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 Remodeling a Basement (Build Like A Pro)Finishing a basement is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to increase living space in a home. This book helps readers visualize the vast possibilities that exist for this challenging space, and go about the remodeling process in an organized and efficient way. Roger German, a basement remodeling pro, covers every step, from the physically demanding "dirty work" to the rewarding finishing touches. He shows how to deal with a basement's special challenges, such as moisture problems and framing against concrete floors and walls, and gives instructions on pumping water up and out from basement baths and laundry rooms.
  Date Published 4/1/2004

Average Rating: Rating Average
Rated By: Fred Gwynn
From: Florida
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Very Good Book
I have read this book a few times already. It is very good for ideas and a general overview of what can be used in a remodeled basement, but not a "how to" book by any means. You better know how before reading this book, because you won't know how after. You might just have a few good ideas about how you want it to look, carpet of title, etc... Over all I found it useful.
Rated By: PARICO
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Best Book On Topic....But
This is by far the best book I have ran across on this topic, very thourough and provides a real do it yourself vocabulary. Topics are covered in a logical order and really, this book will get you through 95% of your basement project. I would recommend another book for electrical and possibly drywall - as all that is dedicated to those topics in this book is a few pages. I found Home Depot's $12 1-2-3 Electrical book to be a great supplement and all you will need for even the most challenging wiring situations. I hired a plumber to save me some time on that aspect, so I can not speak to that part of the book, but it seems to give you the basics.

Now - the reasons I can not give this book 5 stars.

1 - Electrical - I live in suburban Chicago and this book simply is outdated. Codes here are much more strict then wherever this book was written. You need to run all wiring in EMT conduit here and use that as the grounding source - using the NM (romex) that is outlined in the book is a huge code violation here and I think the inspectors would laugh at you. And running conduit is a big project whc greatly lengthens the time described in the book Thus, most of the stuff talked about in the book in terms of supplies is not going to cut in some locales.

2 - His advice on insulation vapor barrier is COMPLETLY WRONG. They would make you rip out any vapor barrier if you put it up where I live. It does nothing more than trap moisutre in the wall, not allowing it to dry out. In essence, its like putting a plastic bag over your hand, after ahwile it starts to sweat and cant dry out.

3 - Framing basement windows. He goes from framing a real basment window to all of a sudden working on one above ground in the final carpentry work - totally different technique.

These things aside, great book.
Rated By: Icarus Falls
From: Everywhere, U.S.A.
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Excellent overview
During the remodel of my basement, I found this to be an excellent "guide". I say guide because I did have to supplement a couple of times (namely the drywall and HVAC sections) with more in-depth books. But German lays out everything in a logical step-by-step manner and most of his explanations are clear. I didn't run into the insulation problem that some others had because I used a separate book for hanging drywall and insulation. I think that any novice wanting to remodel their basement should pick up this book first and then get more detailed information on subjects if they need to. Everyone's experience will be different, and this book is a great overview of most of the stuff you will encounter.
Rated By: Michael Blowfield
From: Unavailable
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Showed me what I needed to know
I'm planning my basement renewal and this book helped me think through the different stages. I haven't tested it in practice as yet, but it helped me a lot.

Rated By: S. Bell "New Mom"
From: St. Louis, MO
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: The best yet!
I am in the middle of remodeling the basement in our new home. While I have purchased about a half a dozen books on the subject, this is without a doubt the best. The author covers every angle of remodeling from planning to painting and the color photographs are wonderful! Just one word of caution, the book seems geared more for those with newer homes. If your basement is really old, or a total disaster, I would recommend looking elsewhere for advice. For newer homes, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Best of luck with your project!
Rated By: "taylor26"
From: Maplewood, NJ
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Excellent for novices, but bad insulation advice
First, let me say that I think Mr German is an excellent teacher, especially for idiot novices like myself. I've had difficulty with other DIY books assuming a certain vocabulary. German provides an excellent intro to DIY in framing, carpentry, plumbing, electrical etc. I now feel I can start reading more advanced DIY books on each of these topics.

My criticism, and my reason for 4 stars, is that his story on insulation flies in the face of recent thinking about the dangers of mold in basement insulation. I suggest reading "Insulate and Weatherize" by Bruce Harley, or "Renovating Old Houses" by George Nash, or look at the web site, for more information. I urge Mr German to update his book with a better discussion of insulation, mold and vapor barriers, the most mind-bending aspect of home improvement that I have been able to find.

The book also talks about water-proofing on page 46-47. I haven't seen this approach elsewhere, and I'm disappointed not to see discussion of external drain mats and so on. Every book says you have to keep plants away from the house. Well I and I suspect others can't do that and stay married, so I'll probably end up building a watertight flower box above a drain mat. This might be a good project to add to a second edition of the book.