All About Finishing Your Basement

All About Finishing Your Basement

Additions and Remodels
Interior Design
By Mateos Glen Hayes October 29, 2021

Finishing a basement can be a very fun and rewarding DIY project for a variety of reasons. Basements tend to be dark, damp, and dust places where your grandpa’s antiques live, but it doesn’t have to be. Refinishing a basement opens up an entire realm of possibilities. With a little TLC, your basement can be transformed almost overnight into anything you can think of: a movie theater, a children’s playroom, a spacious gym, or just another bedroom.

The basement is quite an important structural part of many homes, so refinishing also gives you an important opportunity to check your basement for any possible damage. Moisture is always trying to fight its way into a basement, so it pays to spend some time protecting it against the forces of nature. To get started, there are a few details that should be considered to ensure your basement finishing project is a success.

What It Means 

Finishing your basement can also be called “filling it in” because that’s basically what it entails. To do this you take your standard grey concrete basement and transform it into a living space. This involves making some changes aimed at keeping out moisture, improving ventilation, and adding insulation so that the basement is not too cold or too hot. 

There Are Simple Steps to Follow in Order to Be Able to Finish Your Basement

There Are Simple Steps to Follow in Order to Be Able to Finish Your Basement

Most finished basements have subfloors that help achieve this and allow for almost any flooring material to be added over cold and dull concrete floors. Once a finished basement is completed it may very well become one of the most popular rooms in the house since it is essentially a “special” room that can be anything you want it to be. Because this is a project that can be as involved as you want it to be, the cost to finish a basement varies. The average cost to finish a basement is $18,400, but you can do an affordable basement renovation for just $2,800. By contrast, an all-out professional basement remodeling can crest $34,000.  

Layout

Before starting though you should put some time into planning your finished basement’s layout. For example, opening up the basement to natural light is a great way to brighten things up, and so openings to the outside should be included in the plan. At the same time, if you want to add a television to your basement you’ll need to account for how natural light can produce glare and mitigate this issue by putting the TV in a darker area. 

Natural Light Can Always Be a Great Addition to Your Basement, if Possible

Natural Light Can Always Be a Great Addition to Your Basement, if Possible

A home cinema should ideally be planned in such a way that you don’t have to cross in front of the screen to get snacks or go to the bathroom. If you want to convert your basement into a bedroom, it’s recommended that you put in a means of egress such as a window so that there is a way for people to escape in an emergency. 

Checking Things Out

Part of your pre-project planning should also involve doing a basement inspection. For instance, checking for the moisture is a very important step given just how damaging excessive moisture can be to a basement. You can easily do this yourself by taping some squares of plastic sheeting to the floors and walls and waiting two weeks. If you discover that condensation is forming underneath these sheets this means water is making its way in and your basement needs sealing.

Pay Special Attention and Inspect Your Basement for Any Faults Before Carrying Out Any Type of Work

Pay Special Attention and Inspect Your Basement for Any Faults Before Carrying Out Any Type of Work

You should also check floor joists for sagging, and have a contractor check your HVAC equipment for potential issues. You should also poke beams, joists, window sills, and wooden window frames to check for rot. 

Improvements to Consider 

When considering general improvements to do as part of your basement renovation, you should ask yourself the following question: “what area do I want to improve/fix?”

Waterproofing

If your basement has some minor leaks, you might be able to fix them without a basement contractor having to get involved. Usually, a few little fixes will stop small leaks dead in their tracks. If the piping in your basement has any small gaps or cracks, seal these with a patching compound to keep leaks at bay. Any larger cracks in your foundation or piping should be patched with hydraulic cement, which is designed to expand into a crack as it cures. However, if you find any cracks that are wider than the width of a pencil it’s time to call a structural engineer

Sometimes, Waterproofing May Require a Professional

Sometimes, Waterproofing May Require a Professional

If your basement has a sump pump, get another one. A second pump is good for peace of mind since it means you’ll have a backup if your main pump should fail. To future-proof things further, you can even set up a battery backup so your pumps keep running even if the power goes out. 

