You overheard your neighbor that they just had their basement renovated, and this stopped you from drinking your morning coffee. It’s got you thinking: “Should I renovate my basement too?” Before you jump into the bandwagon, there are a few things you need to know before you go ahead with your basement remodeling.
The easiest way to do so is hiring a basement renovation expert to evaluate your house and your basement. However, there is a simple and easy checklist you can use to check out if you do need to fix and remodel your basement:
1. Counter-check your home with building codes
First, you have to do some research and look into the basic building codes for habitable spaces. They are easily available online, or you can ask your local contractor to check it out. If your basement fits the bill, then you can go ahead and plan on designing your basement.
2. Check your ceiling height
The minimum requirement of ceiling height for a finished basement is seven feet. But just because you reached the minimum, it doesn’t mean you can settle for that. Seven feet is actually cutting it too close, so you might want to do a little bit of digging to increase the height. Besides, that seven feet would still be cut down if you will finish your basement floors. A comfortable height is around eight feet.
3. Check your pipelines
If you plan on expanding your ceiling height, the next thing to check is your floor. Not just the floor, but what’s underneath it. If you are going to do some digging, you have to check out how far you can dig. You don’t want to mess with your house’s foundations, nor the pipes that might be underneath those floors. Hiring a basement renovation expert would be the best call for this step, because they would know exactly how low you should dig and how you could do it.
4. Check for possible reroute paths of ducts
For pipes and ducts that might cause problems during your basement renovation, you will need to have someone redirect them for you. This is also a great help in keeping water and moisture out of your basement.
Check your basement plan, or hire a plumber friend to help you with the rerouting. This could also possibly help you cut down your basement renovation cost, because if you make a mistake and strike a duct, you’ll end up paying for so much more.
5. Check for water and moisture problems
Water and moisture are the worst enemies of your basement, so this step is very critical. If you’re located in an area that receives heavy rainfall throughout the year, you might have to do a lot of work to keep your basement dry. Check for water leaks on the walls, and check your gutters.
Hiring an expert on water works won’t hurt either, since they know exactly how to deal with your water problems. For moisture, basements are prone to moisture build-up so include some moisture-absorbing or moisture prevention on your basement walls and floors in designing your basement.
6. Pick out the best flooring
Wood is always a bad choice, because basements are prone to water and moisture. There are several other materials in the market for flooring, so you could do a little research and find the best choice for your needs. Consider heating pads also when you’re looking out for basement flooring materials. Some materials might make your basement floor too cold, so you might have to install one.
7. Check your stairs
Another important detail of your basement design is the stairway. You have to make sure they pass the IRC (International Residence Code) requirements, like having railing and the proper width and height of the steps. It doesn’t hurt to include your staircase renovation with your basement, especially if you’re going to go with a specific design.
8. Map out the space you need.
Designing your basement will require careful planning, not only in the technical stuff, but also for conserving your space. How much space do you need? How much stuff will you place in your basement? Fish out the equipment, appliances and furniture that you’ll be putting in there and check out how much space each occupies. A great idea is to have lots of shelves, corner counters and built-in cabinets. They take up little space but could serve as nifty storages.
9. Find a location for your emergency egress
Last but not the least, basements are required to have an emergency egress. Include this in your basement plans. An egress window is the safest, quickest and aesthetically best choice for this. Your basement renovation cost might go up a bit more, but it’s always best to be safe than sorry.