Throughout most of the country, the basement is the room in the house that gets the least amount of attention. Yet, for many homeowners, the basement has so much potential. With so much room, basements offer infinite possibilities for homeowners looking to add extra living space, storage, or even a home office or gym.
Before you can start planning your dream basement renovation, there are a few things you need to take into account. This guide will cover everything you need to know about redoing your basement, from waterproofing and insulation to flooring and layout.
There are plenty of reasons you might want to redo your basement. Here are a few of the most common:
If your home feels cramped and you're longing for more living space, consider finishing your basement. This can be an especially cost-effective way to add living space, since you're starting with an existing structure.
Depending on the size of your basement, you could end up with an expansive new living area. For example, if your basement is the same size as your home's ground floor, you could effectively double your living space by finishing the basement.
A finished basement can be the perfect spot for new home additions such as a gym, pool table, entertainment area, or any kind of recreational area. If you have kids, a basement playroom can give them their own space to play and explore without taking away from the rest of your house. Some homeowners even add home gyms, bowling alleys, or indoor pools to their basements.
If you build out your basement to make it livable, you could rent it out as an apartment or in-law suite. This can be a great way to bring in extra income, especially if you live in an area with high rental demand.
Before you start planning your basement rental, though, make sure to check your local zoning laws. Some areas have restrictions on renting out basement space due to safety concerns. When remodeling your basement, you should also consider what elements it would need to be considered livable space, such as a kitchen, bathroom, and separate entrance.
A finished basement can also increase the resale value of your home. On average, a basement refinish adds about 70% of the project's cost to the value of your home. If you spend $20,000 on your basement remodel, you could see an increase of $14,000 in your home's resale value. Of course, this will vary depending on the quality of the finish and the housing market in your area.
If your home is lacking storage, a basement can be the perfect solution. You can add cabinets, shelves, and closets to store everything from holiday decorations to out-of-season clothes.
You could even build a wine cellar or basement workshop for all your hobby supplies. Just make sure to keep your basement storage dry and free of mold and mildew so that these things don't end up ruined.
If you’re ready to start planning your basement renovation, here are a few steps to take before you begin:
The first thing you'll want to do is check your basement for any signs of water damage. Look for cracks in the foundation, peeling paint, or any other evidence of moisture. If you find any water damage, you'll need to address this before you start your renovation. Otherwise, you could end up with even more damage or mold growth.
If you're not sure whether your basement has water damage, it's a good idea to get a professional inspection. A qualified inspector will be able to tell you whether there's any damage and what needs to be fixed. They can also check for things like mold, mildew, and asbestos that you might not be able to see. Once you know what needs to be fixed, you can start planning your repair and renovation.
There’s a good chance you'll hire contractors to help you with your basement renovation. Before you do, it's a good idea to have a basic plan in place. Start by deciding what you want to use the space for. Then, sketch out a rough layout of how you want the finished space to look. This will give contractors an idea of what you're hoping to achieve and help them give you an accurate estimate.
After you've created a basic plan, it's time to start getting estimates from contractors. When you're meeting with contractors, be sure to ask about their experience with basement renovations. It's also a good idea to get multiple estimates so that you can compare prices and find the best deal. Once you've found a contractor you're happy with, you can start planning your renovation in more detail.
When you're ready to start your basement renovation, choosing the right contractor is important. Here are a few things to look for:
It is also best to have a contract outlining the project's scope of work and cost. This will help ensure that both you and your contractor are on the same page and there are no surprises down the road.
The process of renovating your basement takes a few steps:
The first step to any basement renovation is ensuring the space is properly waterproofed and insulated. This will help protect your home from water damage and keep the space warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There are a few different ways to waterproof your basement. A few of the most common are:
When it comes to insulation, there are a few different options. The type of insulation you choose will depend on your climate and budget. Some common types of insulation are:
Once you've waterproofed and insulated your basement, you're ready to start framing.
Framing is one of the most important steps in renovating your basement. The frame creates a stable structure for your walls and ensures that they will be strong enough to support the weight of your finished basement.
Your contractor will use wood or metal studs to create the frame, depending on the type of walls you have installed. Metal framing is more expensive than wood but is also more durable and easier to work with.
If you're finishing your basement, you'll need to install drywall. Drywall is a type of wall paneling that's made from gypsum and paper. It's used to create smooth, finished walls. Your contractor will first attach the drywall panels to the studs using screws or nails. Once the panels are in place, they'll use a putty knife to apply joint compound to the seams. The joint compound will help to create a seamless look. Once the joint compound is dry, your contractor will sand it down and apply a primer. After the primer has dried, they'll paint the walls.
The type of flooring you choose will depend on the style of your basement and your budget. Some common types of flooring are:
When installing flooring, your contractor will first need to prepare the surface. They'll remove any old flooring and make sure that the subfloor is level. Once the surface is prepared, they'll install the new flooring. Carpet and vinyl can be installed using adhesive, while tile and marble require grout and mortar.
The ceiling is one of the most important parts of your basement. It helps to keep the noise from upstairs from disrupting your peace and quiet. There are a few different types of ceilings:
When choosing a ceiling, you'll need to consider the height of your basement and the amount of noise you want to reduce. If you have a low basement, acoustic tiles may not be the best choice because they can make the space feel even smaller.
Drop ceilings are a good option for low basements because they don't require as much height. If you're looking for a cozy feel, beadboard ceilings are good choices. If you want a more modern look, drywall ceilings are the way to go.
The electrical and plumbing configurations can be labor-intensive if your basement isn't equipped with them already. Adding an electrical system to your basement will require running wiring through the walls and ceiling. You'll also need to install outlets and light fixtures.
If you're adding a bathroom, you'll need to run plumbing lines for the sink, toilet, and shower. You'll also need to install fixtures such as the toilet, sink, and shower. This will be one of the most expensive parts of your basement finishing project.
To save money, you can try to do some of the work yourself. However, it's important to note that this is a risky venture. If done incorrectly, you could cause serious damage to your home. It's best to leave this work to a professional.
Once the hard work is done, you'll probably wonder how to finish a basement. One important consideration is lighting. Since your basement won't get much–if any–natural light, you'll need to install artificial lighting. There are a few different types of basement lighting:
You'll also need to think about furniture and storage, especially if you plan to use your basement as a living space. Coffee tables, dining tables, chairs, and sofas are all great pieces of furniture for basements. You'll also need to find a place to store things like an entertainment center, books, and games. One final consideration is storage. When it comes to shelving and cabinets, you have a few different options:
You should also feel free to decorate your newly renovated basement however you see fit.
Redoing your basement can be an exciting task that will transform your home, improve its value, and add functionality. With a little planning and effort, you can create a space that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.