• Taping a small sheet of plastic on a concrete wall for a couple of days is a good way to determine whether any moisture is coming through. (You can also use the same technique on concrete floors.)

    Hydraulic cement is the best way to patch any leaks or weep holes in the wall because it expands as it dries instead of shrinking like regular cement. All the smallest cracks get filled.

    After using polystyrene foam adhesive to glue sheets of foam insulation to the walls, I attach two layers of 1x3 strapping—one vertical and one horizontal—to the rigid sheets. You could get by with just one horizontal row, but the 1½ inch thick grid made by the two perpendicular rows makes it real easy to rig electric and cable lines.

    • Difficulty: None

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      Tools List

      • hammer
        Hammer and center punch
        used to tap metal wall ties below surface of wall
      • spray bottle
        Spray bottle
        used to spray water onto wall prior to applying hydraulic cement
      • margin trowel
        Margin trowel and plastic bucket
        used to mix and apply hydraulic cement to wall
      • caulk gun
        Caulk gun
      • utility knife
        Utility knife
      • chalk line
        Chalk line
      • hammer drill
        Hammer drill and 3/16-inch masonry drill bit
      • drill

      Shopping List

      1. Polyethylene plastic sheeting and duct tape

      used to test wall for excessive moisture

      2. Hydraulic cement

      for patching holes in wall

      3. Polystyrene foam board

      used to insulate basement walls

      4. 1x3 spruce boards

      used to create a furring-strip grid on wall for attaching drywall

      5. 4-inch-long spring spikes

      used to secure horizontal 1x3s to wall

      6. 1 5/8-inch drywall screws

      used to attach vertical 1x3s to horizontal 1x3s

      7. Electrical boxes, cable, connectors and devices

      needed if planning to electrify the wall