For some people, the basement is just a place for random ‘stuff’. But it has the potential to be so much more, and if you are looking to increase your livable space, refinishing this room can be the perfect way to accomplish this. Whether you are looking to create a man cave, play room for the kids, sanctuary, or place to entertain, there are some core considerations that must be addressed to render a successful remodel. Here are just a few such matters:
Basements are notorious for suffering from all manner of water damage, and before you pour money into a remodel, you want to make sure there aren’t any lurking water issues that could wreak havoc down the line. Check exterior walls for moisture; the ground should slope away from the foundation walls. Clear out the downspouts, or you could welcome a lot of moisture into the basement. You don’t necessarily have to put the entire project on hold, but if you find water coming through the foundation or slab, and you haven’t pinpointed the source yet, leave that space untouched for now. It can be tempting to just ‘cover it up,’ but that will lead to all sorts of issues from moldy insulation to ruined flooring.
The basement is usually ground zero for most of a house’s mechanical systems, and before you start a total remodel of the space, think ahead to any future projects you may be cooking up. Chances are, you are going to have to get back in there for one reason or another, and if you have already remodeled, you run the risk of undoing at least some of the work. For example, if you are planning on doing some work to your kitchen, put a few electrical circuits into the floor system now; if a new bathroom is in your near future, set up the supply and waste lines now.
Most basements were not built with the idea of a living space in mind, so you may be working with low ceilings, or wiring, piping or ductwork that hangs low. You have a couple of options. You can dig down to increase space, or you can relocate the ductwork, piping,etc.. You should meet with professionals for an evaluation of your options.
Now that you are turning your basement into a bonafide living space, you want to make sure there are no hazardous materials that could endanger the health of you or your family. Asbestos was commonly used in sealing the seams of ductwork in older homes; if your house was built before 1978, there is a good chance there is some lead paint hanging around. Your contractor can help you identify any potential problems, and you can have samples analyzed at a lab to be sure.
Remodeling a basement is an exciting prospect for increasing the livable space in your home, but it can be one of the more complicated remodeling projects there is. Following these four tips can lay the foundation for a successful re-do. Just remember to think things through, and be patient with the process.
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