No doubt about it, finishing out a basement goes a long way toward adding valuable living space to a home. How you want to use this space is up to you: as a playroom, an extra bedroom, a home office, whatever you have in mind. But when it comes down to the finishing of a basement, it is always wise to have a plan in mind before you ever pick up a hammer.
Budget for Professional Services
Obviously, what you decide to do with your basement area plays a major part in the planning stage of basement finishing. For instance, if your intentions are to include a wet bar, you will need to take plumbing needs into consideration, which you will also need to do if you plan on putting in a toilet or lavatory. Or, if you are planning a basement workshop, you will need to keep power usages in mind, such as the need for 220 outlets.
If your wish is to have a home office, you may want to install extra lighting. For plumbing and electrical work, always call on the services of a professional. Even if you do manage to slip by the notice of your local building inspector and avoid a fine, you may very well do yourself a grave disservice or even endanger the safety and health of your family by not having these types of projects performed by licensed professionals. Do not worry, there are still plenty of ways you can save money doing things yourself in the finishing of a basement.
Take Moisture Into Account With Flooring Choices
All basement finishing planning should entail addressing moisture issues. Since water always runs to the lowest area, it is almost a sure bet you will encounter some type of water build up in a basement, whether it is simply damp walls or a full-fledged problem that includes standing water on the floor. No matter what you end up doing in order to overcome water or dampness issues, many professional basement remodelers suggest installing a plywood sub-floor over the existing concrete floor.
This way, if you do ever have water pooling on the basement floor, it will be on the concrete and not on the floor you actually use. You can then cover your sub-floor with whatever type of material you wish: laminate, vinyl, tile, carpet, etc. If you do decide to go ahead and use your original concrete basement floor, always use something other than carpet. If the basement ever floods or holds water, you will wind up ruining the carpet and having to install the entire floor over again.
What Comes Next
So after you have got your plans down in writing, cleared out your basement, moisture-proofed it, installed a sub-floor, and at least have a good lead on a professional electrician and plumber, you can now begin with laying out the basement walls, framing them and the ceilings.
You next will want to attend to the electrical and plumbing needs. After that, install insulation and a vapor barrier. After you install the drywall, tape and bed, sand, and the prime and paint that, you can then move on to the fun part: decorating.
Your flooring, whatever you choose, comes next. Then it is time for the baseboards and trim. Move in new light fixtures, lamps, furniture, rugs, and whatever you choose to hang on the walls and voila! You have now got a great new living space that not only will increase the value of your home, but also the quality of your time while living in it.
See Also: Waterproofing Basement Walls