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#46113 - 12/13/04 07:43 AM Finished basement?  
Steve Miller  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 325
Loudoun Cty, VA
We got into an interesting discussion in appreticeship class last week ref a "finished basement" and GFCI receps. Here's what the guys say is enforced in our area. What's the story in yours?
We all agree that an unfinished basement needs GFCI receps. What if .... (and two of our guys say they have seen this):
A person installs a drop ceiling that fully seals the top. But for the walls he paints them with a semi gloss paint just like we see in all the schools (there is no covering over the block except the paint). For the floor he installs a combination of tile and indoor/outdoor carpet glued to the slab. The electric is 100% wiremold. Absolutely nothing is (flush)in the block. The area consists of one large area and there is a walled off (wood and drywall) bathroom which we all know will be GFCI protected and therefore not part of this discussion. We all agreed that GFCIs would be better than non but the question is: is this (by code or interpretation) considered a finished basement with GFCIs not required or unfinished with GFCIs required?
The two guys who have both run across this said the basement was accepted as finished.

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#46114 - 12/13/04 09:39 AM Re: Finished basement?  
dmattox  Offline
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 265
Anaheim, CA
Unfinished Basements - for purposes of this section, unfinished basements are defined as portions or areas of the basement not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and the like.

To me it sounds like its a finished basement and does not need GFCI protection. Unless he installed the shag carpeting to make the storage boxes more comfortable [Linked Image]

#46115 - 12/13/04 02:30 PM Re: Finished basement?  
hbiss  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
Hawthorne, NY USA
Ok, that's pretty clear right? How about this. In my basement I have a room with a hung ceiling, troffers, sheetrocked and painted walls and VCT on the floor. It's a finished area BUT it is work area with work benches, etc. All electrical is installed in the walls in the conventional manner. I did not install GFI's.


#46116 - 12/13/04 05:05 PM Re: Finished basement?  
earlydean  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
Griswold, CT, USA
GFCIs are required by the NEC in the workshop/storage area of this basement, no matter how much finishing you do. The theory of equivalent risk has to do with both the intended use of the space and its state of construction (finish).
That said, what is the real risk of non-GFCI outlets in this finished space? Is it any less or any more than the same workshop in the garage or upstairs in a converted bedroom? The AHJ needs to decide in these cases, because so much of the code is open to intrepretation of intent. Article 90.4 allows for this.


#46117 - 12/13/04 07:16 PM Re: Finished basement?  
Electric Ian  Offline
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 133
The construction finish aspect aside, when PEOPLE will live in a basement area, GFCIs are not required. When BOXES will live in a basement area, GFCIs are requird. Never did quite get that one.

#46118 - 12/13/04 08:27 PM Re: Finished basement?  
sandsnow  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 167
Irvine, CA, USA
If the basement is heated, then it would be habitable. With no heat it's just like a garage, well without the big door!

Larry LeVoir
City of Irvine, CA

#46119 - 12/13/04 09:54 PM Re: Finished basement?  
Wirenuttt  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 267
What about places in this country where heat is not required?

#46120 - 12/13/04 10:18 PM Re: Finished basement?  
sandsnow  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 167
Irvine, CA, USA
I keep forgetting the nationwide thing here.

Is there a building code that allows you to build a home without heat?

My point with the comment is that a house has to be able to maintain heat as required by the building code here. So to be habitable, you would have to be able to maintain heat. A garage is not counted as habitable space because it is not normally heated.

Larry LeVoir
City of Irvine, CA

#46121 - 12/14/04 09:58 AM Re: Finished basement?  
Steve Miller  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 325
Loudoun Cty, VA
Ian I guess that's from the same guy who decided we could shock our local gardener if his hedge trimmer was plugged in outside a commercial building but we had to protect him at our houses.

#46122 - 12/14/04 06:20 PM Re: Finished basement?  
golf junkie  Offline
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 507
York, NE
In our area it's figured by floorcovering. If you have a finished floor, which means about anything other than concrete, GFI protection is not required.

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