Basements are an immense advantage to homeowners, but most people don’t take the time to make the most out of this area. After all, an unfinished basement feels dark and gloomy, so it’s best to use it as a storage room. However, converting a basement into a cozy space is a smart move to expand your home’s livable square footage. Not to mention, a basement remodel can increase the overall value without compromising the exterior features. Recent price estimates reveal that the average cost of remodeling a basement is about $18,400, according to a report on Bankrate. Like any other home improvement project, finishing a basement requires careful planning. Below are a few considerations when remodeling a basement.
The size of your basement, how you intend to use the space, and your budget will have a significant impact on the layout. So, before you can start remodeling, ask yourself if you want a full basement renovation with a bathroom, guest room, and entertainment space. Perhaps you want to renovate a specific part of the basement, create a separate entrance, or make extra room for storage.
To get a clear picture of your basement layout and plan for a functional space, you need a floor plan. Designing basement floor plans helps you incorporate all the design elements you desire and avoid functional mistakes. With this in mind, lock the dimensions using 2D and 3D plans so you can visualize how the space will appear after incorporating interior design elements like lighting, furniture, and art decor. You should also add stairs, dedicate space for storage, and determine whether you want a day-lit space or cellar.
Maintaining your home’s structural integrity is something you don’t want to overlook when finishing the basement. Therefore, inspect the foundation, walls, and floors for cracks. Keep in mind that even a small crack can cause water penetration, leading to more serious problems like flooding, bowed walls, sagging or uneven floors, bug infestation, and mold growth.
To prevent the dangers cracks pose to your home, you need to seal them immediately using high-quality sealants. For example, you may use quick setting cement to seal cracks on concrete floors and slabs. Caulk and crack sealants composed of latex, polyurethane, and cement are ideal for fixing wall cracks as they are waterproof and provide an airtight seal between construction materials. Epoxy, concrete resurfacers, and patching compounds are other ideal sealants for fixing foundation and wall cracks in the basement.
Whether your basement is finished or unfinished, it is likely damp and musty, which can be unpleasant for human habitation or safe storage. To make your basement warm and welcoming, identify effective ways to manage moisture in your home. Note that moisture levels vary from one region to another.
For example, humidity and moisture levels in Alaska, Indiana, and Louisiana are higher compared to Arizona, California, and Nevada. Likewise, moisture-related problems and solutions vary based on the climate in each region. Sealing cracks, fixing leaking pipes, running air conditioners, and placing plants indoors helps control moisture in basements in California and other areas that experience low humidity levels.
But in areas with high moisture or humidity levels, like Indiana, Alaska, and Florida, homeowners must consider an additional layer of protection. If you live in Indiana, for example, consider foundation and crawl space repair, basement waterproofing, and installation of a proper drainage system. Plumbers specializing in sump pump repair in Indianapolis also recommend proper installation and maintenance of sump pumps.
Adding a sump pump to your basement is an excellent move to mitigate flooding and water damage. Typically, plumbers install sump pumps in a basin or sump pit carved in the basement floor. Since the basin has a series of valves to detect rising water levels, the sump pump channels water out of the home automatically. This helps reduce flooding and minimizes mold growth, dry rot, and structural damage.
Compared to other rooms in your home, basement ceilings are lower. For this reason, you need to get creative to make your basement feel open and livable. For instance, you can dig deep window wells to make your ceiling look higher. This trick also allows the flow of natural light so the basement doesn’t feel like a cave. Installing artificial light fixtures is another great way to make your basement inviting and functional. With the low ceiling height, you need to choose your lighting option carefully to ensure you have plenty of headroom while maintaining bright spaces.
Ideal lighting options for basements include recessed lighting or can lights, down lights, and high-hats. You could also install task lighting to illuminate a specific task. For example, you can hang pendant lights in the basement kitchen or place chandeliers over gaming tables or dining areas. Indirect lighting can help highlight art collectibles and architecture or set the mood. Examples of indirect lighting are wall sconces in the TV or gaming zone, rope lights inside shelving units or behind a bar, or a small light fixture hanging above a piece of art.
Besides being damp, the basement is always cooler than the rest of your home. It is, therefore, crucial to plan for the installation of an HVAC unit. With HVAC in your home, controlling temperature and ensuring rain, wind, and sun don’t affect the comfortable vibe of your basement becomes easy.
There are several ways to integrate your heating and cooling unit in the upper rooms and basements to ensure you don’t take extra space. For instance, placing baseboard heating units saves space while keeping you warm. Meanwhile, split units are an excellent choice for homeowners who want to heat and cool one room at a time.
Remodeling a basement opens up unlimited opportunities to add comfortable spaces for spending quality time with family, gaming, and sleeping. However, to make the most of your basement, you need to plan carefully. Start with a design layout, then inspect for cracks and seal them with high-quality sealants. Next, manage moisture and water leaks by installing a sump pump and fixing damaged plumbing fixtures. Also, install the right lighting fixtures and HVAC unit to regulate temperature.