Basement Remodeling

For homeowners looking to add useful living space to an existing home, the basement is an excellent place to start. Many homes have basements that are either unfinished or are in need of updating to make them more functional or comfortable. Remodeling a basement can easily double a home's living space, as well as increasing the energy efficiency of the home. Finishing or remodeling basement space will also increase the value of the home.


Basement Remodel Ideas

There are many uses for basement space. Unused, unfinished, or outdated basement space can be remodeled into lots of fun, useful spaces. These include:

- Family Rec Room: Basements are ideal for creating a fun, comfortable room for the family to relax and entertain in. Add a big HDTV, comfy casual furniture, wet bar, maybe even a pool table or ping pong table and you've got a hang-out place for friends and family.

- Additional Bedroom: If your family is growing, or you are looking to add a guest bedroom or two, the basement is ideal. If you are planning to add bedrooms to a basement space, it's crucial to check local building codes first. Most require that basement bedrooms have adequate exits to the outdoors, including doors and windows large enough for egress.

- More Bathroom Space: More bathroom space is almost always in demand. Adding a full or half bath to a basement (especially if adding bedrooms).

- Additional Laundry or Utility Space: Basements are commonly used for laundry space. Remodeling an unfinished basement laundry space can brighten the room, and take a bit of the drudgery out of an everyday household chore. (We can wish, right?)

- Basement Kitchen or Mini-Kitchen: Adding kitchen space to a basement makes a lot of sense, especially if you're adding recreational space or bedrooms. With a new kitchen (even a min--kitchen with a small fridge and sink) makes entertaining a breeze, and turns the basement into a perfect apartment-like setting for guests.

- At-Home Office Space: More and more Americans are working from home every day. Remodeling an unused portion of the basement can make for a perfect home office.

- Added Storage: Adding built-in shelving or closet space can easily create much more space for you to store items, decluttering other areas of the home.

Finishing Basement Walls

Most basement foundation walls are simple poured concrete; during remodeling, you will want some type of covering to go over the bare concrete in order to give the basement living space a warmer, more inviting appearance. Popular types of foundation wall coverings include drywall, plywood paneling, or simply painted concrete.

If you're remodeling basement space, it may be a good time to add beneficial insulation. Many concrete foundations in homes are uninsulated, which contributes to large amounts of energy loss; uninsulated concrete foundations can also contribute to excessive moisture levels in the basement, leading to mold growth and unhealthy air quality.

For more information on basement insulation and its important benefits for the home, read our article HERE.

Finishing Basement Ceilings

The ceilings of basements can be an unattractive sight; in unfinished basements, ceilings are usually open, showing ductwork and electrical cabling. Older basement ceilings can be outdated, or damaged from years of exposure to moist, damp basement air.

Basement ceiling remodels are done with three basic techniques: conceal everything with drywall or paneling, or a suspended (drop) ceiling. For a less polished look, an open basement ceiling can simply be painted with a sprayer for a more industrial look.

Adding a new basement ceiling is a good time to upgrade the home's efficiency by adding insulation to the ceiling surface (which also happens to be the floor above's flooring). Spray foam insulation improves efficiency and also adds substantial soundproofing.

This is also a good time to add in-floor heating to the underside of the basement ceiling, which creates a more comfortable environment for the living space above, and is easier than tearing up the floor above to add it. For more on in-floor heating, click HERE.

Additional decorative features can be added to add depth or a more interesting appearance, such as decorative ceiling beams.

Choosing the Right Basement Flooring

The basement floor, like the foundation walls, is made from poured concrete. Adding the right type of flooring is important for long-lasting durability. Most popular flooring options will work on a concrete slab, including carpet, vinyl flooring, tile, and paint.

Solid wood flooring is usually not recommended for most concrete basement flooring applications. In a below-grade basement setting, wood flooring is susceptible to shrinkage and expansion, which leads to warps and gaps in the flooring.

If you're looking to add a wood flooring to a basement floor, you can add a plywood subfloor to the concrete slab. Another alternative is to use an engineered wood product, which has the appearance of real wood, but is less prone to shrinkage and warping.

Brighten Up the Basement with Lighting

Many people avoid the basement because it's 'dark and gloomy.' During a basement remodel, adding sufficient lighting will go a long way to brightening up the darkness and making the basement a much more welcoming area. When adding lighting to a remodeled basement, remember to make that lighting efficient. New compact fluorescent and LED lighting technology are able to create a warm, well-lit environment while using up to 80% less electricity than traditional incandescent lights. Read more about efficient lighting HERE.

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