The key part of basement remodeling happens before you ever even touch a tool. I’m talking about design of course. What you intend to use your basement for will move your design ideas in the right direction. A great method is to brainstorm with your spouse and kids with notebook and pencil in hand. Throw out the ideas willy-nilly and discuss them.
Are you going to use the basement as a home office? Plan on internet, phone, and fax connections. Will it be a game room, family room, or something along that line? You will probably want plumbing for a wet bar and cable or satellite TV connections.
One of the first things you need to assure yourself of is whether your basement space walls and floors are properly sealed against moisture. This is the perfect time to take care of it – before it can become a problem.
When a basement is remodeled it potentially will need the same infrastructure as the rest of the house to some extent. By this I mean wall construction, electrical, flooring, and in many cases, plumbing.
Your exterior walls (the ones on the outside of the house, not the interior partitions you will likely be building) should be well insulated. A common method of framing these walls is using furring strips rather than studs. They are thinner than conventional studs so you will save money here. On concrete walls they can be attached either with a powder actuated tool or by nailing them with cut nails. Then you simply hang your sheet rock or paneling on them.
The flooring is up to you. Carpet is popular, as are vinyl tiles or sheet goods, and laminate flooring. You may mix and match in different areas depending on what the area will be used for.
Electrical is a must when you undergo a basement remodel. Unless you have experience in this trade and feel confident, it is highly recommended that you hire a licensed journeyman electrician. There will be circuits to run and modifications on your fuse box. While you have the opportunity, this is a great time to install extra outlets, especially if your basement is going to be used for entertainment.
In most cases you will have some form of plumbing. It is probably not worth the added effort and expense to install a bathroom unless you are planning to use the space for guest bedrooms or you have very deep pockets! Having said that, chances are you will want basic water lines for a sink in a wet bar or a refrigerator ice maker.
You have a few options in your choice of ceilings. Chances are when you look over your head right now you see rafters or the bottom side of the ground level floor joists. If you are going for the rustic look you can just leave them open. Chances are you will want a more finished look.
The two best selections here are drywall or a suspended acoustic ceiling. Acoustic is the superior choices for a basement remodel. Considering the expense of material and labor you will probably come out better. Plus, they lend themselves very well to air diffusers and recessed can lights. The hanger wire for the grid is nailed right to the wooden rafters.
As you can see, your choices are virtually endless in basement remodeling. And don’t overlook two major advantages – you are doubling or tripling the useable footage in your home and adding equity in your home.
photo by Paul Cutler – CreativeCommons Attribution