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Basement Remodeling Ideas and Tips

Basement remodeling can make a home more comfortable, along with adding hundreds of usable square feet to a home.

This is especially advantageous for families that need room to expand and do not have the money or yard room for an addition to their home.

This home improvement project is more cost effective and easier than most home additions; an unfinished basement already has a floor, walls, and roof.

Remodeling Ideas: Suggestions for Use

The following are a few ideas for basement remodeling projects:

  • Home Theater – is one of the most popular ideas, because the room can be transformed to provide a realistic movie theater experience with a flat screen TV and sound system.
  • Home Office – many people work at home today and typically have difficulty carving out a quiet space in a home. A basement is ideal for this and it also solves the home office tax deductibility problem.
  • Family/Game Room – this type of room provides a place where the whole family can get together.
  • Bar/Entertainment Room – basement remodeling for this type of room provides an excellent room for entertaining during inclement weather and winter months.
  • Workout Room – this is ideal for those who want a dedicated room for exercise equipment, without sacrificing space in the home.

Design Tips: Things to Consider for Comfort

These design tips should be followed to avoid budget, safety, and comfort problems.

  • Contractor – if hiring a handyman or contractor, it is essential to ensure they are reliable, qualified, and certified for the job.
  • Radon – check for radon gas with self check kit or hire a professional. Installing an air ventilation system typically corrects any radon problem.
  • Energy Audit – it is important to conduct an energy audit of the basement before remodeling to identify all sources of energy gain or loss, so problems can be corrected during renovation.
  • Emergency Exits – check local building codes for size of windows and what qualifies as an emergency exit from a basement. If the basement remodeling plan includes a bedroom, it cannot be consider a basement for reselling purposes without emergency exits that meet code requirements.
  • Windows – if no windows exist or existing windows are small, add or enlarge windows to allow as much natural light into a finished basement as practical. Some people are known to have psychological problems when cut off from natural light for long periods.
  • Flooring – use tiles, linoleum, and area rugs. If a carpet gets wet, it is more difficult to dry in a basement. Remember there are still ways to get water in a finished basement such as an overflowing bath tub, clogged toilet, and clogged dishwasher.
  • Artificial Lighting – the more the better and especially important if there are few sources of natural light.
  • Heating and Air Conditioning – although a basement is naturally warmer in winter and cooler in summer due the earth that surrounds it, additional ventilation is needed for comfort. Ensure the remodeled basement has its own thermostat.
  • Suspended Ceiling – installation is essential for access to electrical, plumbing, and ventilation for both the basement and upper floor.
  • Horizontal Design – this design element emphasizes the width and length of the room. Lay tiles in a diagonal pattern so the finished basement feels wider.
  • Bathroom – an extra full bathroom or at least a half-bath is considered essential to keep from having to run up and down the stairs when nature calls.

Waterproofing: First Step in Remodeling

Waterproofing must be accomplished before finishing a basement. Most basements have a tendency to leak water; however, this problem can be controlled or eliminated. Signs to look for include:

  • Mold/Mildew – even if not visible, it is there when a musty odor is present.
  • Damp Spots on Walls – these may indicate that water is wicking through basement walls into the basement.
  • Cracks in Walls – although water may not be evident now, water may eventually leak through the cracks.
  • Rust on Appliances – any appliances, heater, or furnace with rust is an indicator of a damp basement.
  • Sump Pump – if one is installed, ensure it is properly sized, works, and has a battery backup.

If any of these occur, they must be corrected. In many cases, covering the walls with a good concrete waterproofing sealer may fix the problem. Another cause may be poor air circulation, which can be corrected with adding a basement ventilation system. Waterproofing with a water powered sump pump can help keep your basement day and free from mold and mildew.

Just like renovating any room in a home, basement remodeling has its own challenges. However, these challenges can be overcome when the home owner considers what they need to know about home improvement. The good thing about basement renovations is that any existing problems are exposed and the budget will not be rocked by sudden surprises.

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