9 Things to Consider—Before Turning Your Basement into a Living Space | Scott Johnson

9 Things to Consider—Before Turning Your Basement into a Living Space

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Thinking about finishing out your basement? Be sure to consider these things before you start.

#1—Handling flooding

If your basement has a history of flooding, then choose your floors, walls, and furniture wisely. Explore whether it’s possible to fix the problem first. It may be as simple as adding a French drain to the outside of your home—or rerouting gutters away from the house. Adding a sump pump might also solve the problem.

#2—Choosing floors wisely

If your basement does tend to flood, then you may not want to get wood or carpet. Try an artistic, acid-stained concrete floor to minimize future issues.

#3—Building an egress window

Basement living spaces are a serious fire hazard if they don’t allow for a quick means of escape. New fire code regulations require you to install an egress (escape) window in the basement, especially if it will be used as a bedroom/sleeping area.

#4—Stubbing for a bathroom or bar area

If so, then you’ll need the basement to be “stubbed” for a toilet, sink, shower, or tub (if it’s not already).

#5—Adding a walkout (if possible!)

A walkout is a separate entrance for the basement that can enhance the value of the whole house later, when you resell it. If you have budget for it, consider adding one.

#6—Upgrading the stairway

Now that you’ll be using the basement more often, it’s time to upgrade your stairway—with carpet, paint, and hanging pictures.

#7—Making room for storage

While planning your layout, don’t forget to allocate space for storage, as well as your laundry room (if it’s located in the basement).

#8—Designing a ceiling

The right ceiling can really make a basement feel like a comfy, cozy space. If possible, you’ll want to hide all plumbing and duct work. Look at drop ceilings, drywall ceilings, and tray ceilings for ideas.

#9—Beefing up your walls

To make the room warmer (especially in winter!), consider insulating the walls with extra batting or insulated panels. You can even add vapor barriers to give your room some moisture protection. Don’t forget to budget for paint and new decorations.

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