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How to Plan a Basement Renovation Project

10.23.2013 · Posted in Home Improvement

Gain Finished Living Space in your Home by Renovating Your Basement

If your basement is free of water and moisture issues and has sufficient headroom height then it is a candidate for renovating. A finished basement is the perfect solution for creating finished living space for room such as a recreation room, home-gyms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and man caves.

Before starting basement renovation project it’s vital to assess and make any prerequisite repairs to the basement that could lead to moisture issues down the road. Make sure to check the floor and foundation walls for cracks and seal any with epoxy sealer.  To test for moisture issues tape a several small pieces of plastic onto the basement slab floor in a few places. Seal the edges of the plastic swatches with tape to ensure an air tight seal with the floor. After 48 hours inspect the plastic pieces for moisture trapped beneath them. If you see any you’ll need to seal the concrete slab floor with a waterproof sealer. Once you’ve solved any basement moisture issues you can then move on to your basement renovation plans.

Vital to any basement renovation project is proper planning. Consider what you want to accomplish in your finished basement, e.g. what type of rooms. Then assess your budget to determine how you’ll finance the construction. Use home design software to compete a sketch and design of your finished basement. Also write down a complete list of building materials so that you can accurately price out construction project. Even if you plan to use a general contractor to manage the construction it’s essential to go through this planning phase. Your detailed planning will help to guarantee you acquire accurate quotes from remodeling contractors.

One of the critical decisions you’ll need to decide upon early in the project is the type of finished basement ceiling you want. Do you want a drywall ceiling or a dropped ceiling? Drop ceiling tiles allow access to plumbing pipes and electrical wires located up in the upper level floor joists, however, drywall provides a more finished ceiling look. Also, you should plan on including mechanical rooms with wide doorways in your basement remodeling plans to access and replace items such as furnaces, electrical panels, and oil tanks.

Basement lighting is another important topic in your renovation plans. Basements can be dark and dungeon like if they are not appropriately lighted. If your basement doesn’t include windows and/or a walk out door, make sure to include plenty of electrical lighting to make sure you have warm and comfortable lighting in the finished basement rooms. You may want to think about using numerous recessed ceiling lights in your plans. Also if your basement has framed knee walls as part of the basement exterior walls think about installing additional windows.

Flooring is another important item to think about when remodeling a basement. Concrete slab floors have the tendency to be cold. If you have sufficient headroom in your basement you may want to consider installing a subfloor using a crib network of 2x4s laid on their flat edges and rigid foam insulation installed in-between them. With a crib subfloor you actually install a wood floor in your finished basement if you so choose.

If you’re considering installing in your finished basement a bathroom, wet-bar, kitchen or other type of room that will require plumbing, you’ll also need to think about having to cut up the concrete slab floor to install plumbing drainage pipes. In addition, you may also need to included a pump-up ejector system.

Also make sure your renovation plans include the use of drywall resistant to moisture to prevent mold concerns. You may also want to think about using metal framing studs.

Once you’ve completed your renovation plans you can then move on to the next step in the project of finding the right basement remodeling contractor. Once the contractor is secured you can then move forward with the actual renovation. If all goes well, within two to three months of starting your project your renovated basement should be finished.

About the Author: Over the past 25+ years Mark Donovan has been involved with building homes and home additions. For more information about basement renovation visit and his DIY Home Addition weblog.