Basement Finishing Ideas

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Basement Finishing Ideas

Keep It Dry Check for any water issues in your basement before beginning the planning process. Obvious signs are pools of water or drips coming through the below-grade walls. Check outside to make sure the ground is graded away from your foundation. Also look for cracks in your foundation walls and repair that damage if necessary. Know the Code After you’ve taken care of any moisture problems and have come up with your plan, it’s time to check with your local municipality to see if you’ll be required to get any permits. This is particularly important if you’re planning plumbing and electrical work, which may have to be inspected. Consider the Fasteners Basement walls and floors are generally some sort of masonry, cement, block or brick, and a regular ‘ol nail or screw isn’t going to cut it when attaching framing. You’ll need to get the proper fastener and possibly anchors for your wall type. In some cases, you may need to rent a powder-actuated fastener, sometimes referred to as a shotgun fastener. These are similar to a shotgun in that they use a charge to fire a fastener into concrete. Add a Vapor Barrier Even after taking care of any moisture issues, your basement can become a damp place. You’ll need to add a vapor barrier to both the walls and floors prior to framing and finishing off these surfaces. It’s a good idea to lay down a vapor barrier for a day or two, then check underneath to see if and how much moisture may be coming through before continuing. Create an Offset Space Despite all efforts, even with a vapor barrier, moisture can still be an issue. Create a slight offset from the outside wall by adding thin slats of wood or metal called furring strips. These strips can also be used to help level out a wall that may be “wavy” to create a flat surface for adding framing. Keep Out the Cold and the Warmth In Insulation will not only help control the temperature inside your basement, it may also add another layer of moisture control, as well as help dampen sound from the outside. Choose an insulation that includes a vapor barrier on both sides. Other options include a spray foam insulation. Be sure to check code requirements for this type. Drop Ceilings Provide Easy Access A drop, or suspended, ceiling offers a way to both conceal and provide access to electrical and plumbing lines via the removable tiles. You may have a preconceived notion that such a ceiling will look more like an office than a home, but there are plenty of attractive options available. These ceilings will reduce the amount of overhead space available, so keep that in mind when planning. Give Your Lighting a Recess Recessed lighting in a basement is a good option, because they won’t take up valuable overhead space that a light fixture would. Plus, it’s easy to install with a drop ceiling. Add Some Warmth at the Baseboards Warm air rises, so it makes sense to install heating vents at floor level. Baseboard heating is a good option, but make sure it makes sense for your plan and is easy to tie into your existing HVAC system. For a finished space, you want to make sure you’re not relying on space heaters, so plan carefully. The Utility Room is Not for Finishing Keep the space housing an HVAC unit or units and water heaters clear, open, and unfinished. These spaces have specific code requirements for spacing and framing, plus you’ll need access for inspection and/or repairs. You may be tempted to finish off this area, but keep it simple to avoid problems later.

Basement Finishing Ideas

TBF panels can be installed in floor and ceiling tracks independent of the foundation wall, or they can be attached directly to foundation walls. The system is versatile enough that you can leave a portion of your basement unfinished, or divide the space into rooms, or even erect closets. In addition to various versions of its wall panels, TBF offers a menu of other basement remodeling products, including finished stair kits, drop ceilings, and waterproof flooring. The parent company, Basement Systems, is a nationwide network of waterproofing contractors, so it’s likely that the TBF dealer in your area will be able to help with basement waterproofing, too.

Basement Finishing Ideas

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CODES AND BASEMENT ROOMS Basement rooms can be used for many purposes: laundry, home theater, game playing, hobbies and crafts, and the list goes on. There are many building codes intended to ensure the safety of occupants that apply to all of the above. They include the use of smoke and CO detectors, GFI receptacles, outside combustion air for the furnace or boiler, materials that resist the spread of fire, minimum room sizes, and emergency window well egress. When choosing contractors to work on your basement conversion, find one who has done the job many times before and who is knowledgeable about applicable codes. Do not work with a contractor who says you can convert a basement without pulling permits.

Basement Finishing Ideas

Jason – Great website! Mostly been reading through you electrical section as I am pretty competant in framing. I am starting on a basement finishing project as we speak, and your website has given me a number of ideas, and tips I hadn’t thought of. I appreciate your sense of humor in these posts, its refreshing compared to people who do this for a living, who are overly technical, use a lot of industry jargon, and make their posts/articles/video so dry you can barely read them for 5 minutes. Thanks for the inspiration, and keep the ideas flowing! Adam

Basement Finishing Ideas

Total Basement Finishing (TBF), a Basement Systems, Inc. company, offers a highly impact-resistant cement panel backed by rigid foam insulation. It’s strong enough to support anything you’d hang on a conventionally framed wall. Precut channels make wiring easy. And a linen-look vinyl skin in white and beige covers the finished side.

Basement Finishing Ideas

Jason – Great website! Mostly been reading through you electrical section as I am pretty competant in framing. I am starting on a basement finishing project as we speak, and your website has given me a number of ideas, and tips I hadn’t thought of. I appreciate your sense of humor in these posts, its refreshing compared to people who do this for a living, who are overly technical, use a lot of industry jargon, and make their posts/articles/video so dry you can barely read them for 5 minutes.

Basement Finishing Ideas

While basements get a bad rap at times, if built finished out or remodeled later on, they actually offer a wealth of extra living space for many purposes and activities. For instance, a media room, living room, wine cellar, wet bar, gym, office, playroom, man’s cave, laundry and guest room are all popular choices for basement spaces. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where basements are a commonly built element of most homes, you may just be sitting on a myriad of abundant new living possibilities! We’ve included some of our favorite basement remodeling ideas and images below. Which do you like best?

Basement Finishing Ideas

Hi Doreen – Interesting. I’d never heard of Lemonbest before. Honestly I thought it was a drink, like Tang or something. I checked it out and it looks promising and it does get good reviews. But, I don’t see a lot of the professional basement finishing companies using it yet, so it’s not quite ready for prime-time, in my opinion. It may be a great product, I’ve just never used it myself. – Jason

Even after taking care of any moisture issues, your basement can become a damp place. You’ll need to add a vapor barrier to both the walls and floors prior to framing and finishing off these surfaces. It’s a good idea to lay down a vapor barrier for a day or two, then check underneath to see if and how much moisture may be coming through before continuing.

Basement Pole – Basement poles are unsightly but with a little planning you can turn them into a design asset.  Highlight art, add lighting to the middle of a room, anchor a snack bar.

Here is one of my favorite basement idea, a built in shelves. Slightly embarrassed to show this pic ’cause the basement is mess, but this looks great and was easy to build.

Converting a basement, however, is not without its challenges. Below-grade spaces are subject to water and moisture, two common enemies of home construction. Mold and mildew are also common, and natural light is limited. Overhead pipes and ductwork can add further challenges, and if you didn’t anticipate a bathroom when the house was built, the basement toilet may have to flush up.

DEALING WITH THE WET AND DAMP Before embarking on a basement conversion, get serious about waterproofing. If water periodically wells up between the slab and foundation wall, or there are cracks in the foundation, you will need to call in a contractor or basement waterproofing company for advice. They will be able to tell you whether the source of water is an easy one to stem—it can be as simple as gutters and downspouts not doing their jobs—or whether it’s more serious.

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