The basement can be a gold mine. After all, gold is usually buried, is it not?
When done right and as part of expanding the livable space of a home, the basement can be a treasure trove of potential. A large space could add a bedroom or two plus an extra bathroom, or a smaller space can be used for laundry or as a “man cave” or entertaining area. You really are wasting potential if it is just a storage space. To that end, allow us to make some suggestions of steps you can take to renovate your basement space.
Always sketch out your ideas in your basement. Don’t ever go in blind, and understand your basement well in terms of where windows are located, where the open space is with natural light, and also the darker areas. If your space is large enough to house multiple rooms, utilize some of this information to help put your plan together, such as putting a TV room in a darker spot to reduce glare, and put bedrooms on the perimeter so they have windows, and the area with the most natural light and is the brightest spot can be the main socializing area.
Before you do anything, make sure you check for moisture, cracks and other issues with the foundation and walls, and check joists and other supports for sagging, rot or other issues. Also check ventilation and any fuel-burning appliances in the basement to make sure there are no noxious gases building up. Make sure any and all issues are addressed, or your basement work will be for naught. And if you are doing plumbing or electrical work, make sure you get the required permits.
Check your municipal codes to make sure you have the right amount of clearance in your basement, and be prepared water by having a sump pump available – and a backup, battery-powered one should there be a power outage.
Seal up all cracks and leaks around the basement, and if you are putting in plumbing pipes, insulate them first before covering them in drywall. Insulation keeps heat from escaping hot-water pipes and prevents condensation on cold-water pipes, which can affect drywall.
Because basements get a lot of moisture, it makes more sense not to use standard drywall in the basement. There is special drywall for basements and moist places that is stronger than standard drywall and very resistant to mold. In addition, insulate your studs with what is called a vapor barrier and use a type of foam insulation to further protect walls from moisture.
If you want separated rooms, use full walls sparingly. Basements don’t have much light in them, so you would hate to shut off whole parts of the basement from the little light available. Use half-walls or sliding doors as partitions, and use support columns as part of the design to enhance the space.
This applies to any mechanical equipment (water heaters, boilers, laundry appliances, etc.) that might be in your basement. After all, these things will need maintenance and/or repair, and humans have to be able to get to the equipment. Think a three-foot perimeter.
Remember that basements are all about moisture, and some stylish flooring would be a disaster in a basement. Try vinyl flooring that is made to look like wood; it’s fashionable looking, good against moisture and much vinyl flooring has a warranty of up to 20 years. Another option is synthetic-fiber carpeting, which can be useful to deaden excessive noise if your basement will have a play area or gaming area for kids.
There are ways to soundproof your basement so you can minimize the noise that travels up through the thin basement ceiling. There are a couple of different approaches, so ask around for the best advice for your needs, but the key is to keep drywall and joists separated from each other a little bit so there is less vibration, and thus less sound travel.
Basements are dark places, so be prepared to have more lighting in the basement than in any other room of your house. Minimize dark spots except in the area where your TV will be located.
Whether it’s the window wells or the height of your stairs leading from the upstairs, take nothing for granted. Make sure everything is to code, and use quality and good-looking materials to finish the job. And if you are planning an entertainment space, don’t forget to allow for a mini-fridge, some cabinet or drawer space for snacks, a microwave and a tray to transport goodies or dirty dishes.
Using these suggestions as a guideline, you can do a basement renovation efficiently and relatively easy. It’s a time-consuming and expensive job, but the work can be well worth it as long as you do things in the right order. Even if you plan to do it yourself, always have a professional on hand for advice each step of the way.
For sound advice and guidance, or even professional help in renovating your basement or providing some design ideas, contact WISA Solutions today for a free consultation for your next basement renovation and let us help you with turning your basement into the ultimate entertainment space!
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WISA offers the best value in exterior and interior remodeling in Northern Virginia, thanks to our efficient design/build approach and competitive prices. With a Class A building license, we are able to execute any type of remodel, from to-the-studs renovations to wall removal or bump-outs. Our design and remodel teams take care to involve you every step of the way to ensure that the final product is a home you will love for years to come.
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