Often do basements become home for boxes, old toys, and put away & forgotten items; the possibilities for the space lost on storage. However, when the potential for this area is finally recognized, homeowners often jump into the idea of finishing their basement without first making some important considerations. So, before you go picking out materials, paint, and making a Pinterest board, we recommend considering the following 6 facets.
- Foundation – When considering a finished basement or basement remodel, you should first address the condition of your foundation. Assess any problem areas or areas that cause for concern first, as foundation and structural issues can be costly and can quickly eat-up any budget you might have had in mind. While minor settling cracks are normal, some can be critical—the last thing you’d want to do is conceal a potential problem that can result in costly expenses and potential hazards down the road!
- Code Requirements & Permitting – As with many remodels, it’s important to know and understand local building codes and permitting. Most towns within Dutchess County will require a permit for finishing a basement, especially if a bathroom and/or bedroom will be added. Additionally, local codes will dictate the minimum ceiling height requirements and guidelines for proper egress.
- Water Issues –Similarly to your basement’s foundation, addressing water issues prior to construction can help save on costly problems that can arise in the future. Be sure to take note of any wet spots, stains, and/or any pools of water that may be present, including on the walls and along cracks. Furthermore, do not neglect mold issues that can/could arise due to water, too!
- Waterproofing – If water is a known issue for your basement, then you’ll want to eradicate the problem with proper waterproofing. Waterproofing in preparation for your finished basement can be done both on the interior and exterior. Outside, divert any downspouts further away from your foundation and be sure to grade the soil to slope away from your home. On the interior, you’ll want to have a well-working sump pump and have cracks sealed. Consider additionally installing a BDry waterproofing system, which will help keep your basement dry & water-free!
- Radon – Running a radon test is commonly overlooked when finishing a basement, however, it’s highly advisable to do. Radon is a natural odorless, colorless gas that is linked to many health risks and is typically present in basements, though it can travel throughout the entirety of your home. If a radon test is performed and is present, the installation of a radon mitigation system may be needed. As one would imagine, it’s easier and more cost effective to have this system installed beforehand, therefore, we recommend having the space tested prior—even if it’s just precautionary!
- Layout – Lastly, consider the layout of your finished basement, taking note of the mechanical room (area must be unfinished) and the location of windows and/or doors. Bear in mind the necessity for having proper forms of egress and fire escapes. Many homes lack egress windows, so it’s vital to know if your basement has them present, or if they will need to be installed.
Finishing your basement not only maximizes your living area but increases the value of your home, too. And while the potential for this space can be limitless, you’ll first want to enlist the help of a professional. We recommend thoughtfully considering these 6 facets before finishing your basement, then giving us a call for when you’re ready to make your basement goals happen!