Every year, thousands of homes are built with unfinished basements. While many homeowners are happy to use this space for storage, the dream is usually to finish the basement someday and turn it into a living room, more bedrooms, or a media room. A basement remodel is 50% less expensive than an addition and less intrusive. It seems simple to just add some walls, carpet and finishes; however, there is more to a basement renovation and many steps are forgotten or turned into mistakes.
Here are 4 common basement renovation mistakes:
Mistake #1: Not having a real design for a basement renovation
It is important to plan your basement renovation and have a real design. Even though it seems simple enough, the most common basement renovation mistake is to not give it proper thought and investment in a professional designer or architect to help determine the flow of the basement design. If you are going to remodel the whole basement you could use the space more effectively with a good floor plan and design. A professional designer may also have some solutions for some of the challenging aspects of the design such as ceiling heights and flooring space. Some basements have what look like design obstacles you will have to work around, when a professional architect will know the tricks and options to solve the problems.
Mistake #2: Not waterproofing the basement beforehand
Anytime you are working with a structure below ground level you have to think about water intrusion. If there is any sign of existing water intrusion (i.e. water stains, condensation, rust, mildew, mold, etc.), then you will need to handle the current water problem and prevent any future water issues. Basement waterproofing contractors can help you prep your basement to be renovated. You never want to miss this step. Tearing out a water damaged finished basement is every homeowners nightmare.
Mistake #3: Treating the basement the same as above grade
The basement is inherently different than the upstairs spaces. Because it is below grade and usually made of concrete the temperature varies differently than upstairs. Also the water intrusion potential increases dramatically. Even if you have a basement waterproofing system it is smart to have water resistant materials in the basement. Avoid carpet and choose water-resistant wall board for the wall finishing. If there is a flood upstairs or a serious storm that floods the neighborhood, gravity will naturally pull it downstairs. Water-resistant finishes are just another level of protection against basement floods.
Mistake #4: Not having the proper egress
According to the residential code you need the proper egress for any livable basement. If you don’t have the proper egress when you remodel the home inspector will definitely let you know, which could result in fees, work orders and a schedule delay. Proper egress windows are easiest to install during the early stages of construction. Also remember egress involves waterproofing as well so it is important to involve a basement waterproofer to make sure the egress windows and doors won’t leak.