Your basement is full of untapped potential. Space can be used for so much more than storing winter coats and Christmas decorations. You can transform your basement into the extra living space you’ve always wanted.
Before you transform your basement into a second living space, a guest room, or a personal movie theatre, you have to prepare for a basement renovation. Don’t start knocking down walls or ripping up floors before you read this guide.
Here is all the essential information you need to know before you begin a basement renovation.
Have an Idea of Your Design First
Don’t start swinging hammers before you have an idea of how you want to transform your basement. There are tons of basement ideas you can use in your own home, but you’ll first want to consider your wants and needs.
If you’re looking for a room for the entire family to hang out in, you’ll probably want a den space with a sectional and television. However, if you want an adult space to escape from the kids, your design might look slightly different.
Weigh what your home is missing and what you want to use your basement for before starting any construction.
Consider the Scope of the Project
Now that you have an idea of the design of your basement, you should consider the scope of your project. This is one of the most important steps to finishing a basement because it determines many other factors.
Are you planning a total renovation or a cosmetic remodel? Are you replacing or refinishing the current fixtures? Are you keeping the layout or knocking down walls?
The scope may influence the budget or vice versa. The scope of your project will be determined by the current state of your basement as well.
Set a Budget
Many people think that a renovation will blow through their savings. And while it’s true that many home remodels can cost a pretty penny, you don’t have to spend everything you have on a basement remodel.
However, it’s important to set your budget early in the renovation process. This will help you understand what projects you can tackle, how much you can spend on materials, how much labor will cost.
It’s also important to stick to your budget as best as you can. You should also set aside some money for unforeseen issues that are sure to arise during the renovation. The good news is that you can always find ways to save.
Average Cost of a Basement Remodel
Before these large numbers make you nervous, remember that a basement renovation always adds value to your home! Keep this in mind as you’re saving and spending money on basement projects.
On average, a basement remodel costs about $35,000.00. Renovations will range from about $15000.00 to $75,000.00.
Of course, the final cost of your renovation will be determined by what you do during the renovation. Higher-end finishes and custom projects are sure to up the price.
Take Care of Current Problems Before You Start
If you don’t spend a lot of time in your basement, you may not realize the current issues your basement faces. And what good is a brand new space if it’s destroyed by water or taken over by pests?
So, before you start the remodel, take care of any current issues you may have with water, air, or pest. Be sure you have no leaks or are not susceptible to flooding.
Be sure you have proper air circulation and ventilation. And be sure your contractor seals off exterior points to keep bugs and animals out of your home.
Speaking of pests, now is the time to call the exterminator to get rid of any infestations. A few spiders here and there may not pose a problem. But if there are nests in the corner, you’ll want to deal with that before renovating.
Test for Moisture Issues
If you’ve had problems with water in the past—or even if you don’t—you’ll want to check the moisture levels before finishing your basement. Excess moisture can cause cracks in the foundation and walls and leave to water seepage.
You can check for cracks with a flashlight, which might suggest moisture problems. But to be sure of the extent, you’ll want to call an expert to test your levels with a moisture meter.
Waterproofing, Insulation, and Soundproofing Are Top Priorities
If you go through the trouble of removing water from your basement, you’ll want to keep it out. Even if you’ve never had water issues, basements are notorious for harboring moisture and dampness.
To protect your newly designed basement remodel, you’ll want to add waterproofing to your design. This is best done by professionals and will be easy to install during a remodel.
Similarly, basements can get gold, especially if they’re underground. So if you want your remodel to be liveable, then you’ll want to add insulation. This will keep your basement comfortable year-round, especially in the colder months.
While the walls are open, you’ll probably want to add soundproofing to the design as well. Especially if this will be a communal space that might see some rowdy or late-night action.
Don’t Forget About Ventilation
You don’t want to get caught up in all the design decisions and then end up forgetting about ventilation. Proper working vents will prevent mold and humidity, especially in moisture-prone spaces like basements.
If you have windows, they can offer some natural ventilation to your space. But for the most effective ventilation, you’ll want to ensure that your home’s HVAC system is doing the job by circulating the air around your home.
Update and Upgrade Your Electrical System
Chances are when you plan to upgrade your basement, you’ll have to upgrade your electrical system as well. If your basement isn’t a current livable space, then the chances will probably be higher.
For many modern upgrades, you’ll want to check to see if your electrical system can handle the new appliances and technology.
Hire a professional to check out your electrical system to see if it will require an update or upgrade.
Are You Adding Plumbing?
Are you looking to add a bathroom to your basement or maybe a second kitchen? Both of these will require you to have some plumbing work included in your renovation.
This is much easier done if you’re planning on doing an extensive renovation rather than a cosmetic one. However, it’s not impossible to add plumbing without an overhaul of the layout.
So if you want a guest suite, powder room, kitchenette, or wet bar, be sure to factor in the cost of adding plumbing to your design.
Add Storage Back In
Most people use their basement for general storage of seasonal or old items. When you remodel that space, you transform it into something new, but you’re also removing the storage you’ve relied on.
So no matter what you plan to do with your basement remodel, plan to add storage back into the design. You may want to leave an open closet space to store the boxes and seasonal items.
You can also get smart and creative with storage by adding built-in shelving. Don’t forget to use every square inch you can, like awkward corners and under the stairs.
Pick Out Aesthetic Finishes and Flooring
Here comes the fun part of a basement renovation. You get to pick out all the finishes and decorations like flooring and paint colors. When making your decisions, you’ll want to consider the use of the room.
No matter the design, you’ll want to choose flooring that’s durable because the space will have a lot of foot traffic. You’ll also probably want to have a floor that easy to clean and scratch-resistant.
One kind of floor you’ll never want to have is hardwood. Despite your best efforts to rid the space of moisture, it’s hard to get rid of all moisture in the basement. And higher moisture levels can warp your floorboards.
Instead of hardwood, opt for stone, tile, laminate, or carpet.
Get a Quote
Now that you have all the details going into your basement remodel, it’s time to get a quote on how much it will all cost. Speak with your preferred contractor and be honest about all the design decisions you’ve made.
With this in mind, they can provide you an estimate of what the total renovation may cost. The more details and information you can provide, the more accurate your quote will be.
Starting with an accurate quote can make the entire renovation process run much smoother.
Everything You Should Know Before Starting a Basement Renovation
Think about your basement right now. Are there boxes stacked from the floor to the ceiling? Are there dusty corners full of spiders and boxes of forgotten sweaters?
Your basement deserves a much better design than the empty storage space it’s acting as right now. You can transform your space with a basement remodel. But before you do, consider these tips to keep you on track.
Ready to have the basement of your dreams? Maybe a game room, a theatre, or a guest room? Check out some of our design ideas and contact us for a quote on your basement remodeling in VA and MD.