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Building a Better Basement

Total Credits: 1 including 1 Minnesota Residential Building Contractor, 1 Minnesota Building Official, 1 Wisconsin Dwelling Contractor

MN Contractor Credit |  WI Contractor Credit |  Energy |  MN Building Official Credit
Michael Anschel
1 Hour
Audio and Video
Access for 180 day(s) after purchase.


This course looks at two of the more complicated components of basement construction including problems with how many basements are built today and how to build them better with proper capillary, air, water, and thermal control layers. Finishing an existing basement is even more challenging, and we’ve all seen examples of how badly it can fail. This course will provide a best practice solution to finishing existing spaces, so they are as durable and efficient as possible.

Course Outline
  • Introduction
    • Establish key fundamentals of the session
    • Basements: New and Existing. Walk outs and full basement
  • Goals
    • Keep it dry
    • Keep it healthy
    • Make it comfortable
    • Make it efficient
  • Basement – New Construction
    • Typical below grade wall built to code today
    • Review of each part and its function
  • Control Layers
    • Review control layers
    • Thermal, water (capillary), air, Moisture
    • Purpose of each layer
    • Reflection of each layer in the wall and slab components
  • Pen Test
    • Identify control layers in standard wall assembly
    • Identify weakness/intersections in control layer
  • Best Practice – Basement wall and slab assembly
    • Walk through drawing of assembly
    • Pen Test on control layers
  • Best Practice – Existing basement wall (multiple) and slab assembly
    • Walk through drawing of assembly
    • Pen Test on control layers

Learner Objectives

Students will learn about the following:

  • The purpose of each component in a below grade wall assembly
  • What the four control layers are
  • How to identify the control layers in the assembly and discover potential problems
  • Best practices for a new construction below grade finished basement assembly
  • Best practices for finishing an existing basement assembly


"Absolutely essential for anyone building or remodeling a basement." Jeremy Berg

Quiz Info

After the course, you will need to take a 10 question quiz. To pass the quiz, you will need to get a score of 70% or higher.

Credit Info

This course has been approved for one hour of MN residential contractor, remodeler, and building official continuing education by the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry and includes the required Energy credit, and one hour of WI Dwelling Contractor Qualifier CE by the Wisconsin Dept. of Safety & Professional Services. If you are eligible to receive continuing education credits, your information will be electronically reported to the appropriate agency within 7 business days of course completion.

Access Info

Your online course is accessible 24/7. The course will be available to you for 180 days from purchase date.

Questions and Comments

Questions and comments related to the curriculum for this course may be submitted to the instructor at


Michael Anschel's Profile

Michael Anschel Related seminars and products


OA Design + Build

Michael Anschel is a nationally recognized expert on Green design, remodeling and building, writes, trains, and speaks for various publications and events around the world. His building assemblies have been published in numerous publications including the US Department of Energy. He is the owner of OA Design-Build, an award winning nationally celebrated design-build firm, and CEO of Verified Green Inc. which consults with Local Government, product manufacturers, suppliers, builders, and architects on Green building. Michael successfully straddles the building, design, and green worlds by engineering profitability into sustainability. 

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