Start with the end in mind when it comes to your basement finishing. Whether you want a wine cellar, sports room or entertainment hub there are different factors to consider and each one adds to the time and cost of your basement finishing project plan.
Budget surprises half way through could leave you with an unfinished project that will frustrate you and no one wants that. Let’s start with the basics.
List of Do’s for Basement Finishing
Create your ultimate wish list. Write down all the things you desire your basement to have, including how you would like it to look once finished. Be thorough and detailed to avoid nasty surprises. The cost to turn a basement into a livable space can cost between $6500 and $18500 but can go as high as $30000 depending on the remodeling and features included.
Have a detailed plan. What type of lighting will you need? Are you removing walls, dry walling or painting them? What type of flooring will you have? Carpets, tiles or concrete? Do you need a bathroom? Do you need to move the entry to your basement? Who is doing the work? What is your budget? Will the cost add to the resale value of your property? These are some of the questions you need to answer before you get started.
Basement waterproofing. Moisture is basement finishing priority. Before you begin work check your basement for mold, rust, peeling paint or discoloration. This will save you money and repair work in the future. The average cost to seal a basement or foundation is around $4051 plus any additional repairs. Costs such as fixing foundation cracks, adding gutters or drains can cost upwards of $10,000 and put pressure on your budget. Basement waterproofing by professionals normally comes with a ten year warranty and if done correctly will often last much longer. Find out where your problem lies. If it is the soil around your house that is damp, waterproofing your basement interior walls might sold the problem.
Have a radon test. Radon is primarily in the basement where it touches the soil and is known to cause cancer. Have a radon test to make sure your basement is safe.
Look at flooring options.Basement flooring options include concrete, wood, ceramic tiles, rubber or laminate made with moisture resistant plywood core. A concrete basement slab is porous. Moisture and water vapor can move up through the slab and into your flooring. To create a dry, mold free basement floor, install a vapor barrier before laying a carpet pad or wood subfloors. The cheapest basement flooring starts with paint, but you can also consider concrete stains, vinyl tiles or linoleum, ceramic tiles, carpet and laminate.
Do you need a bathroom? A basic bathroom addition can cost from $10,000.00 to $25,000.00. It may cost more to add later if the plumbing and electrics are not in place from the beginning, so planning it, even if you are not building it now is a good thing.
Flooding can happen. Basements being at low elevation are at risk of flooding. Electrical wiring should be kept at a higher level and use water resistant flooring material where possible.
Know your building regulations. Create a plan that is safe and legal. It will cost you more if you don’t follow building regulations and find that the construction has to be ripped out.
List of Don’ts for Basement Finishing
Don’t plan to use your entire basement space as a wine cellar, sports room or entertainment hub or you will be left without any storage areas for tools, luggage etc.
Don’t underestimate the building work. Basements can be tricky and unless you have a background in construction you should consider leaving it up to the pros, or at least having a supervisor to manage the work. No one wants to see their hard work go to waste because something wasn’t built correctly.
Don’t add a drop ceiling unless you need to. This can be an expensive mistake. Firstly, you can add a drywall ceiling for half the price and secondly, a drywall looks better without making the ceiling look so low.
Don’t change plans midstream. Once building has started try not to change your building plans unless you need to. Changes cost money and delays. Take all the time you need up front to make all the right decisions in the beginning.
Be yourself. The basement is yours. The finish is yours. Have fun with all the ideas and choices you have made and get the most out of your basement.