Finishing a basement is a great way to add livable square footage to your home without having to build a new addition. And while finishing a basement often seems like a DIY job, there are aspects of it that require expertise from professionals. To help you started, we’ve rounded up 9 essential tips for finishing a basement.
1. Consult Professionals
Before you start the basement project, consult a few professionals. If you’re unsure of the specifics of the space, it’s not a bad idea to have it inspected. Before getting started make sure you are up-to-date on codes for basements, as most need to have at least seven-foot ceilings to meet regulations. You will also want to hire a professional heating contractor for duct work.
2. Design Strategically
When you’re designing the basement space, consider putting any bedrooms you are adding around the perimeter of the basement to ensure that they have a window. But if your new basement space is going to be used primarily for TV-watching and gaming, it’s okay if you don’t have much natural light in those areas. (And there won’t be any glare on your screens!)
3. Insulate Pipes
Basements tend to be colder than other levels of your home, so while the pipes are still exposed, add foam insulation sleeves to prevent heat loss and condensation.
4. Fix Moisture Problems Before Adding Walls
The biggest issue with basement spaces is moisture. Before you put walls up, make sure any moisture issues are taken care of. You certainly don’t want mold growing within your walls because of moisture.
5. Choose Flooring Carefully
Hopefully you never experience any leaks in your basement, but since basements are the lowest level of your house, be careful when choosing flooring. Many homeowners opt for tile or laminate flooring that looks similar to wood flooring in their basements. While carpet has its advantages (like warming up the space), you’ll want to make sure there’s no chance of flooding before installing carpet in a basement.
6. Invest in Lighting
Most basements lack natural light, which makes the lighting you add to the space even more important. You probably need more lighting than you think, and nice light fixtures can go a long way in making your space feel more inviting.
7. Add Food & Drink Storage Space
Basements often become a gathering spot for watching games or shows, so adding a space to store food and drinks is a great convenience to think about. Even if you don’t have room for a wet bar or mini kitchen, adding a small refrigerator for drinks and cold items and few cabinets or drawers for food storage can make a big difference. (Plus, who wants to carry food and drinks for a watch party up and down the stairs?!)
8. Install Egress Windows
Part of basement building codes requires the installation of egress windows. Egress windows are windows that allow people to escape in the case of an emergency.
9. Leave Space for Storage
The one thing that people often miss after finishing a basement is the storage space the unfinished basement used to provide, so don’t forget to leave a space in your basement for storage. With a few shelves and cabinets, you won’t have to completely give up storage space — it’s the best of both worlds!