Mold & Mildew Removal 

This yucky duo is an unfortunate byproduct of excessive moisture in dark places. They both pose a threat to your respiratory health and won’t do your basement’s structure any favors. They should therefore be removed as soon as possible. If you spot either one, the first thing to do is locate and mitigate any sources of moisture since mold or mildew can always grow back if a leak persists. White vinegar and some scrubbing are natural ways to remove any growth, but you’ll need to invest in some mold-resistant gypsum basement wall panels if you want to get rid of mildew and mold permanently. 

Investing in the Removal of Mold and Mildew Before It’s Too Late

Investing in the Removal of Mold and Mildew Before It’s Too Late

Higher Ceilings 

The average height of a basement ceiling is 7 feet, but some can be rather lower than this which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to make your basement more liveable. To solve this issue you’ll likely have to dig out your basement floor to lower it. This is not something that you can do yourself, so you’ll need to hire a contractor. Lowering your basement floor tends to be rather pricey, so explore the possibility of moving ducts or pipes to add ceiling clearance if you’re looking to save a few bucks. 

Achieving Higher Ceilings in Basements Would Call For a Professional

Achieving Higher Ceilings in Basements Would Call For a Professional

Windows and Staircases

There are two main reasons to invest some time and money into improving your basement’s openings. For one, bigger windows allow for more natural light to come in which is crucial for a space that is mostly underground. Also, bigger windows and staircases make a basement safer as living space because they make getting in and out easier. This reduces the risk of someone tumbling down some rickety steps, but it also means you have options if you need to get out of the basement in a hurry.

Windows Are Not Only a Source of Natural Light, but Can Also Make Basements Safer

Windows Are Not Only a Source of Natural Light, but Can Also Make Basements Safer

Basement Walls and Ceilings  

Walls and ceilings are both quite important parts of your basement remodeling to focus on. Improvements to these two areas can completely change the look and feel of your basement. 

DRICORE SMARTWALL

There’s a lot to love about DRICORE SMARTWALL but its biggest asset is just how easy it is to install. These prefabricated panels allow even a novice DIYer to finish some basement walls in a matter of hours. No need to spend the whole weekend putting up temperamental drywall and cleaning up dusty messes.

SMARTWALL is a bunch of basement wall panels that sandwich drywall and insulation together, only it works much better than your run-of-the-mill drywall ever could. Because it’s an all-in-one solution, once the panels are installed there’s nothing more to do. Your electronics, insulation, vapor barrier, and everything else are all included. 

SMARTWALL Could Be the Investment You’re Looking for in Your Basement

SMARTWALL Could Be the Investment You’re Looking for in Your Basement

Ceiling Soundproofing 

Ceiling soundproofing can really help to keep the noise down in the basement, and that’s an important detail since basements tend to be where the HVAC ducts and pipes are. All that machinery and plumbing can make quite a bit of noise so it pays to take the time and do some soundproofing.

Installing fiberglass insulation between ceiling joists will go a long way towards cutting down on the noise, and some sound dampening pads placed under mechanical equipment will help cut down on vibration. Another basic way to reduce noise is simply to make sure that ducts are not touching each other since these ducts can and will rattle annoyingly when the HVAC unit fires up.   

Fiberglass or Foam Sheets Could Be a Great Noise-Reducing Solution for Your Basement

Fiberglass or Foam Sheets Could Be a Great Noise-Reducing Solution for Your Basement

A Job For The Pros 

If your goal is an all-encompassing basement revamp, hiring a basement contractor is your best bet. The pros can translate all your wishes into precise plans that take into account every aspect of what is needed to make your basement into a livable space. Often, basement contractors have access to nifty modular sets which include basement wall panels, ceiling panels, flooring, and finishes all in one set.  

Hiring a Basement Contractor for a Total Revamp Would Be Your Best Bet

Hiring a Basement Contractor for a Total Revamp Would Be Your Best Bet

MG

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes

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