Converting Your Garage Into Living Space

If the slab requires waterproofing or if you wish to have a more conventional type floor, there are several methods of applying a finished floor. For example, where an insulated concrete floor is desired, it is possible to install foam insulation board under a ply wood wearing surface. Before applying the insulation board, be sure the floor surface you will be bonding to is structurally sound, clean and dry, and is free of oil and loose paint. Any cracks should be filled with patching cement several days prior to installation. Much heat is lost due to cold air blowing in through cracks, so take this opportunity to caulk cracks where the floor and walls meet; concrete binder works fine for this purpose.

Determine which direction the plywood should run and plan to run the furring strips at right angles to the plywood. The foam insulation board can run whichever direction is easiest for you. To install the subfloor, proceed as follows:

1. Cut the foam insulation board to fit the length.

2. Apply foam and panel adhesive in ribbons according to the instructions on the cartridge.

3. Adhere the foam insulation board to the concrete. Firmly and uniformly press the insulation board over every square foot of surface to assure an intimate bond. Repeat until all the floor surface is covered.

4. Lay the l-by-2 furring strips on 16-inch centers over the foam insulation board, making sure that the ends of the plywood will fall along the centers of the strips. With concrete nails, fasten the furring strips every 3 feet through the foam into the concrete floor.

5. Apply a serpentine ribbon of construction adhesive over the furring strips. Lay the plywood perpendicular to the strips, and nail it to the strips with ring nails or spiral nails on 4-inch centers. The 1/2-inch plywood will provide a firm base for the finished flooring as well as adequate fire protection for the foam insulation board.

6. Sand off any irregularities at the plywood joints, and you are ready for your new carpeting. If you have chosen to install tile or sheet material and wood flooring, you will want to make the plywood joints absolutely flush by filling them with wood filler and sanding them smooth.

Finishing the walls. Inside walls and the ceiling can be done with gypsum wallboard or one of the easy-to-install 4-by-8-foot decorative plywood or hardboard wall panelings. These finishing materials may be applied with either nails, or preferably, adhesives. These adhesives, frequently called panel and plywood adhesives or mastics, can be used to bond panels, drywall, hardboard, corkboard, bulletin boards, or chalkboards to masonry, studs, drywall, or concrete. That is, paneling of all types can be bonded tightly to studs, drywall, masonry, or furring strips with these adhesives and requires few or no nails for a smooth, one-step installation. This eliminates nail pops and patching. It also eliminates the danger of marring prefinished panels with hammer marks. The adhesives also overcome structural deficiencies, fill gaps, and bridge minor framing defects. Usually dispensed from cartridges, most panel adhesives will not drip from beams or sag from vertical surfaces. The following are the basic techniques for the use of panel adhesives:

1. Remove dust and other foreign matter from the surfaces to be bonded.

2. Apply the panel adhesive to the studs only. Use a 1/8 to 1/4-inch bead where the surface will conform closely. Use a 3/8-inch or thicker bead on uneven surfaces where bridging is required.

3. After the adhesive has been applied to the studs, position the panels within 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Press the panels firmly against the studs to insure a good bond. Press only once. The adhesive will bridge the gaps automatically. Use nails or other fasteners on areas where surfaces tend to separate. Remove the fasteners after 24 hours.

5. Nail the paneling at the top and bottom with finishing nails. Finish the paneling by applying the proper moldings.

Many panel adhesives are extremely difficult to remove after they have dried. In the wet state, a suitable solvent such as mineral spirits or lighter fluid will satisfactorily remove smears or clean up tools, etc.

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