You Need to Read This Before Finishing Your Basement
Finishing your basement can be one of the most rewarding projects for any homeowner. Not only will it add significant resale value to your home, but it will also make use of a large space that was previously being wasted. At 123 Remodeling, our customers are always extremely satisfied after finishing their basement. If you live in Chicago or the surrounding area, call us today for your free consultation: 773-685-6095.
Before you begin your project, there are many important factors to consider. Careful planning will ensure that everything goes smoothly and your new basement turns out great. Here’s a helpful guide of things to examine before you get started.
One of the first steps to finishing your basement is acquiring a permit. If you live in Chicago, your renovations must comply with Chicago Building Code. Some suburbs require permits as well. Make sure to research the rules and regulations before beginning your remodeling project. Acquiring the necessary permits and approval is a must.
The biggest threat to your basement is hydrogen dioxide, more commonly known as “water.” Moisture can have detrimental affects on your basement walls and floors. Excess humidity can also be a problem. It’s important to identify any water problems before remodeling your basement, because it’s much easier to fix these issues earlier rather than later.
Plumbing leaks, sump pumps, and sewer backups are some of the most common causes of water problems in basements. Check your gutters for leaks and make sure to extend your downspouts at least ten feet from your foundation. Also, examine the slope around your foundation and make sure everything is slanting away from your home. Examine inside the basement as well. Look for any leaks, cracks, or other potential water problems.
After identifying potential water problems, it’s time to start waterproofing your basement. A waterproof wall liner is definitely something to consider. Also, you should think about upgrading your sump pump, and potentially even getting a battery-powered backup sump pump in case of power outages.
Hiring a professional to evaluate your waterproofing is a great idea. Once again, it’s important to do everything right in advance because it will be more costly to go back and fix things later on. Not to mention the damage to your home and potential health risks. A thorough waterproofing inspection from an experienced professional is highly recommended.
Now we start getting to the fun part – the actual design of the basement. No matter how well your home is waterproofed, it’s still a great idea to build your basement with materials that are not susceptible to water damage. Typical building materials like wood, fiberglass, and drywall can be ruined if a water problem occurs. It’s wise to consider waterproof walls, liners, and flooring. Insulating your walls with waterproof liner or foam can save money on your heating bill and lower the humidity as well. You still might want to purchase a dehumidifier, especially for the summer.
If the ceiling is lower than eight feed, you should consider lowering the floor. This can be expensive, and it’s not possible in some cases, however it’s definitely worth looking into. You don’t want to go through all the trouble of finishing your basement, only to realize the ceilings are too low. Recessed lighting is also a great idea because you don’t want anything hanging down from your ceiling if it’s already low in the first place.
Basements can get cold. This can be great in the summer, but not in the winter, especially in Chicago. The first step to keeping your basement warm is insulation. Spray-foam insulation is highly recommended because it prevents condensation and creates an airtight seal. It’s also more energy-efficient than fiberglass. Before remodeling your basement, think about how you will heat it.
Basements don’t get a lot of natural light. It’s wise to install many windows that are as large as possible, to get as much natural light as you can. Your basement doesn’t have to be dark and gloomy, you just need to plan a good lighting solution beforehand. Also, think about what artificial light sources you will use. If your ceilings are low, you’ll want to avoid any lights that hang down from the ceiling.
Remember that you’ll have to bring furniture down into the basement once it’s finished. If you don’t have a separate entrance, make sure the stairway is big enough to accommodate your furniture. You may have to enlarge the stairway if necessary. This is definitely something you don’t want to realize after the project is over. Check your measurements before you get started.
Radon is a harmful radioactive gas that causes over 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States every year. Radon is emitted from cracks in the Earth, and can enter your basement through cracks in floors and walls. You can find a radon testing kit at your local home-improvement store. If your home tests high for radon, don’t worry, there are radon reduction systems available that can be included in your remodeling project.
Consider a Bathroom
One of the biggest regrets from homeowners who finished their basement is that they didn’t include a bathroom. Even a half-bath is a great addition. If you’re spending significant time down there, the convenience of a bathroom cannot be underestimated. It can also make your basement a great living area for an adult-child or an elderly parent. You should definitely consider adding a bathroom to your finished basement.
Finish Your Basement
Are you interested in finishing your basement? Do you live in Chicago or the surrounding area? If so, 123 Remodeling would love to help. Get your free consultation today by calling us at 773-685-6095, or click the button below:
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