Want to increase your love of your home by creating a cozy hideaway that your family can retreat to? Or maybe you need more space?
One of the best ways to do this is remodeling or renovating the basement. Whether your basement needs a remodel or complete renovation, here are some tips to help:
Test Your Basement for Moisture
This is a must so you don’t spend money or time on a renovation that is doomed due to water. Maybe there is high humidity or the foundation isn’t sealed. Either way, this must be addressed FIRST!
You can test for moisture by taping 2-foot squares of plastic sheeting to the floor and walls. Wait a couple of weeks. If condensation forms underneath, your foundation’s not sealed. If droplets form on top, your basement needs dehumidifying.
If there are leaks, it may mean it is time call in the professionals.
You also need to consider moisture when you are selecting your drywall. And you need to insulate any pipes in the walls or ceiling to prevent condensation from forming inside the walls.
Check the Headroom!
While it varies, building codes often require 7 to 7½ feet of clearance. This is something else to check BEFORE you get too far along. You may be able to relocate some ducts and pipes to help.
Otherwise, you may need to lower the floor or to raise the house. Either way, this means having a professional do the work and it probably will not be cheap.
A Plan for Your Improved Basement
Probably one of the first and most important steps is researching and planning. Remember that failing to plan is planning to fail! Deciding what you want and the floor plan should be really fun. Maybe you want another bedroom, a home theater or hobby room. Whatever it is, take the time to think it out and plan accordingly.
Be sure to leave plenty of space around the mechanicals. At least 2 feet but 3 feet is much better. You don’t want have to tear out walls to replace a water heater or furnace.
One of the most important parts of planning is setting your budget!
Just remember to stick to it!
Get Permits When Renovating or Remodeling
Now that you have a plan, it is time to make sure your plan will meet all the code requirements!
It should go without saying that you need to always get the proper permits when doing any work on your house. You should check with your city/county to ensure you get any permits you need and that the space is up to code.
If you don’t do it right, a basement remodel could hurt you when it comes time to sell.
Not Too Hot Not Too Cold
It will be hard to enjoy your newly renovated basement if it is hot or cold. You’ll want to contact several licensed HVAC contractors to get estimates on how much it will cost to heat and cool your basement. Maybe you will be lucky and it will mean using the existing HVAC system.
Be sure to have your house’s ventilation system checked for carbon monoxide buildup in the basement.
Get Pumped About Your Basement
If your basement has a sump pump, you really need to have a back up battery in case the power goes out. And you need a backup pump in case the first pump dies.
Speaking from experience, it isn’t any fun bailing water out of a rapidly flooding basement due to a freak thunderstorm.
An Exit Strategy
I am sure you have seen basements that do not have an outside entrance. Which mean there is not an easy way to move furniture, TVs or maybe appliances into your newly updated basement. Plus you have to consider the safety factor of NOT having an exit!
If you are planning on adding bedrooms to your basement, you MUST remember that they need to have windows.
The Best Flooring for Your Basement Remodel
What is best for you will depend greatly on your budget, tastes and how you plan on using the basement. You need to make sure your floors are level before you lay anything down.
Decorating Your Basement
Again, this is going to depend on your budget, tastes and plans. After all this hard work, it is time to pick out your paint colors, move in your furniture and enjoy your new basement.
Additional Reading ABout Remodeling a Basement