You’ve gotten rid of those out of date clothes, old fashioned ways of thinking and outdated technology gadgets. Isn’t it about time you did something with those outdated basement finishes as well?

There is often an ongoing debate about which one is scarier: the basement or the attic. If your basement has become the stuff of horror movies, then updating your basement space is probably overdue. You can start with your outdated basement finishes.

9 Facts to consider before updating your basement space

 

1. What is the current condition of your basement?

Before updating your basement space, you may need to take care of some bigger issues. Problems like uneven floors, damp walls or an oversized furnace might have to be dealt with prior to any renovation or updating. You might even have a staircase that is out of code. The solution might involve unclogging your gutters, adding spacers on stairs, sealing cracks in the foundation or investing in a sump pump. It doesn’t make any sense to create a beautiful basement that will fall down around you.

2. Avoid organic materials.

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, more than 60 percent of homes with basements have moisture issues. This can lead to mold or rot so it must be taken care of before you refinish. You might find it helpful to know that mold growth is most likely to happen on organic materials. While natural materials might be good for the environment, they are not ideal for updating your basement. Therefore, you should not use plywood subflooring, wood studs or drywall. It’s best to find waterproof refinishing materials. An experienced contractor will know to install heavy gauge plastic sheeting before finishing floors and walls to prevent excess moisture and humidity.

3. What type of products should you consider?

For moisture-resistant walls, you can use Styrofoam wall panels. You can then panel or drywall the area. These typically come with pre-cut spaces for electrical wiring. There is also Thermal Dry flooring, usually made of PVC plastic to eliminate any threat of mold. You can find them in styles for any look you are trying to achieve, such as tile, carpet or laminate. For your ceiling, think about faux-tin ceiling panels for a unique look. They allow for easy access to wiring or plumbing while also being visually stunning.

4. How will your updated basement space be used?

If you are creating a bedroom, remember that it needs to have a window in order to be up to code, so it must be placed somewhere along the perimeter. To fashion a TV viewing space, media center or video game room, look for the darker areas of your basement to reduce the chance for glare. Selecting the right storage options is also crucial, as you don’t want something so big that it blocks foot traffic or airflow. Think about sliding doors, screens or half wall dividers to section off various spaces for different functions. Additionally, make sure you leave enough space for any activity you envision. For example, a pool table will need plenty of space for people to walk around it and maneuver the cue stick. Today’s video games require physical activity. You don’t want anyone breaking bones (or your big screen TV) while enjoying your basement.

5. Lighting is important.

Many basements are dark and spooky. This is especially true if your basement doesn’t have any windows. To combat this problem, choose your lighting carefully. Recessed lighting is a popular option because they can shed light in a cone shape for increased coverage. You may want to space them close together to prevent those creepy dark areas. Wall sconces can add charm and you can find them in a huge variety of styles and finishes.

6. The right furnishings can set the tone.

Leather chairs and dark wooden tables can create a more masculine vibe while floral prints and textured accessories may give a more feminine or airy feel. For kids’ space, something like large chalk boards and colorful cubby holes will make them feel comfortable and right at home in their new basement space.

7. Make sure you have the proper permits and licenses.

For a major update, you might have to get approval. Some people think that just because it’s their own house or the changes are not visible from the outside that they don’t have to have anyone’s permission. They might also be trying to save money since there is often a significant tax increase when you expand your living space. Not to mention that the paperwork alone can cost hundreds of dollars. In addition, major upgrades may add to the square footage of your home and if this is not reflected in the paperwork when it’s time to sell your house; buyers could be spooked, thinking that something shady is going on. Neglecting this step can be costly. If you are caught updating your basement space without the proper permits, you may be forced to tear down all the work that was done and start over. So in the long run, you will end up paying more if you skip the process that you would by doing things right.

8. Think about noise control.

If you want to convert your basement into a fabulous playroom, that’s great. Just remember that other people live in your house. Having the guys over to watch the game at night might mean you are disturbing the kids sleeping upstairs. To do this, you can insulate the basement ceiling, use acoustic tiles or get sound deadening attachment clips.

9. Who will do the work of updating your basement space?

Some minor projects, like changing the cabinet fixtures in your downstairs bathroom can be seen as a DIY project. For a major remodel or update, it’s time to call in the professionals.

For a professional, finished look, you need the experts. They can install an entire modular system which will include the proper flooring, walls, ceilings, and finishes. In many cases, the work can be done in several weeks’ time.

Give the professionals, like Tandem Contracting, a call. They have the knowledge and experience to look for those things you don’t think about, such as your ventilation system and floor joists. This will ensure that your updated basement will be safe, durable and enjoyable for your family for years to come.