You have decided to turn your dark and damp basement into something more usable, and there are great reasons why. Whether you are creating a hobby, play, an entertaining space, or making it a rental area, there are many great options.
Basement remodeling is just about the perfect remodeling project for improving your living space. You do not lose any of the current functions of your home. You keep the mess contained in non-living spaces. You do not have to move out to make it happen. You do not have to make any structural changes to your home. You also increase the value of your home.
If you follow the tips below, you will end up with a basement you love and will hold up over time. These tips can be broken down into two broad categories, plan and prepare. Do not skip ahead, as it may cost you in the long run.
Basement Plan Step 1: Dream a Little
Finishing your basement can be a lot of fun. It is like starting with a blank canvas and imagining the possibilities of what it could become. As you consider your basement and what you out of it, allow yourself to see it and what it will feel like spending time in the space.
Be sure to consider all of the options that you may want in your space. This includes:
- A bathroom
- Kitchen or kitchenette
- Closet space
- Built-in shelves or entertainment units
Plan Step 2: Map It Out
Once you have the picture clearly in your mind of what you are looking for, it is time to map it out. Yes, you need to do this on paper, and preferably in a “scale” form. Simple graph paper makes this really easy.
Start by drawing the exterior walls of your basement. Next, map out permanent appliances like the furnace and water heater. Then move on to the new feature you want to add. This could be mounted features like built-in bookcases or counters, as well as free-standing things like tables, desks and chairs. Also, include any interior walls you plan to erect to create multiple rooms.
Finally, be sure to map out where you will need electrical and plumbing. Unless you are trained on how to plan this out, do not worry about how it will be run. Rather, just consider where you would like the service points.
Step 3: Consult a Contractor
The next step to the finished basement of your dreams is to consult with a contractor who specializes in them. Even if this is to get an estimate, a contract can look at your design and help find areas for improvement. A contractor will also be able to develop the plan for how to run the wiring and plumbing needed. A detailed plan by a contractor will come with a cost, but again will help you save money and time.
You will also get an estimate so you can see whether the basement remodeling is a project you want to tackle yourself. This will give you not only the cost, but also the estimated time-frame to complete the project.
Whether you decide to hire a contractor or do it yourself, there is some prep work that will help you save money.
Prepare Step 1: Inspect the Foundation
The very first thing you want to do is inspect the foundation, even if your home is new. Before you put walls up that will cover the foundation, but sure you look for weaknesses. During this inspection, you want o look for cracks and signs of crumbling. You also want to look for any signs of dampness on the concrete. The inspection should include both the floor and the walls of the basement.
If you aren’t sure what you should be looking for, you may want to consider bringing in a professional to conduct the inspection. This is similar to what you might do before purchasing a home.
Prepare Step 2: Clean Like the Queen is Visiting
So we may not have royalty that comes for a visit, but imagine how you would clean if you did. That is the level of clean you want to start with. Be sure you also clean the furnace too, especially if part of the plan is making it less accessible.
Yes, your project is going to make a mess. However, starting with a clean environment ensures you do not lock in any dirt as you build it out.
Prepare Step 3: Check for Mold & Mildew
Finally, check closely for mold and mildew. You should do a visual inspection. However, you should also consider a proper lab test. There are generally two types of tests available: a swab and a dust test. You want to be sure you remediate any possible mold development before you started working on your finished basement project.