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Possible Office for my Uncle

Possible Office for my Uncle

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This is the basement in my aunt's and uncle's house. As you can see, it was originally finished However, the ceiling has been partially torn up in various spots from repairs to electrical and the floor has been dug up for sewage line repairs. And it's very dated looking. Some people like the retro look (I myself dig it) and my aunt can appreciate it and my uncle doesn't care since it's the basement. But, if he's going to have an office down here he want's it brought into the 21st century. Right now his office is in a bedroom upstairs and my cousins share a bedroom. Ones and boy and ones a girl and they need separate rooms since they're starting school now. So my male cousin will get the office and my uncle will have an office down here.

The picture is of the area the office will be built in. The basement in this section is around 12.5ft across and we're planning on coming about 12ft out from the back wall to make the room square. The wall on the left is just plywood, which will be removed and replaced with sheetrock. My uncle wants the wood paneling gone (It's REAL tongue and groove wood planks! not the fake crap!) but I'm trying to talk them into simply painting it to match the drywall since I've seen that done and if done right, it looks really nice. Plus it's a lot easier than replacing it and dealing with whatever is behind it.

The ceiling will stay but needs to be repaired along the back wall. The fluorescent lights will be removed and replaced with recessed cans. The ceiling is probably like 7 to 7.5ft high, too low for traditional fixtures IMO. Plus recessed cans are nice and easy to install in the drop ceiling. A new 20A receptacle circuit for the office will be run. I'll probably reuse the existing lighting circuit but reroute the cable for new switches, etc. As long as the cable is up to code (modernish PVC NM with ground, not BX or cloth sheathed NM cable).

The existing tiles will be tiled over in the office space and I'll install a doorway threshold to transition back to the existing tiles in the remainder of the basement. They have a shuffleboard court on their tile floor! Like part of the tiles!

061517 007.jpg 051317 001.JPG 050317 003.JPG 032217 004.JPG

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Album name:streetlight98 / McCann Lighting - "Lighting for Now, Lighting Forever!"
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Date added:Jul 15, 2017
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rjluna2
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Robert


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Jul 16, 2017 at 02:41 PM Author: rjluna2
Sounds like you got work to cut out, Mike

Pretty, please no more Chinese failure.

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Jul 16, 2017 at 02:45 PM Author: Solanaceae
Yea my friends have a shuffleboard court painted onto the floor in the basement too. The place is strait outta the 70s.

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Jul 16, 2017 at 05:06 PM Author: xmaslightguy
Can-lights is a downgrade from fluorescent, but I can totally see gutting that space/getting rid of the paneling & tiled ceiling for drywall.

Colored Fluorescent's such as F40T12 Red or  Green or Blue are awesome...

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Jul 16, 2017 at 06:25 PM Author: streetlight98
@ Robert: Quite a bit of work but all easy stuff. Just framing one wall, drywalling the plywood wall on the left and the new wall I put up, and some other stuff. Would be time consuming though. A few full 12 hour days for sure.

@ Keif: Oh yeah this basement screams 70s. The house is from the 60s so the basement was finished afterward.

@ xmaslight: My uncle doesn't want fluorescent lighting in his office. I agree with you, I'd rather have fluorescent (but not this stupid set up with shoplights installed over a plastic diffuser. Plastic diffusers were removed since they're dirty and block a lot of light). Paneling I could see getting rid of but I'm trying to talk them into just having me paint it since I don't want to rip it all out. Who knows what's behind the paneling (insulation, wires, etc) and it would be a lot more work. I suppose I could install the drywall right over the paneling though. Ripping out the ceiling is a no-no though, as there are utilities above it that would be blocked by the drywall. You'd have to rip out the drywall to access them in an emergency. Could install nicer tiles though. The ceiling would be fine for an office but looks pretty "stuffy" for a finished room. Not cozy and home-like.

