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The Important Factors to Consider When Finishing Your Basement

Whether you’re looking for more space for the kids to play and watch television, or are in need of a home office or space for guests, the space you’re looking for could be right beneath your feet. In your basement, that is. Finishing your basement could be the solution to your need for more space.

But how much does it cost to finish a basement? It depends on what condition your basement is in now, and whether you want a simple finished basement or a more complex design.

For a 1000 square foot basement, simply insulating, adding finished walls, ceiling, and floors is the most basic and can cost from $30 to $50 per SF. That would include basic lighting & electric. If you need water-proofing, or to add more rooms, doors, windows, (an egress window or exterior stairs will be required by code) and your numbers go up. Throw in a bathroom, a wet bar, some built-in cabinetry, or an entertainment system, and this will push your numbers up to $75 to $100 per SF or more. To go for the ultimate basement retreat or man cave, add a home theater, a gaming center, an extra kitchen and bathroom, then the sky’s the limit.

The bonuses of finishing your basement are that the costs of creating new space is reduced for the reasons listed below.

        There’s no need for excavation, adding new footings, and pouring a foundation. The structure is already in place!

      Basement heating and cooling loads can be light and may not require new systems.

      You likely already have stairs leading to your basement (while you might not for your attic, another potential area of the home to finish)

Finishing a basement isn’t always an easy task to take on. But, with the help of a quality design/build team, you can deal with some of the issues—wetness, low light, beams and ducts—that come with finishing a basement, and end up with a beautiful finished space for relaxing, entertaining, and more.

Read on for more factors to consider when finishing your basement:

  1. Wetness

It should come as no surprise, but many basements have wetness issues due to their location below-grade. The solution to this is to pay serious attention to waterproofing your basement. Your design/build team will need to determine what is causing the moisture. (Groundwater? Cracks in the foundation? Downspouts and gutters not doing their jobs?)

Once the reasons behind any basement wetness are discovered, don’t cut any corners having your basement waterproofed. You might need a sump pump, plumbing updates, or a high-capacity dehumidifier. Follow the recommendations of your design/build team. You don’t want wetness to ruin your beautiful, new finished basement.

Talk to your design/build team about the types of waterproof materials that will be used to finish your basement. From flooring choices to wall panels, you’ll need to consider the possibility of wetness occurring. Mold- and moisture-proof materials are worth it in the long run.

  1. Low lighting

You might think of lighting as an afterthought, but many basements lack natural light and can feel downright cave-like unless you have a walkout basement. Recessed can lighting is a good choice for basements because they can easily be placed in the dropped or recessed ceilings common in basements. Track lighting and fluorescent troffer fixtures are other options.

And the ceiling isn’t your only option for lighting—you can also add perimeter lighting. Lighting the walls can make your basement look bigger, and give the appearance of natural light. Consider sconces, fluorescent tubes, or LED wall washers.

  1. Beams and ducts

Basements typically draw the duty of housing all the ductwork to heat and cool your house, and all the beams needed to make it structurally sound. This can make your basement ceiling less than pretty, but there are ways to either hide these necessary elements, or blend them into the background.

The simplest approach is to paint beams and ducts to match the ceiling (or, inversely, paint them a bold color for a playful look). If you have enough ceiling height, you can also box in any ductwork with soffits or framed enclosures covered by MDF or drywall.

If you lack ceiling height, consider swapping out your ducts for wider and flatter replacement ducts to gain some headroom. You can even excavate the floor and drop it down to gain ceiling height. This is a pricey option, but could provide exactly what you need to make the basement a truly great place to hang out.

Whatever work needs to be done when finishing the basement, your design/build team should be able to guide you in the right direction while staying on top of any building codes or regulations that need to be followed.

Ready to finish your basement? Contact us today to get the conversation started.

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