Here are some basement renovation ideas that can definitely save you money, help you create a cosy n' comfy place for entertaining; or to add an extra living space for family, friends, and relatives; and even, as a source of residual income for rental purposes. Whatever the reason or need, consider these important facts before you renovate and perhaps even over-spend!
The biggest problem and expense most basements have in common; again, depending on the age of the home and its construction has to do with water penetration, creating moisture conditions, resulting in unforeseen expenses. Keep in mind that most basements are below ground; and as such, are affected by a number of problems or construction related deficiencies that are part of its foundation or lack thereof. That's your first need to know, before spending any money on a basement upgrade, like a remodel; or, even a new complete basement renovation; do your due diligence, just to be safe.
Get your basement inspected for possible moisture or foundation related problems first; whether you have an existing finished basement or not; and, whether you suspect moisture or not. No matter if you just bought a brand new home in the subdivision, or have been living in an older home for some time; get your basement inspected. Why? Because it may very well save you tens of thousands of dollars now or in the future; when all your hard work and basement renovations must be removed and redone due to moisture penetration from underground, creating mold and mildew damage to your property, and especially to your families health.
Included in any inspection should be a check of the grade surrounding the home; poor outside drainage factors can cause leaks into a basement, during heavy rains or heavy ice thawing conditions. At the same time, have the waterproof professional's scope your basement drain with a video camera to discover any cracked or clog pipes below your basement flooring. Most waterproof professionals these day's have many high tech instruments that can detect moisture behind your basement walls, as well as even under your concrete flooring. Once you have determined that no water is getting into your basement from any source, and your drain is intact and flowing freely, this is the time when you can feel confident about not wasting your money on a project that may have a few unexpected costly surprises.
The height of your basement is more than a practical matter. Some municipalities have minimum height requirements that make it illegal to rent or to use a basement for living purposes, if there is not enough head room space from the floor to the ceiling. Check your local codes and policies first. And, if you do not meet the requirements, or just desire more space, and would like to dig your basement deeper; then you should consider something in the trade called underpinning. A term used to describe a process of digging out sections of a basement at a time, usually around 3-4 foot areas; so as to keep the building load above it stable and structurally supported; then, alternating the filling of the dug cavities with concrete, in order to support the weight of the home, as the lowering of the basement wall by wall progresses, continuing around its entire perimeter. This can be a very costly procedure; please consider is it worth it?
If you currently have an unfinished basement with a concrete floor and a ceiling filled with piping, wiring and ductwork, you need to consider the pros and cons of a suspended ceiling vs. one dry-walled. With a suspended ceiling you will have easy access to all your mechanicals; once it is dry-walled, you must remove and replace drywall in the event of future problems, or any necessary inspections. Additionally, with a suspended ceiling you lose a bit more height to floor space; whereby with a drywall ceiling, you can make it run tight to the lowest mechanical; and gain a bit of head space.
The most important lesson to be gained is that you know before you go. Know exactly what you will be getting into with a basement renovation even before you begin this renovation. Take all factors into consideration, and not just the costs of the Reno. Every home is also a huge financial investment. Treat it as such; protect yourself and your investment through-out the renovation by getting insurance on every phase of its development; against damage, theft, fire, accidents or injuries, to yourself or property during this construction. The experts would agree, you can never be too safe.
With any basement renovation there will be lighting and electrical work needed to create functional and practical lighting in the rooms and other areas as needed. The Reno may require an electrical upgrade to your existing electrical panel; including, preparation and planning for outlets and lighting fixtures to where they will be needed the most. Most experts agree that an electrical inspection should also be considered before any basement renovation. Getting a licensed and accredited electrical company/contractor to inspect the wiring and your basement plans, can save you even more money. At the same time, you can be confident that what you are planning on doing is electrically safe and sound.
Consider opening up selected areas of your basement with natural sources of light; by increasing the size of existing windows, doors, and by finding other ways light can get in from the outside. These days, there are many mechanical lighting options, from LED, to fluorescent, to spot lights, to track lighting, to just plain regular light bulbs, with your standard table and floor lamps. As a homeowner, your research of what you need and want with regard to your lighting in your basement will count the most in the final ambiance you choose to create. Most lighting experts concur, that lighting creates both atmosphere and mood within any surroundings. What kind of mood do you wish to create?