That dark, bare basement of yours holds a realm of possibilities. Maybe it will be your new office, a playroom for the kids, the home entertainment center complete with widescreen TV, pool table, and wet bar, or maybe even a small apartment for your mother-in-law. Basement finishing takes the wasted void beneath your home and turns it into a functional living and working space.
What Basement Finishing Entails
Finishing a basement involves significant investment, planning, and work. You will need to determine:
- A budget
- What the space will be used for
- Any future needs the space might have to fill
- Your project schedule.
You'll also want to decide whether to do the work yourself, hire a contractor, or both.
Basement Finishing: Building Codes and Permits
A typical basement refinishing project entails many structural and remodeling tasks. A finished basement will generally require:
- Electrical and plumbing work
- Framing of walls
- Installation of drywall, doors, windows, lighting, and trim
- Suspending a new ceiling
- Finishing jobs such as painting, installing cabinetry, and laying flooring.
Thus, one key factor to consider before undertaking a basement finishing project is your local building codes. You will be required to obtain building permits and perform work to code. Any basement refinishing that does not meet local building codes can cost you money in the form of fines, tear down and reinstallation, and potential loss of home value.
Water Damage and Basement Finishing
Because moisture and mildew can be major concerns in any basement, most refinishing projects begin by assessing the current condition of the basement foundation and walls, and repairing any problems such as foundation cracks, leaks, mildew and mold growths. Treating a basement for water damage prior to refinishing can be quite expensive and time consuming. Additionally, the standard methods of refinishing-framing walls and hanging drywall-can limit your options if moisture problems occur after refinishing has taken place.
Alternatives to Basement Finishing
One alternative to standard basement refinishing methods is offered by Owens Corning. They have developed a basement finishing system that combines extra insulation and noise control properties into wall panels that install quickly, allow access to the basement walls and foundation, and help prevent mildew and mold by allowing for adequate ventilation. Snap-in moldings hold the panels in place. The panels feature a pre-finished, dent resistant surface. Using the Owens Corning basement finishing system, a basement remodel can be completed in a few weeks instead of several months.
For further information on waterproofing your basement and remodeling your basement see the following articles from HomeDoctor.net: Basement Waterproofing Systems, Waterproofing at Home and Basement Remodeling.