10 Items to Consider when finishing your Basement

10 Items to Consider when finishing your Basement

Finishing a basement can add more usable space to your home. It can give you a wonderful area to enjoy all year, and can even increase the value of your property.

If you are finishing your basement, make sure you keep these important tips in mind. With these basics, you’ll be able to build the comfortable basement you’ve always wanted!

1. Keep Dryness a Priority

Before you can start building walls, putting in tile, or building a bar, you need to make sure your basement is 100% protected from moisture. Look for water pools or drips coming through walls, and inspect the outside to make sure the ground slopes away from the house. Solutions for water problems include water-lock paint and special calking. No matter how dry your basement is, you should also add a vapor barrier.

2. Codes Matter

Remember to check with local municipalities to make sure your remodeling project doesn’t require any permits. If there are plumbing or electrical changes being made, you will likely have to get the proper permits to complete the job. Many cities and counties have codes related to ceiling height, so this is something you’ll need to consider when finishing your basement.

3. Don’t Ignore Overhead Space

Many basements already have low overheads, but hanging drop ceilings and lighting fixtures can take up a lot of space. Make sure you are considering how decisions will affect the headspace. Direct mount ceilings are a great choice, as they only take about an inch of height from the ceiling.

4. Specific Tools and Materials Needed

Basement wall and floors will use a lot of masonry, cement, or brick, so wood nails and screws won’t hold. You’ll need proper fasteners like concrete screws for securing walls, and you’ll likely need stronger tools like a hammer drill for creating pilot holes. Also, you’ll want to use treated lumber to guard against rot from a damp basement.

5. Insulate Properly

If you want a comfortable basement, you’re going to need to insulate properly. Good insulation will not only regulate temperature and energy consumption, it will also help guard against moisture. Also, insulating the basement ceiling can help reduce noise between levels. There are a few different products you can use to insulate your basement walls. There is the standard fiberglass insulation, which comes in rolls, or you can choose foam board insulation, which is easy to handle and install. Spray foam is popular for damp basements because it locks out cold air and moisture.

6. Keep Access to Plumbing and Wires

You never know what might happen. Someday, you’re likely going to want access to the plumbing and wiring running through the basement ceiling, so maintain access by mounting a ceiling tile system that can be easily removed and replaced.

7. The Egress Window Can Save a Life

If your basement remodel is going to include a bedroom, you must have an exit point. Don’t try to sidestep this important aspect of remodeling. Not only will an egress window increase the potential value of your home, it could save your life of the life of a loved one.

8. Can Lightings Provide a Great Atmosphere

Good lighting in a basement can be difficult to achieve, leaving many areas feeling more like a dungeon. Can lighting, however, can be effective for providing a good amount of light without coming across too harsh. They also can be tucked into the floor joists between the ceiling and the floor.

9. Consider the HVAC System

Finishing a basement can create new challenges for your heating and air conditioning system. You’ll have to consider vent placement, cold air returns, and duct locations. Because finishing a basement will add additional demands to your HVAC system, it’s best to talk with a professional to make sure everything is done properly.

10.The Mechanical Room Should Be Left Alone

You need space around your water heater, water softener, and furnace, so leave the mechanical or utility room as is. You can use it for storage, laundry, or another purpose, but don’t plan on it being a finished area. 

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