How to Plan for a Finished Basement

An unfinished basement offers endless options for upgrading your home and making the most out of this unused space. Many homeowners are finishing their basements to set up in-law suites or home offices in light of the pandemic. Others are adding bedrooms or creating recreational spaces to enhance their home’s value.

Whatever you choose to do with the space, finishing a basement is a big project. Here are some helpful tips to guide the planning process.

Plan Your Layout

The first thing to do when finishing your basement is planning the layout. You’ll need to determine how you want to use the space, and how everything will fit together to bring your vision to reality. It’s essential to take measurements during this phase and come up with a few different options.

If you’re considering substantial renovations, reach out to a contractor to help with the planning process. There could be unexpected limitations based on the existing layout of your home, such as the locations of support walls.

Consider the Flooring

One of the biggest challenges homeowners face when finishing the basement is moisture, especially around the floor. Installing the right flooring option can help seal your basement from moisture and lay the right groundwork for a functional living space.

According to the experts at Those Floor Guys, epoxy is a fantastic option for basements. Epoxy is durable, reflective, and versatile, with several color and pattern options to choose from. Aspiring designers can place area rugs over epoxy to make the room more inviting.

Check Ventilation

Another important step in finishing a basement is checking the ventilation. Consult with an HVAC specialist to ensure proper ventilation is in place and help determine what upgrades or changes need to be made. This step is crucial if your furnace is also in the basement to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.

When you check the basement, it’s also important to test for radon poisoning, as this tasteless, colorless, odorless gas is prevalent in some basements.

Check Permits

Before you start purchasing supplies or investing in tools, be sure to check the permits surrounding renovations and fire standards. Some municipalities require specific window sizes in basement bedrooms and staircases that are up to code.

Understanding these necessary upgrades is a vital part of the budgeting process. Failing to bring these things up to code could invalidate your insurance should a tragedy occur.

Consult an Electrician

If you aren’t working with a contractor to complete the renovations, consult with an electrician directly. They can offer guidance on outlet and fixture placement and give a better idea of the wiring costs.

Consult a Plumber

If you’re planning on putting in a bathroom downstairs, talk to a plumber as soon as possible. Basements are tricky when installing toilets and often require a specialized pump system. A plumber will give you a better idea of how big a project adding a basement bathroom will be.

Inspect the Upstairs Floor

Before you start closing in the walls and ceiling, take this opportunity to examine what’s happening under the upstairs floor. If you’re in an older home, checking the joists, plumbing, and wiring overhead is a must before sealing everything off.

Choose a Ceiling Option

Finally, consider what kind of ceiling you’ll put in place and what clearance you require. A dropped ceiling is affordable and makes it easier to access the wiring and plumbing concealed above. However, this option results in a lower ceiling and isn’t aesthetically pleasing.

There’s much to consider when finishing a basement. Take some time to do your research and fully understand what this project entails before getting started. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals for assistance.