Some homeowners tend to overlook the potential their basements have. A basement can be more than just a place to hold the unwanted garb from twenty years ago. It can even be more than a utility closet. With some planning, preparation and transformation, your basement can transform from a “could-be” potentially nice environment, to a totally-cool place!
Clean the Space
To begin the transformation, you’ll first have to perform a thorough cleaning of all the surfaces in your basement and use caulking to seal off any cracks or gaps around the doors and windows. This thorough cleaning will prep the basement for finishing and permanent use.
Inspect and Repair
After you have cleaned the space, check the plumbing for water damage and pipe leaks or drips. If you do find moisture, it is best to call upon a professional to find its source and repair the problem.
- If water is leaking into the basement from the outside, look closely for small cracks, holes or damage. If you find damage of any type, quickly have it repaired, and professionally seal and waterproof the foundation-this work will help to avoid further damage and cost. Think of it this way, it is easier to repair small cracks and holes than it is to repair the whole foundation.
- Some homeowners overlook checking the grade of the ground outside their home to make sure it is slightly sloped away from the house; this is done to prevent water from flowing into the foundation when it rains. It is important to have any such problems repaired prior to finishing the basement.
- Check the heating system to be sure it is working well and up to standard. Also, be sure to ask a professional to estimate the cost of additional heating in the basement-if necessary.
- Hire a certified electrician to inspect all electrical connections for fire safety. This is very important for the safety of you, your family and home. An electrician will suggest the best locations for power outlets and lighting fixtures.
- Inspect the flooring. Check the floors to make sure they are level, and remove all old flooring. If the floor is unlevel, the best option is to have it leveled with concrete.
Plan the Space
It is best to hire an architect or builder to design a floor plan for your basement, according to your own personal preferences. The architect or builder will help take the guesswork out of the placement of walls, doors and will take care of those pesky measurements.
Once the plans are complete and the framing is installed, it is time to insulate the room and exterior walls. Don’t overlook insulating the ceiling with a fireproof insulation. Once the walls and ceiling are properly insulated, use sheetrock to cover the walls and the ceiling. Using a thicker sheetrock will act as a noise and fire barrier, and will withstand moisture longer than the standard sheetrock.
Select and Install the Choice Flooring
There are many options to choose from when installing the flooring in your basement, but it’s best to use tiles, as they will last longer. In addition, carpeting has the tendency to attract and hold moisture, as hardwood flooring will buckle and warp.
Tiles will withstand water and moisture, and provides a very easy cleanup. Add area rugs to the space if you are looking to make the new living space warm and cozy. This will provide the comfort level you are looking for while protecting your new living space from the effects of moisture and water damage.