Things to keep in mind before renovating your basement

Things to keep in mind before renovating your basement

Basements are quite an important part of your house; they are not just for storage or laundry. Today, many people are using basements for offices, guest quarters, etc. If you have decided to renovate your basement, you need to do some homework. Before you start remodelling your basement, here are a few things that you should consider.

  • Worth of your home: basement renovation can be quite costly. However, the cost of the basement remodel will depend on how much work you need to do. If you do not have ample disposable income, make sure not to over-improve your basement.
  • Examine the structure: many buildings happen to have structural issues, and often, you can see the signs of that from inside or outside your basement. So, before you start with your renovation project, it is always recommended to examine every inch of your basement. To examine the structure, you should look for cracks in the walls and floors, puddling water and slow leaks, and also for sagging ceilings. Most of the signs can be fixed. However, it is always suggested to get the structure examined by a professional and possibly by a structural engineer. This will ensure a safe, long term and cost-effective solution.
  • The kind of water you are dealing with: if you have your basement situated partially below ground, you will have to deal with the moisture. Most of the basements are built on a concrete slab that is directly in contact with dirt; the wetness can seep up from the ground and can move through the porous concrete. This can result in mild humidity to inch deep puddles. If you happen to have a crack in your wall or a weak seal around an exterior window or door, that can even lead to big potential problems.
  • Keeping in mind your town requirements: many cities have to follow building codes even for a basic basement renovation. These codes can define everything from the height of your ceiling to the width of your hallway. Before the renovation, you should always pull your permits. Whether you are doing the renovation yourself or you are hiring it out to a professional contractor, make sure that you have all the permits with you.

Space you are working with: in most cases, ceiling height can be a make or break element for your basement. It is a general idea that the ceilings in the basement must be a minimum of seven feet tall. However, you should check with your local building code as well. There are a few ways to make a basement ceiling higher like digging out the existing floor and lowering it, raising or replacing existing structural beans. If your house has low ceilings, you should try to make them look high as possible. You can do this by avoiding ceiling fans and installing recessed lights rather than flush or semi-flush mount fixtures. You can also dress the windows with curtains or sheets that are hung near the ceiling rather than the window frame; this will create an illusion of taller ceilings.

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About the Author: Angelique Chrisafis

Angelique Chrisafis is the Guardian's Paris correspondent. She is responsible for churning out quality articles based on her research while keeping an eye on the tech world. She likes technology, gadgets, and food. Works as an individual contributor to the team.