Remodeling your basement on your own is a huge feat. It’s not impossible, but it’s not an easy task as well. You’ll need to consult professionals or other DIYers who have already done their basement remodeling and succeeded with minimal mistakes.
However, we all know that no one is perfect, and you’re bound to make a mistake or two. But that’s why you have this article, so you can avoid grave basement remodeling mistakes. Here are eight things you shouldn’t do when renovating your basement:
1. Don’t treat it like any ordinary part of the house.
The most common mistake DIYers make when doing a basement renovation is that they treat it like a bedroom renovation, or a bathroom renovation. Your basement is very different from your house above. Firstly, your basement is underground and is prone to a lot of damage, specifically flooding and moisture. If you don’t plan ahead, you might end up fixing your basement every now and then, and spending more that you should have.
2. Don’t have an awkward floor plan.
Because you have to avoid lines and pipes and drainage, the basement tends to have a weird floor plan. You try to work around these obstacles, when you can make them work for you! Don’t dig in too deep, and make layers so you don’t have to be restricted when it comes to the floor plan and overall design of your basement. Don’t take the design for granted, either. Make sure it works for you and your family.
3. Don’t ignore the drainage.
A lot of people put off working on the drainage of the basement. This is a huge basement remodeling mistake! Basements are more likely to be flooded and to have too much moisture since its underground. Plan out your drainage carefully.
Consult experts on how you can avoid flooding in your basement. As for the moisture, you can pick specific materials for your walls and floors so you don’t have to worry about it accumulating and having an infestation of molds. Flooding is inevitable, but if you plan it carefully, you’ll minimize the damage done.
4. Don’t make it too dark.
Just because it’s the basement, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have enough light on it. Your basement should trick your guests and housemates that they’re not underground. Make your color finishes light and breezy-looking.
Add wall lights and even install windows, if you prefer. Natural light in the basement adds such a beautiful effect, but this depends on your location. Nevertheless, effective lighting is necessary. Be careful with the electric lines as well when installing your lights and other electric equipment. When in doubt, ask a professional.
5. Don’t forget a back up sump pump
This pump system is absolutely essential for basement renovations, especially if you’re in a place that is frequented by thunderstorms and heavy rains. A backup sump pump can help you when there isn’t any electricity and you’re currently getting flooded. This goes well with the careful planning of your draining system. If you have a great drainage, and a sump pump, then you can get rid of all that water in no time.
6. Don’t use mold-absorbing materials.
What materials are these? You should say no to wooden floors, hardwood, cork floors, and wooden stud and drywall for your walls. Organic materials are great, but they absorb moisture and could make your basement feel stuffy.
Plus, there is a large chance of mold development, so if you don’t want to clean your walls and floors every now and then, go for ceramic, tiles and even vinyl for the flooring. For your walls, smart layering is all it takes. Just makes sure there’s no room for moisture buildup.
7. Don’t depend too much on your vapor barriers.
People think that just because there are vapor barriers, you can use any finish you want in your basement. This is not true, folks! A basement remodeling mistake like this will make you pay for it dearly. You should allow moisture to evaporate. A vapor barrier (namely, the use of poly sheets) will trap water vapor between the concrete and your barrier. And what happens to contained water vapor? Mold alert. Do not fall into the trap of vapor barriers.
8. Don’t forget your emergency exit.
Did you know that basements are required to have emergency exits? If you didn’t know this fact, now you do. Basements are enclosed spaces and are quite dangerous, so the government requires an egress for it.
Include an emergency exit on your plans. No, don’t say you can just run up the stairs. It’s different. Ask any inspector! Installing a window egress is quick and easy, and this is the best way to appease those inspectors.
Plus, there are a lot of designs for the egress window, so your basement theme need not suffer because of the presence of your emergency exit.