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38 Ways To Succeed: Basement Remodel Facts for Everyone

Basement Remodel Facts
Your basement remodeling project can often seem complicated and hard to figure out. It’s below the ground, it’s often dark, damp, and a mess. This space may be reclaimable though, don’t give up the dream of a cozy new bedroom or comfortable family room. After scouring the internet for the most important basement remodel facts, ideas and tips, we have put them all into one package for you. Your basement is a unique place with some unique requirements. Take your time and look these tips, facts, and ideas over to get yourself set on the path to success.

  1. Before you begin know that basement projects are not small endeavors. Considering the amount of area involved it is not considered a weekend project. It may take a few months to properly remodel a basement into livable space.
  2. Decide what you want to make your basement into before you begin.
  3. Make a thorough examination of your basement before deciding if you are going to pursue any basement remodeling project. An honest and thorough list of all issues should be made and be part of any decision you make since they will all need to be addressed before you can even begin.
  4. Be prepared for the cost, that is an average of $90.48 per square foot.
  5. Prepare for the traffic involved in your remodel. Unless there is exterior access all materials and all workers will have to go through your home. You will need to put down temporary covers for carpet and other flooring. Remove valuables that can be knocked off of tables, walls or shelves. The path from access to the basement will need to be as clear of obstacles as possible.
  6. A finished basement may increase the value of your home, and attract more buyers if you are looking to sell.
  7. Do not overspend on your remodel. A luxury basement when your living room has 30-year-old wallpaper won’t work well with buyers.
  8. Over half of basements have some problem with below grade moisture. It is not a matter of if you will have a moisture issue, it is a matter of when. Pipes will leak, and foundations will allow moisture through. Do your best to address these problems as you remodel, and save yourself thousands of dollars down the road.
  9. The sad truth about basements are that 98 percent of basements will have a leak at some point in their lifespan. Block foundations have an 80-90% chance of leaking in the first 20 years.
  10. Dehumidifiers can often fail to solve a moisture problem. Unsealed concrete will simply draw moisture through the concrete floor or walls as the room is made more dry.
  11. Put a vapor barrier in place. A vapor barrier that has been properly installed will go a long way to ensuring that your basement stays dry and comfortable.
  12. Double up on your sump pumps. If you rely on a sump pump to keep your basement dry you need to have an emergency backup system in place.
  13. Always use materials that can resist moisture when doing any remodeling below grade. Research materials you wish to use, and ensure that they can withstand the higher moisture level in a basement.
  14. When deciding on what to do for the ceiling you need to take into account the fact you will need to access pipes and electrical wiring that are run through the joists. A drop ceiling can be a good choice for this reason.
  15. Another issue to be prepared to deal with are any air conditioning conduits that may be below your first floor. These often hang lower then the joists and may require relocation or soffits. Ducts that hang below your floor joists can often be moved to the side walls. This keeps your traffic area with the highest ceilings possible. The soffits necessary for hiding the ducting can often be hidden inside cabinetry.
  16. Install a radon detector to make your basement space is free of radon gas. Radon is a low level radioactive gas that seeps up from the ground into your home.
  17. Egress windows will be necessary if you wish to call your renovated area living space.  These are windows large enough for an adult to exit through, egress windows also usually require digging window wells.
  18. Proper insulation is important for your basement remodel project. Fiberglass insulation is not the best choice as it will retain moisture. Spray foam may be more expensive but you will save yourself repair costs later on.
  19. You need to have a ceiling of at least 7 feet in most cities in order for your basement to count as living space. If you need more headroom this can often be found by lowering the floor, however this may be a more involved process than just grabbing a shovel. The costs can be more than it is worth.
  20. Staining and sealing the existing concrete floor is a very modern and practical choice for your basement flooring.
  21. Carpet is warm and inviting and many home owners want to use it. Take care with this choice, the inevitable leak and water problem can ruin a carpet.
  22. Make a plan for what is in your basement before you begin. Either get rid of things or rent a storage area.
  23. Ensure you get the necessary permits to do your remodel. Work that doesn’t have a permit will not be able to be included in your final appraisal. In the worst case it may need to be removed entirely.
  24. The noise from the floors above can be distressingly loud below ground. To address this add in noise dampening materials.
  25. Your basement will need more lighting than other places in your home. Plan for some sort of light fixture every 7 or 8 feet.
  26. Consider a French door or other glass door at the top of your basement stairs. This will keep you from opening a door into people, as well as make the basement seem more a part of the home.
  27. Add in a door directly to the outside as part of your remodeling plan. This gives your basement exterior light, and keeps the construction from having to go through your home.
  28. Design walls to hide any support columns out of view by making your walls to incorporate them.
  29. A visual trick to make the ceiling seem higher is to lower the height of the doors by an inch or two.
  30. Install a separate air conditioning and heating zone for your basement. A separate control will keep your basement from being too cold in the summer, and keep you from trying to heat things more than necessary in the winter.
  31. If you have the room, opt to put in a full bathroom. A full bathroom downstairs means not having to go upstairs to use one.
  32. Purchase a powder actuated fastener for your remodeling. Fastening your framing to the concrete will require more than a hammer.
  33. Most cities require insulation of R13 or greater in a basement.
  34. Below grade plumbing may require a grinder and a pump to function correctly.
  35. Purchasing a prefabricated basement system is sometimes the best route to take. These are temporary walls that fit together into one whole system.
  36. Keep your basement within the same style of the rest of your home.
  37. As you pursue your remodel, especially before you have added any windows, be careful about dust and fumes created during the process. Not only can these be dangerous in your basement but they can also rise up through the floor into the rooms above.
  38. Never forget the basic rule, if you are planning to sell your home within 5 years your remodel should be focused on attracting the widest possible market. Avoid personalization and focusing your remodel on anything out of the ordinary.