Remodeling a basement is great way to create an additional space without paying the price of adding an addition. Basements are a great location for home gyms, theaters, cellars or even an extra apartment complete with a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. Remodeling a basement can take 12 to 16 weeks and depending on the amount of work a professional’s help may be required. The desired outcome of the new space will determine the skills needed to see its creation. For example, creating a home gym requires adequate air conditioning and circulation. Whereas, creating a wine cellar just needs a dark and dry corner. However, every basement starts off the same with the same preliminary remodeling needs. Below is a homeowner’s guide to getting started on a personalized space.

Cracks & Leaks

Before starting on the actually construction of new space, it is important to prep the area to avoid any potential of future problems. Basements tend to be the dampest areas of any home. With plenty of moisture and cool air, basements are often frequented by mold and mildew. These can be very damaging to the health of family members and anyone around them for long periods of time. To fix and prevent excess moisture, it is important to repair cracks in the foundation and stop leaky, sweaty pipes. Minor and hairline cracks in the floor can be fixed with a foam injection or concrete filler. If the cracks are bigger or spread across the entire foundation, a professional should be called in to help with the project. Getting any cracks and leaks taken care of will save on money and help prevent future disappointments.

Insulation

The nosiest eyesore of any basement is the furnace. Its noise could put a damper in any sleep schedule or theater event. If the new area is noise sensitive and potentially located close to the furnace, consider walling it off with insulation. This will help trap its heat while buffering the noise. It is, also, important to make sure the furnace is large enough to heat the remodeled area and keep the environment comfortable. Keeping down energy costs and maintaining a comfortable temperature, insulate the walls of a basement.

Lighting

Adequate lighting has everything to do with a space’s atmosphere and appeal. Basements are naturally dark places. Providing as much natural light as possible will help make the new area more inviting. If the basement has its own outdoor access, French doors or another window heavy entrance will help supplement natural lighting. If windows and doors are not enough, littering the walls and ceiling with lights is the next best option. Canned lighting works well in basement ceilings and doesn’t obstruct what may already be a tight height situation. Creating a warmer and more modern space, basement walls work well with sconce lightening.

Layout

Unless planning a wine cellar, brewing station or home theater, it is important to keep the new area close to any natural light sources. Brewing stations and storage facilities can be kept in the dark and even close to the noise of the furnace. This allows them to actually help insulate the noise that may be a nuisance for other areas. If a kitchen or bathroom is in the plans, they should be located directly beneath the house’s already existing plumbing. This layout will help keep new piping to a minimum and labor requirements down, saving both time and money. Any floor work that accompanies a bathroom or kitchen should be mapped out and completed while the entire floor is being subjected to any needed repairs.

Support Posts & Ceilings

Unless incorporated into the design, a basement’s support posts can be the second biggest eyesore next to the furnace. If the new area requires wall construction, these posts can potentially be buried into and made invisible by the new walls. Posts that cannot be buried can be made to fit in by designing the new space around them and providing a new coat of finish. Basement ceilings are usually finished with either dropped tiles or drywall. Dropped tiles provide easy access to electrical wiring pipes. However, they cramp the height of the area. Drywall ceilings do not greatly impact height requirements and they appear more finished. However, with any drywall ceiling it is important to plan access doors. These should be carefully placed beneath any important pipes and electrical boxes.

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