Mistakes to Avoid Before Finishing Your Basement
So you’ve decided that you want to finish the basement and make it a usable space. Great! It will be one of the most rewarding projects, both functionally and financially. Make sure you run through this quick checklist of things to do before you start:
Deal with any moisture problems before you even get started planning. If you can’t correct the moisture issues in your basement, there won’t be a renovation. There are lots of possible solutions to take advantage of, including better downspouts and gutters, sealing paint, drains, and more. Dehumidifiers can help. If you aren’t sure how to correct the problem, hire an expert to solve the problem before it gets worse.
One of the mistakes that people make when finishing their basement is forgetting to make sure that there are enough power outlets. Nothing is more frustrating than having a huge beautiful basement with only one outlet. Plan your power needs and have a proper number of outlets installed early in the process.
It’s not a good idea to put too much insulation on the walls. You will also want to avoid insulation, like fiberglass, that’s absorbent. It will hold moisture, grow mold, and generate lots of problems later. Use foam board or closed cell spray foam to keep moisture from getting trapped behind the wall.
If you build a wall around your fuse box or water heater, you’re going to significantly increase the cost of repairs when those things need to be serviced. If you want to cover equipment and access point, plan on putting in doors, even if those doors are hidden and made to look like the rest of the wall.
Putting cheap floors in a basement is flirting with disaster. If the basement floods, which is unfortunately very common, you might have thousands of dollars in flooring repairs. It’s better to use vinyl flooring or commercial carpeting that can withstand a bit of abuse from flooding.
Ignoring the window frames in your basement is a really bad idea. Make sure that your windows have a good seal and that they will keep moisture and creepy-crawlies out. You don’t want to find out after you put up sheetrock and paint that the windows leak during a hard rain.
Don’t forget to add style. Ceiling fans, enhanced lighting, custom paint or wallpaper can make the room much more desirable. Many times, people take the time to finish their basements but don’t make it comfortable enough to want to be down there.
Basements can be cold, even in the middle of summer. Ensure that there is a sufficient heating system in the room. Needing to use a blanket every time you have movie night will get old fast. You can use baseboard or forced hot air heat; just make sure that you account for the new living square footage as you plan your room.
A finished basement can significantly expand the size and usability of your home. Making it very comfortable and useful is simply a matter of planning well. Take the time to put the room together right and you might find it’s the most used room in the house.
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