If you’re looking for some home improvement this season, don’t look out; look down. Your basement has a lot of untapped potential. With proper finishing and waterproofing, you can turn it into an extra bedroom or your dream entertainment room.
Your basement can turn into any space you want, but you should first assess what your family needs right now or will need in the long run. This way, you can truly maximize your basement space. Read further for basement renovation ideas and tips to get you started.
Renovating Your Basement
There are a few things you need to consider before you start renovating your basement. Expanding your living space, although you’re technically building under, still requires a permit. Without one, you may be forced to stop or tear apart your project and get penalized for it.
Think twice before skipping the permit. In the end, tax assessors typically don’t include renovated basements as full living space, so it shouldn’t affect your tax bill too much.
The budget should be the next thing you consider. For a budget-friendly renovation, you should thoroughly plan the scope of your project and be clear about how much you’ve got to spend. You may want to create a renovation budget spreadsheet to keep better track of all your expenses.
Assessing the condition of your basement should be part of the planning process. This will help you determine how much work it will take to renovate your basement. You need to dry the basement first and get rid of all potentially harmful elements in it.
No matter how simple the project, there will be a lot of work, especially if you’re planning to do it yourself. That’s why you have to be committed to see through the project till the end.
Address the Moisture Problem
In many homes, the basement is usually where you hide your heating and ventilation system, as well as drainage pipes, which makes this area very susceptible to moisture. Being underground, the basement is practically destined for dampness, which is not the ideal condition for construction.
Moisture can cause the decay of materials and create the environment for developing mold and mildew, which are harmful to the lungs. That is why you need to resolve the moisture problem in your basement before you can start renovating.
The first thing you need to do is to understand where the moisture is coming from. The dampness in your basement usually comes from three sources: (1) underground water or rainwater; (2) transferred moisture from appliances, like washers, humidifiers, and frequently damp rooms; (3) moisture from the air outside. You have to cut off the source of moisture then fortify your basement.
Remove moisture-causing appliances, and fix leaking pipes and cracks in your basement. You can use dehumidifiers and coat your basement with waterproofing products to remove the moisture, but that will only provide a short-term answer to the problem.
For a long-term solution, an eclectic combination of different solutions, patching walls with hydraulic cement and waterproof coating, insulating pipes, creating a proper drainage system, and insulating your basement walls.
This may sound a lot of work for a simple basement renovation, but it’s better than fixing all the moisture-caused problems you’ll encounter if you don’t address this issue early on.
Basement Renovation Ideas
Once you’ve secured the necessary permits and dealt with the moisture problem, you can start turning your basement into your dream space. If you’re not sure what to do with it yet, try these easy renovation ideas for your basement.
Create an Extra Bedroom
If you often entertain overnight guests throughout the year, why not convert your basement into a guest room? This way, you don’t have to evict anyone in the family from their room or rush to come up with a makeshift sleeping corner.
The extra bedroom will also find its use when you plan to expand your family. You won’t have to move to a bigger house or squeeze your children into one small room.
Expand Your Storage Space
Are you struggling to find space for all the things you’ve accumulated but can’t bear to throw them away? Convert your dark, damp basement into an organized storage space. Finish your basement, install bright lighting, and add shelves and organizers.
Moisture is your biggest enemy when turning your basement into a storage space. Antiques, paper items, and electronics are especially vulnerable to moisture. They can break down or deteriorate quickly when left in a damp space. For that reason, you should thoroughly waterproof your basement before you move all your treasure there.
You don’t need to buy expensive cabinets or organizers. Try out these DIY organizers for a cost-effective way to organize your basement.
Build Another Bathroom
A big family requires at least two bathrooms if you want to keep the peace in the house. With an extra bathroom, you don’t have to listen to the kids fighting over who gets to use the bathroom first. You don’t have to experience the frustration of rushing to answer nature’s call only to find somebody using the toilet.
Your basement is just the perfect place to build an extra (and more luxurious) bathroom. Many homeowners are daunted by the work of installing a new toilet, so they make do with what they already have. Consider using a Saniflo macerating flush toilet, which is designed to eliminate installation of expensive plumbing.
The upflush toilet is ideal for basement and outdoor bathrooms because it comes with its own macerating pump, which can break down solid wastes to avoid clogging, and a drainage pipe, which can connect to your existing sewage system.
Turn It to a Study or Office
Freelancers and remote-working employees need a special place in the house where they can concentrate on their work. The place shouldn’t be too crowded and filled with distractions (e.g., high traffic, loud noises, access to the TV or game consoles). It should be a full-on home office.
This is where the basement becomes useful. It’s underground, so there’s better soundproofing. Most people won’t pass by the area too so there won’t be anyone constantly popping in to disturb you.
After finishing, you can install proper lighting, ventilation, air-conditioning, and heating. Add in a desk, an ergonomic chair, and a few organizers to create your home office or study.
Use It as an Entertainment Room
If you don’t need the extra bedroom, bathroom, or home office, you make use of your basement space by turning it into an entertainment room, where you can chill on your off days or entertain guests.
You can add in comfy couches, a huge LED TV or projector, a billiard table, and gaming consoles. Although the basement has some natural soundproofing, it may be better to still fortify the walls so you can have as much fun as you want without disturbing the neighbors.
Since there will be electronics, it’s doubly important to make sure the area is tightly waterproofed to avoid electrical accidents and malfunctions.
Expand your living space by maximizing your basement. You can convert it into a practical space (e.g., an extra bedroom, another bathroom, and home office) or transform it into a place for fun. Whatever you do with you with your basement, make your to cover the legalities first and tackle the inherent problems of renovating the area.
No one wants to spend more if there’s a way to save money. But you shouldn’t skip the building permit and moisture-proofing if you don’t want to encounter problems in the future that will ultimately cost you more time, money, and peace of mind.
AUTHOR BIO: Chris Jamerson is a writer and a full-time dad. His interest with Home DIY gives him more avenue to explore the easy hacks for a comfortable lifestyle. He shares this passion with his kids and makes it a great way to have perfect moments.