We’re excited to introduce a new blog series on the topic of basements, that will run over the next few weeks. Everything you need to know about finishing your basement, from start to finish. Late summer and fall are great times to remodel your basement – the weather is still nice enough to make the project easier on you and your remodelers, plus your new basement can be done in time to cozy up for winter!
This week we’re going to focus on preparation. Good preparation will make your basement finishing project much more efficient and help you avoid snags along the road. Here are a few important first steps as you prepare to remodel your basement:
The Design Factor: What do you want your new basement to look like?
- Planning is key, and a good design layout will be a huge help in the long run. Start by deciding what will go where. We highly recommend hiring a designer to create the plans.
- Identify where the main living / recreational area will be; often for the most direct access it will be a large opening at the bottom of the stairs.
- Keep in mind that you’ll probably want your TV-viewing area to be in a darker spot, away from natural light, to reduce glare.
- Bedrooms will need a window, so they should be located at the perimeter of the space.
Inspection & Repair: What can you fix ahead of time?
- Test for moisture and identify what moisture-resistant steps need to be taken before finishing the basement (more on this next week).
- Check for rot and insect damage as well as sagging boards and foundational cracks.
- Test for Radon (an odorless cancer causing radioactive gas that can seep in through surrounding soil) and check your home’s ventilation system to ensure that you won't have carbon monoxide buildup below grade.
Codes: What specifics need to be met to make your project happen?
- Make sure your contractor and designer are aware of current local codes, such as ceiling height, electrical requirements, and stair measurements, and include these in your design plan.
- Keep in mind that an egress window (a full sized below-ground window) is likely necessary for any official bedroom spaces.
- Determine what type and how much insulation is required for your basement project. Poly spray foam insulation is a great choice, as it also works as a vapor barrier while providing insulation.
Now get that preparation underway! Start dreaming about your new basement and take the initial steps to make it happen. Not sure how you want to utilize your basement space? Here are some ideas for making creative use of your basement.
Stay tuned for new tips in upcoming weeks on the basement remodeling process! (Jump to Part 2 - Designing a Dry Basement here!)