Having a basement to convert can unlock a great deal of potential, giving you tons more living space and can save you from having to move to a new house if your family is expanding but you love your home or neighborhood. There are so many uses for a basement that deciding what to do with yours can be exciting but here are a few things you may want to consider before moving ahead full steam:
#1 What do you Want or Need?
We’d all like a home movie theater or personal sauna but that might not be practical. You’ll want to invest in the space to get the best possible use from your basement so important decisions about needs and wants should be covered in the first instance. Do you regularly have family over to stay? Do you need a guest bedroom? Do the kids need a playroom or could you do with another bedroom? Are you desperate for a private gym or wish your teenager’s friends had somewhere sound proof they could listen to their music? When you have worked out the best use for it then you can begin to put together some designs.
#2 Find Out if There is Damp
If there is evidence of damp then this will need to be fixed before any renovation work begins. This will improve your insulation in the long term. Try to install non-organic wall and floor coverings so as not to encourage the growth of mold. Due to the high humidity in basements, certain materials like hardwood or carpeting can go moldy. It’s also important to remember that you may need a dehumidifier and good heating and cooling distribution. Check the water table levels in your neighbourhood and ask a specialist to take soil samples to avoid any future risk of flooding. Any possible structural problems will also need to be addressed beforehand as your foundations need to be solid.
#3 Your Budget
An endless budget to meet our every desire would be great but sadly, most of us will have to make decisions about what we can afford and what we can’t afford to include in our renovation plans. Basement conversions are one of the cheapest remodeling projects that you can do to your home which is good news. Do plenty of research to get prices for different products or finishes that you like, look in magazines or consult a professional contractor to get an idea of cost before going ahead. The last thing you need is to get carried away and end up vastly over budget.
Discuss plans with your family and make lots of notes and plans before committing to any long-term investment. The great thing about a basement conversion though is the significant resale value if will add to your home.
#4 Power Options
Down to the nitty gritty details – you will need to maintain access to electricity and plumbing for whatever purpose you have in mind for your basement. Consider that a ceiling will hamper your ability to reach wires and pipes but a suspended ceiling doesn’t look great. One solution is to build a drywall ceiling but with easy to reach access panels so you don’t compromise your access. Due to high levels of moisture underground, it’s also vital to protect any electrical wiring through proper sealing to prevent short-circuit issues.
Of course, creating a space under street level means it could be pretty dark and gloomy. If you want to increase the amount of natural light then think about making any basement windows much larger. The walls might not be strong enough to take the additional load of adding windows and in this scenario, there are clever things you do with artificial lighting to brighten the room such as recessed lighting and using lamps.
Track lighting is another effective method. It doesn’t take up any floor space like lamps and is simple to install. This type of lighting can also include different levels of light such as spot lighting for highlighting a particular fixture and ambient lighting using pendants. A combination of different styles of lighting will suit different areas of your basement and will depend on the purpose of your basement space.