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Jul 16, 2017 at 06:52 PM Author: xmaslightguy
@streetlight98: There should (assuming the basement was finished correctly) be drywall behind the paneling.
I do agree the shoplight thrown up there at an angle looks bad

When me & my dad did a basement finishing years ago, we drywalled the ceiling in all rooms (exception being the hall which was done with ceiling tiles. I did use shoplights with a plastic diffuser there, but also kept the diffuser the same width as the light so it ended up looking ok)

Colored Fluorescent's such as F40T12 Red or  Green or Blue are awesome...

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Jul 16, 2017 at 08:01 PM Author: icefoglights
The house of my best friend growing up had basement lighting like this. Looked like recessed troffers on the surface, but when they had to start replacing tubes, they discovered that they were just strip lights or shop lights hanging from the rafters above the suspended ceiling, with a diffuser panel in place of a ceiling tile. Usually ended up breaking the diffuser panel trying to remove it to relamp.

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Jul 16, 2017 at 11:05 PM Author: Lightingguy1994
Can lights should be okay , but make sure they can at least have a wide spread of light and not narrow, those LED filament lamps would work good in those. If the tiles are stuffy looking, i would see about giving them paint or replacing with nicer ones if it were me, even 2x2 ones would be perfect and easier to remove
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Jul 17, 2017 at 08:49 AM Author: streetlight98
@ xmas: Paneling does not need to be installed over drywall. These are real wooden planks so they can stand alone (they're probably on horizontal furring strips to provide a nailing surface though). Usually when there's drywall behind wood paneling it's because the paneling was added after the fact. This basement was unfinished before the paneling was added. Perhaps there is something behind it but from what I can tell there isn't. I will definitely look a little closer before any work is done though.

@ icefoglights: Yep most of the diffusers are all cracked too.

BTW if anyone is wondering why the fixture in the background has no tubes, one of the sockets is destroyed and won't hold a lamp so the tubes were removed (before my time). Won't matter anyway since the fixture is coming out. I'm curious what kind of ballast is in this. These look like Andy's Sears shoplights so I wouldn't be surprised if these have Bonusline ballasts. The lamps in most of them are 34W Altos from around 2000 (when my uncle bought the place; my bet is that either the color temperatures didn't match or a lot of tubes were dead so my uncle relamped half the basement. There are two fixtures outside of the remodel area with vintage tubes (lifelines and one blackender westy). Those tubes will be replaced before the remodel is completed.

@ Lightingguy: Yeah the ceiling is low so the cans will have to be spaced pretty closely. I'm thinking six for the ~12 X ~12 space. The new wall will go up right across the middle of the working light in this picture. That means the 4ft ceiling tees will need to come out so the stud wall can go up. Working around that HVAC will be a little bit of a pain. Not sure why they didn't box it in like my basement (there's a lower part of the drywall where the HVAC and gas line run). I agree, I like the 2x2 grids better but not sure who made this grid and the tees are generally proprietary so I'd have to use the same brand for everything unless I redneck rig it, so I'm just going to add as few new pieces as possible. The existing tees will need to be repainted with some semi-gloss white paint though since they've light light rust marks from humidity. The tiles are a little ratty looking. They're rigid paperboard stuff (not the flexi ones) which I think are better at sound-proofing, which would be important for an office. I'll discuss with them if they want to spend the money on new tiles or just repaint the existing ones. There are missing tiles that need to be replaced anyway (I could steal them from the other half of the basement, where half the ceiling was ripped out for repairs over the years, but the plan is to fill those missing portions of grid back in, so I would imagine they'd rather have the new tiles in the brand new office).

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Jul 17, 2017 at 04:38 PM Author: xmaslightguy
streetlight98:
maybe that's something the do here (or did..because who uses paneling anymore? )
Either way It certainly should have drywall behind it.

I'm also thinking 'paneling' being the 4x8 sheets (weather its real wood or not). But even the individual planks still should have drywall behind though.

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Deff post a pic of this room after remodeling is complete

Colored Fluorescent's such as F40T12 Red or  Green or Blue are awesome...

