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So, a little over two years ago I was finally able to start on finishing my unfinished basement which will become my layout and railroadiana room. Since I wanted to do most of the work myself, progress was slow last year but has greatly picked up this year. As of today, 3/22/21, I only have the suspended ceiling, carpeting and trim left to do. I did have some great friends help me along the way. I could not have done it without them.

I know a lot of Forum members enjoy the layout build threads, and even though I’m still a ways off on my layout, I figured some may be interested in the basement finishing portion of the project to help with their future projects. I’ll go back to the beginning and describe the process with photos. I will update as time allows.

2/28/18 - Well, this is how it started. This was the day we closed on the house. Although the basement was not the only reason I wanted this house, it was a big part of that decision. The basement already had a bathroom and a workshop installed. One side of the train room is approximately 42’-0” by 15’-6”, which will be the layout side. The other side measures about 49’-0” by 11’-8”. This side will be for the railroadiana display. The shelves were left by the previous owner. One of the neat things about this basement is that the entrance stairs are actually in the garage, so there is no stairway in the basement itself to contend with.


2/8/19 – Almost a full year past before I even had a chance to start on the basement. Ah, the joys of moving into a new place. I decided to section off a small area in one corner for storage and a workout room. In this photo, the door behind the shelf is the bathroom and the double doors to the right lead to the workshop.


I never did any framing before. I bought a small compressor and framing nailer. What an awesome tool! I also needed a 6’ level, square and some other basic items. I decided to use wood 2x4s for the framing. If I had to do over I would have went with steel studs. Even though I got all my lumber from a local lumber yard, I still had trouble with would warping and twisting. The fact that younger and younger trees are being harvested for lumber is a big part of what leads to these issues. Metal studs would have eliminated this and what not have been that much more expensive. Right now, with the price of lumber, steel may be cheaper. Here is the partition wall going up.

The shelves that the previous owner left came in handy to store my stuff on and keep most of it off the floor. When I got closer to the end of the framing work, I dismantled the shelves and used any good 2x4s for my framing. The plywood and press board shelf tops were saved for possible inclusion in the future layout.



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Last edited by NJCJOE
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What a great space in a really nice basement. I like the no stairs too, as you pointed out. Also looks like a walkout, can't beat that either. Looks like the perfect setup you have there. Looking forward to following along with your layout build.

How well does the pink insulation do for keeping it warm? I'm thinking about adding that to my basement walls, gets a little chilly in the winter with just bare concrete walls. Looks like that was existing when you moved in, but do you have any idea how it was attached?

rtr12 - The front wall of the house had 2" of insulation attached before we moved in. I put up the rest. It is just attached with some adhesive from caulking tubes. I believe I used a Liquid Nails version good for foam board. The insulation does help. It's not the best insulation, but in a basement where you are always wary of moisture it works well.

3/13/19 – Nothing like the smell of fresh lumber! The next wall to get framed was the long wall which will be behind the layout. The previous owner had already insulated the wall with 2” insulation board which saved me the time and expense. The insulation board joints were sealed with sealing tape and the framing commenced. That is a long wall.



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Wow, that is a great space for a build! Really look forward to seeing your progress. After a while you might consider putting up a couple of battery backup light fixtures unless you have a generator. I remember being in this LARGE confusingly laid out basement of a house where the owner had used black paint on all the walls. It definitely made you focus on the layout which was his intent. He mentioned that he had a couple of flashlights around if there was an electrical outage. Having been in the electrical design business for years I then did a heads up on looking for exits. People not familiar with that space would have been in trouble ever trying to get out. Now this is just MHO and if you never have anyone over no problemo. Peace.

Train ON,

Jim K

1/28/20 to 2/10/20 – Believe it or not, that was all that really got accomplished in 2019. Looking back, I can’t tell you what else I was busy with, but we all know how life just seems to get in the way of our hobbies sometime. Anyway the next wall was finally insulated and framed.


2/23/20 – Another wall is insulated and framed. I had to install this wall in front of the soil lines, which meant I also had to relocate a cold water line at the ceiling where the top plate needed to go. It all worked out in the end.


3/1/20 – On the last area I had to frame, I had to install a doorway into the furnace room. Time to watch more YouTube videos. I was happy with the way it came out. I also had to frame around a triangle shaped bump out. We have a corner fire place upstairs and this is the foundation for the fireplace. Since this is inside the basement, I did not insulate these walls.



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Last edited by NJCJOE

3/28/20 – A lot of people will look at these next photos and wonder what’s up with the insulation pieces. These were not installed for insulating purposes. Most codes require fire blocking. Many people do not know what that means. I didn’t until I looked into it. Back to YouTube again. Fire blocking does not prevent a fire from happening in a wall cavity. It limits the oxygen to the fire causing it to starve so it doesn’t spread. This is accomplished by blocking off the space between the back of the framing and insulation, or top plate at the top of the wall. Then, vertical fire blocking needs to be installed a maximum of every 10’.

There are many ways of doing this, but I found using Rockwool insulation to be the easiest. It cost a little more than other methods but went very quickly. Another misnomer regarding fire blocking, is that the material you use for the fire blocking does not need to be fire resistant. It’s there to block the supply of oxygen only. These photos show the fire blocking complete. Looks weird but it serves the purpose.



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I too remember the end of your previous layout.  Just recently you posted some pics in another thread and I wondered if they were from the old layout or if you had completed a new one.  I now know the answer to that.  Joe your framing work looks great.  Since you've never done it before I guess you learned a lot from YouTube.  Did you attach it to the top and bottom? What did you use to fasten to the concrete floor.

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