposed to be floating.

Cheers, Wayne

Glenn

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Jun 4, 2008, 1:09:14 PM6/4/08
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"David Bonnell" <dbon...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:c885fd85-1c76-430f...@2g2000hsn.googlegroups.com...
> Finishing my full concrete basement. People I have
> spoken to tell me
> to build the walls first, then the subfloor. > Nobody
> has given me a good reason *why* the walls should be
> built
> first.

You are going to put subfloor in your basement that has
a concrete floor?

If you like trouble and pain so much, why not just take
your hammer and hit yourself on the head a few times.
Much faster.

Use a good tile or even a thick pad and carpet. Easer
to replace.

David Bonnell

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Jun 4, 2008, 1:44:11 PM6/4/08
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> You are going to put subfloor in your basement that has
> a concrete floor?

Yes. The whole point of this exercise is to create a comfortable
living space.
With no subfloor, the room would not be as comfortable as it would
with a proper subfloor.

>
> If you like trouble and pain so much, why not just take
> your hammer and hit yourself on the head a few times.
> Much faster.

What insight! A subfloor might not build itself, but I certainly
wouldn't call it much trouble compared to the overall project scope.

> Use a good tile or even a thick pad and carpet.  Easer
> to replace.

Not likely. Tile is far too cold in my neck of the woods (even when
installed on a wood subfloor above a heated area). Carpet+pad alone
may be adequate in the short term, but it is subject to moisture/mold
problems. I'm not comfortable with that...I've been in enough
basements to know better.

Carpet may be 'easier' to replace, but the walls/subfloor will be
built specifically to handle potential moisture problems.

David Bonnell

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Jun 4, 2008, 1:47:08 PM6/4/08
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On Jun 5, 12:04 am, "Enthusiastic Amateur" <n...@spam.com> wrote:
> I saw on some tv show that they put basement walls OFF the floor for various
> reasons.  Then cover the gap with moulding or something. If that's the case,
> what's the diff?
>

No big difference...but it's easier to lay out 4x8 sheets of plywood
in an open (no walls built) area than it is to cut-and-fit pieces of
plywood to fit the contour of each room. Less waste too. Hence the
reason for my question. I'm not concerned about a gap (mouldings will
be installed).

David Bonnell

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Jun 4, 2008, 1:59:36 PM6/4/08
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> What are your plans for a subfloor over the concrete slab?  The
reason
> I see to do the walls first is if anchoring the wall bottom plate to
> the slab through the subfloor would negatively impact the performance
> of the subfloor.  E.g. if it is supposed to be floating.
>
>

Wayne,

Good point w.r.t. floating floor. Although my floor may be anchored
at points, that sounds like enough of a reason for me.
Most local subfloors are built on 2x4 sleepers. I'm using a different
approach to maximize headroom...so the floor can't be anchored down
every 16".

PeterD

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Jun 4, 2008, 6:45:16 PM6/4/08
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Ouch, disagree!

A proper subfloor has many advantages over concrete, it is warmer, has
a better feel, and is easier to work with. As well, if there is a
small amount of moisture coming through the concrete, the results will
be better... (Of course you want some spaces for ventilation too.)

willshak

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Jun 5, 2008, 8:53:02 AM6/5/08
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on 6/4/2008 1:44 PM David Bonnell said the following:

My finished basement does not have a subfloor. Just wall to wall carpet
and heavy duty padding over the concrete, and it is not even attached
with tack strips.
I'm not in a flood area, so the only water damage would be from internal
plumbing failures. If there is a water leak large enough to damage the
carpet, I'll just roll it up and replace it. There are no tools required.

--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
To email, remove the double zeroes after @

robertwilliams

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Jun 14, 2008, 1:37:48 AM6/14/08
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Linda

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Feb 27, 2018, 12:14:04 PM2/27/18
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replying to David Bonnell, Linda wrote:
Stud walls need to be installed over double plated floor joices for the extra
weight. So, if you put you subfloor down first it will probably take just as
long if not longer to do all the additional measurements to find the plates
for accuracy. Remember this is not a house trailer where subfloor is installed
first and interior walls are stuck anywhere and are not over double plated
juices anywhere unless regulations changed and I missed it.

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for full context, visit https://www.homeownershub.com/construction/which-to-build-first-walls-or-floors-14297-.htm


Grsysstar

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Mar 15, 2022, 10:31:21 PM3/15/22
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Concrete is porous and allows moisture. That can cause mildew and mold to carpet.

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For full context, visit https://www.homeownershub.com/construction/which-to-build-first-walls-or-floors-14297-.htm

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