We love all our renovation and remodeling projects, but there are few projects more satisfying than a basement renovation. Between adding hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of livable square feet to a home and turning a dark, overcrowded eyesore into something beautiful, this is a project that is truly satisfying. But before you jump headfirst into a basement renovation, here are five things to consider.
Basement Renovations: 5 Top Considerations Before Getting Started
Layout can be one of the biggest considerations in a basement remodel depending on the size of your basement, your budget and what your intended use for the new space is. Do you want a full renovation, complete with a guest bedroom, bathroom entertainment space and bar? Do you only want to renovate part of your basement? How much of your basement will you continue using solely for storage? Do you need additional room for an in-law suite? How about a separate entrance?
Each of these factors can drastically change the scope or design of your basement remodeling project. A good design-build firm can talk you through your intended use for your basement remodel, and suggest ways to maximize your current square footage for your needs.
Ceiling Height and Lighting
Some basement ceilings were built at normal living height, and others…less so. If your basement ceiling is already very low or feels cramped, you’ll have to get creative with how you make the space feel open and livable. Digging deep window wells can make the room look taller and add in tons of natural light so the space doesn’t feel too cave-like. Recessed lighting won’t intrude down into the space, and will still give plenty of head room and light.
If you have low basement ceilings, it’s not the end of the world. A great design-build team has plenty of tricks up their sleeves to make sure your space never feels oppressive or uninhabitable by the six feet and over crew.
This consideration should go without saying, and yet, we’ve seen enough disasters to warrant saying it anyway. Never do a basement renovation without going through all the proper channels for codes, permitting and inspections. One reason homeowners skip this step or ignore it is because they’re afraid that this step will uncover or expose deeper, more expensive issues.
And that is absolutely a possibility. Safety, however, is an imperative with a basement remodel. If there are foundation, plumbing or electrical issues on this level of the house, it can not only destroy your basement, it can cause serious issues throughout the rest of your home. So never skip, cheat or fudge things on this step. Even if you do uncover pricey issues, they’re still less expensive than your upstairs bathroom falling into your newly renovated entertainment room because someone missed a leak.
(Bonus tip: a reputable design-build firm will handling codes, permitting and inspections for you, and will even stake their own reputation on getting it exactly right.)
Mold, Moisture and Mildew
Basements are highly susceptible to mold, moisture and mildew issues. Between being underground and near all of the home’s plumbing, mold, moisture and mildew can easily ruin a basement (and the things you keep down there), whether it’s finished or unfinished.
In the early stages of your remodel, it will be extremely important that these issues are remedied immediately. You may need a professional company to come in and destroy mold or mildew damage before you build, or put up a vapor barrier in your space, or fix leaks, cracks or plumbing issues. These issues left unchecked could potentially cost a pretty penny, so if you’re worried there’s a problem with mold, mildew or moisture, you may want to build in extra funds into your budget.
Temperature and Weather Proofing
Along with dampness, basements tend to run cooler than the rest of the home. If the only reason you’re remodeling your basement is to have a nicer, neater storage space, then sure, skip the added HVAC cost. If you’re like most folks, though, you’re remodeling your basement for the extra living, sleeping or entertainment space. That means you’ll need to be able to control the temperature and make sure that wind, rain and snow have zero effect on your newly renovated space.
There are lots of ways to tie in the HVAC for the upper floors into the temps needed for the basement. And there’s ways to do it so that you don’t need to take up a ton of extra space for it. Baseboard heating units can save some room and not take up visual real estate while keeping you toasty. Split units are becoming very popular for the way they can heat or cool one room or zone at a time (and they’re very efficient, to boot). We’ve even remodeled fireplaces or added beautiful stoves or decorative heating elements to basements for an added practical and aesthetic touch.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t spend all that time and money on your reno and then find it’s uninhabitable in the cold winter months or too muggy during the summer.
There are many other things you’ll have to consider as you start your basement remodeling project, but that’s where a great design-build firm comes in. They’ll help you with your project from start to finish and make sure you’re enjoying your new space as quickly as possible.
Remodels, Renovations and Additions in Columbus, Ohio
Dave Fox is an employee owned company who makes our clients our number one priority. We design and build basement remodeling and renovation projects for our clients in Central Ohio and deliver the best value through exceptional craftsmanship, excellent materials and ethical business practices. Contact us today to learn more!