A finished basement is an attractive addition to any home, but there are certain precautions you should take to make basement finishing and remodeling successful.
Check for Any Water Issues
Before getting started on remodeling a basement, you should make sure that there aren’t any leaks, pools of water, or drips coming through the walls. Any cracks should be addressed and fixed before renovations take place, and the ground should be graded away from the foundation.
Acquire the Necessary Permits
Once you have addressed any water issues in the basement and know what you want to do, you should obtain any permits that your local municipality requires you to have prior to remodeling your basement. Permits are often required if you intend to rework plumbing and electrical systems, which may need inspections.
Determine If You Need Fasteners
Walls and floors in basements are usually made of tougher materials than wood, involving masonry such as brick or cement. Such materials require the use of fasteners or anchors to attach framing. Heavy-duty fasteners may be needed depending on the type of wall, which may include shotgun fasteners.
Use a Vapor Barrier to Keep Areas Dry
Even if you no longer need to worry about water issues, your basement can still become damp throughout the remodeling process. The best way to prevent areas from becoming damp while working on the basement is to use vapor barriers on both the floor and walls for a day or two, an then check beneath them to see how much moisture gets through.
Create a Slight Offset from the Outside Wall
Even with the use of vapor barriers, moisture can still do a lot to cause damage during the remodeling process. If you need to, create an offset space from the outside wall by placing thin slats of metal or wood on the wall. These furring strips are also useful for leveling out uneven walls to make them flatter for framing.
Keep Warmth In and Block Out the Cold
Another way to prevent problems with moisture is to add insulation to the walls for temperature control. It can also add as a sound blocker to noise from outside. Insulation should have vapor barriers on both sides. Spray foam insulation is also available if you’d rather not deal with typical insulation. Refer to your local municipality’s code requirements prior to considering spray foam insulation.
Install Drop Ceilings
Drop ceilings are ideal for basements because of their ability to provide easy access to electrical cables and plumbing lines. In most cases, you can simply remove ceiling tiles to reach whatever you need to within the ceiling. There are many design options available to keep these drop ceilings visually appealing. However, they can also reduce the amount of headspace. Recessed lighting can help keep the basement lit without further reducing headspace.
Keep the Utility Room Unfinished
HVAC equipment and other units such as water heaters are intended for installation in open and unfinished spaces, with specific codes for framing and spacing. Keeping this area unfinished will also allow to access utilities more easily for inspection and repairs.
With these steps in mind, you can be on your way to a successfully remodeled basement in no time, with minimal issues that might otherwise make things a lot more complicated.