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Jul 17, 2017 at 05:44 PM Author: streetlight98
You brought up a good point so I did a little researching and found generally the practice is that paneling under 1/4" thick needs a solid backing up anything thicker than that can be attached right to studs/runners. The boards used here are tongue-and-groove and are between 1/4" and 3/8" thick (can't remember off-hand). So odds are that there's either drywall or at least plywood behind the paneling. There was a minibar down here that my aunt's father removed so they could use the space for storage, as they've got a lot of stuff down here. I was helping my aunt go through some stuff to make room when I took this picture.

Their big plan is to make an office in the portion of the basement shown, turn the part of the basement behind the picture (including a place with a fire place, the minibar, two more fluorescent shoplights at an angle, and the laundry area) into a playroom for the two kids who are 9 and 4. The laundry area will be moved over to the unfinished third of the basement (to the left of this picture) which was originally a workshop with a work table but us currently just a storage space. They also want to add a half-bathroom in a portion of the unfinished room, which is actually simpler than in most homes since the sewage line exists the home below the foundation and not above the floor like most homes, so they don't need a pump.

The ex-minibar area will be turned into a closet with bi-folding doors to conceal the space (there's already a wood beam across the ceiling in that spot so I wouldn't even need to carve out the ceiling in that area; would be quite simple to do). The area is about the size of an average bedroom closet. Nothing spectacular but it is storage space.

I'm not sure if they would tile over the floor in the "play area", as it is intact- just dated looking. But IMO if they retile the "playroom" they'd have to get rid of the paneling (or repaint it) and repaint the ceiling/replace the tiles since it won't look good with only one or two things updated in my opinion. The office space's tile needs to be redone though since it's pulled up in some spots where they did sewage work. Rather than tear up the whole room though I'd opt to use some floor leveler on the part that was dug up and just tile over the existing tiles since the adhesive used for tile floors gets stronger with age and after 40 years would be impossible to remove smoothly without a machine.

I offered to build the bathroom too but told them right out-front that I couldn't do the plumbing work. I'm perfectly comfortable doing the rough framing, electrical, drywalling, suspended ceiling installation (since it would be in what is currently a stud ceiling), etc. but I'm not comfortable digging up the concrete floor and tapping into the sewage and water lines (especially since they've got cast sewage piping, which they also want replaced as part of the remodel). I'm not familiar with the plumbing codes and stuff so I'd rather not do that sort of work. But I offered to draw up a bathroom plan for the plumber to follow for laying out the pipework and then I could do the rest like installing the toilet and sink and stuff. They currently only have one bathroom (which also needs to be remodeled) but they can't remodel it without a second bathroom since they'd have nowhere to go. Their bathroom has a pair of chrome F14T12 preheat fixtures; one on each side of the medicine cabinet/mirror. They've got warm white tubes in them and buzz like crazy. I expressed interest in them if they get removed. I replaced the starters in both of them since they were having trouble starting from being switched on/off all the time. Their house has nice loud "SNAP" switches too!

I absolutely love the electrical in their house. The wiring was mostly all redone when my uncle bought the house since it was ungrounded (he's a computer guy so he wanted all grounded and safe wiring for his surge protectors and equipment) and at that time the fuse box was replaced with a breaker panel (back right corner of the picture). Only thing is, the electrician (who appears to have done nice work otherwise) did not bother using romex staples above the drop ceiling AT ALL. He just laid the cables right across the ceiling grid. Part of my work will be making sure all the stuff above the ceiling is neatly restrained. However, seeing that the laundry area will be moved to the other end of the basment, it will make moving the 240V line pretty easy since it's just draped across the ceiling lol. I'll just need to take out the two staples holding it to the wall near the dryer, coil it up above the ceiling, reroute it across the back wall of the picture to the unfinished portion of the basement, and clip off the excess wire. The cable currently goes diagonally across the basement (you can see part of it where the functional light fixture is) so there will definitely be excess cable. It's new looking orange 10/3 romex so there's no reason it can't be reused, which should save them like $50 in cable alone!

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