Whether it’s to accommodate a bigger family or something else, there comes a time when you need to expand your home space. If you have a wide lot, you can always extend your home to the outside. If you don’t, your best bet is to extend under. That means making use of your basement.
Although the finishing and renovating your basement can add value to your home (if you want to sell it in the future), it’s expensive projects that may not immediately give you a return of your investment. So you have to think carefully and make sure you have more than enough resources to start this project. When you’re sure about your decision, you can start turning your basement into a functional room.
Decide What You Want Your Basement to Be
The basement finishing will depend on what kind of room you want to turn the basement into. If you want to make it into a studio, you have to consider soundproofing your walls. For a bedroom, you have to consider if you’re going to attach a bathroom.
Attaching a bathroom has its own issues. You need to consider how to install the fixtures, how to build the drainage system, and how to add ventilation to release the moisture inside. Fortunately, there are always ways to go around certain problems.
For example, you could use an upflush toilet with it’s an external tank and discharge pipes to easily connect to other bathroom fixtures and to your drainage system or septic. You can add in a macerating and grinding pump, like the powerful Sanicubic 2 pump, to break down solid wastes and prevent certain toilet problems from arising in the future.
You can turn your basement into any space you want—a children’s playroom, an extra bathroom, an entertainment room, or a workshop. But you need to make sure that you have the space and the resources for it.
Assess Your Basement
After you’ve determined what kind of room you want the basement to be, your next step is to assess the area to know how much room and the conditions you have to work with. If you have a large space, you can turn your basement into multiple functional rooms. But if you have a small area, you need to create a plan or design that can maximize your space.
You also have to assess the state of your basement to determine how much work it will need. The assessment will provide you with the data you need to thoroughly plan your renovation.
Plan Your Renovation
Write down all the work you need to do on your basement, from installing the flooring to adding lighting fixtures. You have to have everything outlined to make sure you don’t miss any work. You should also create a blueprint of your basement to guide your renovation.
Home improvement projects can quickly drain your bank account, so you should also prepare a detailed budget plan for your basement renovation.
Secure the Necessary Permits
Any sort of construction work on your house requires a building permit, except cosmetic interior upgrades and small repairs or replacements. You will need a building permit for any work that involves major changes to your house’s structure and mechanical systems.
If you’re working with a contractor, they will usually deal with securing the necessary permits from the local building department. However, you have to contact the department yourself if you’re working independently. Requirements for building permits vary from region to region, so it’s better to consult the official sources to make sure you have everything prepared before you apply.
Don’t neglect your building permit if you don’t want to compromise the appraisal of your home. If you don’t have a permit for your basement renovation or remodeling, the appraiser will not factor in the room in evaluating the value of your home. In case you need to borrow money for your project, the lender will ask for your building before they can approve your loan.
Get Rid of the Moisture
Moisture is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, issues you’ll face when renovating or remodeling your basement. Because of the location and the things kept inside (e.g., water pipes and HVAC system), it’s natural for the basement to be damp.
It’s not ideal to be exposed in a cloistered, damp environment like the basement. It can have a negative impact on your health. Plus, dampness encourages the growth of mold, and mold can put you at risk of getting of upper respiratory tract symptom, coughing, and wheezing. Check the level of contamination in your basement with an accurate mold detection kit to figure out whether you need to call a professional or not.
Moisture and humidity are also harmful to your things, especially wooden furniture, electronics, and paper materials. They cause wood to expand and deteriorate and metal to rust.
Before you can turn your basement into a functional room, you need to get rid of the moisture first. Deal with all the existing moisture and their sources in your basement (e.g., washing machine, humidifier, leaking pipes, and damp floors).
Next, seal the cracks on your walls, and waterproof the room. Insulate your basement from top to bottom to prevent moisture from coming in and to preserve the temperature in the room. Finally, you should create a system to drain water and moisture inside your basement.
Your basement can function as more than a storage space for your piping system or HVAC system. It can turn into an entertainment room, an extra bedroom, a wine cellar, or a playroom. By renovating your basement, you get an extra space that’s far from the hustle and bustle of the house, and you increase the value of your home if you decide to sell it.
But make sure to think thoroughly and assess your resources before you make the decision. With the inherent problems of basement areas, the costs of finishing and renovating your basement can quickly add up. Create a detailed plan and budget for your project, and stick to them. Finally, install long-term solutions to avoid future problems and costs.