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Remodeling a Basement: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

There are a number of key things to consider when remodeling your basement. Keeping your head on your shoulders and not getting too stressed out will go a long way.

Though there are many large homes build everyday, many homeowners can’t afford to buy a new house that offers adequate living space. If you have a large family living in a very small space, tensions can run high often between the kids, the parents, and even the pets because people often can not get away when they feel they need to have some space and time to themselves. Those who have a basement may toy with the idea of making it a living area to help add to the living space of the home. However, there are a few things to remember before diving into remodeling a basement.

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Many older homes have basements if you can call them that. Nothing more than a hole with some concrete and paint, they leave a lot to be desired. Some newer home if not all of them have a basement roughed in but not finished. Builders want to keep the costs down and leave the basement finishing to the new owners. Often basements are not included when they are constructed to save money.

However, older homes almost always have them in some form or another. The problem with many of these old basements is that they were not built to be living spaces; just dirty holes with rain water storage. Some basements have dirt floors, mold problems, and many of them leak water during heavy rains. All issues to challenge even the most seasoned contractor. Let alone a novice homeowner. All this means is the remodeling of your basement should be considered a project that requires time and planning ahead of any work to be completed. You have to be sure your investment is not washed away with the first heavy rain storm hits.

If you know you have water problems, you have to take care of those before you start remodeling a basement. This is not always easy. Often this critical step is not always affordable. There are times when it is nearly impossible to do it. Some older basements have stone walls that are pieced together with mortar. Those walls routinely have water running through them and it is difficult to make this type of foundation water tight. Even if a little bit water continues to trickle in over time, you will have mold and soggy carpet problems.

Newer basements are more secure and are generally build better but even some of them have major problems due to settling of the ground around the house. If you suspect or know you have problems, have someone come in and tell you the probability of fixing things right so you can continue with your plans for remodeling the basement. A few dollars and a couple of weeks to get issues corrected right from the beginning will alleviate many expensive corrections down the road. No one wants to rip apart a new sheet rocked wall to fix a condensation problem when that could have take 10 minutes and a few feet of plastic to fix. Think the entire basement remodeling effort out from the beginning. Think like a project manager or contractor and divide the work out into phases.

Once you are sure you will not have water problems, you can start your endeavor. However, remember that a basement is underground. There can be problems with ventilation, light, and heating. You may want to start remodeling a basement on your own to save money. But if you really don’t know what you are doing, you should find someone to advise you before you begin. This is especially true for the electrical work and wiring. There are strict building codes related to electrical design. This particular area it is often better to higher a professional. The small cost of this will be worth it if you can avoid some of the common problems some have when remodeling any part of the home.

Remodeling a basement can be an expensive venture. The last thing you want is to find all of your hard work and hard earned dollars have gone to waste. You find you have nothing to show for it in the end if you end up going willy nilly into the project without proper planning upfront. It is never wasted money to ask for expert advice when you lack the experience to do it right. It is true you can save money by doing some of the easier things yourself. In the end, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing the water issues, electrical design, or plumbing are sound if you have a professional take a look.

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