Finishing your basement can add a lot of square footage to your home. Besides creating extra space for your family, it’s one of the few home improvement projects that could increase your home’s value more than it costs to complete. Whether you’re doing it as an investment or just for the extra room, keep these cost-saving tips in mind.
Keep What’s In Place
If your basement already has walls, electrical work or plumbing, keep those in place. Plan your finished basement to incorporate what’s there, rather than replace it. This can result in significant cost savings because you neither have to tear anything out nor rebuild what was already standing.
— Sarah Mirk (@sarahmirk) January 8, 2014
Avoid Electrical and Plumbing Work
Electricity and plumbing are complex enough to require a professional. This means shelling out serious funds to have it done and may result in needing some kind of permit on top of everything else. If possible, incorporate your existing plumbing and wiring into the finished basement. If what’s down there isn’t up to the job you have planned, keep the work as minimal as will be safe and functional.
Remember: It’s a Basement
A finished basement should be a comfortable family space, work room or storage area. It shouldn’t be a place you show off. Use vinyl or an inexpensive composite floor, not Spanish tile or hardwoods. Install cheap but functional fixtures. Sheet rock and paint will be fine for the walls. As much as you can, choose inexpensive options when it comes to materials.
Open Space Is Best
A single, large room is often the best bet for a finished basement. If you want a family room, there’s space for a pool table or general horsing around. If you want a workshop, a large room is excellent for big projects. By finishing it off as one large space, you avoid having to build extra walls and hang extra sheet rock. It eliminates the need for extra power outlets and lighting and keeps flooring nice and simple. A single, large and simple space means real cost savings as compared to many smaller rooms.
Before going to your local hardware or home improvement center for supplies, try finding recycled materials. Most metro areas have a recycled hardware shop where you can find interesting, used and inexpensive features. If you know a contractor, see if he has pieces left over from a project he’d be willing to sell you at a discount. Check your own garage (and basement) for hardware left over from other projects.
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