Basement Remodeling 101 Guide
Remodeling your basement is an intimidating project, to be sure. These spaces tend to be dark and wet, they’re often overflowing with unwanted items.
As it stands, remodeling your basement does wonders for boosting your home’s value and your quality of life. You can turn the basement into a rec room to watch your favorite shows or play video games. You can also use the space as an extra room for guests to stay in. The sky’s the limit when you take the plunge!
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. Check out our remodeling guide below to learn about essential details like square footage, ceiling height, and safety measures.
Why Remodel the Basement?
Remodeling your basement is a tall endeavor, but one worth taking. The average basement remodeling job hovers around $61,000, boasting an impressive 70% buyback!
What makes the basement remodel such a popular project, anyway? It could have something to do with the sheer flexibility it offers your home life. Many homeowners love having the extra space to finish their art projects or entertain guests, mainly if they’ve already filled up other house areas.
The following reasons are a great place to start thinking about basement remodels:
- Entertainment centers
- Spare room for guests
- Storage space
- Art studio
Related: General Contractor vs. Subcontractor: What's The Difference?
How Do I Prepare My Basement for Remodeling?
Preparing your basement for remodeling starts with cleaning the place up and assessing it for potential structural damage. Unlike the living room or the bathroom, you have a little extra work to do before you’re ready to decorate.
We recommend the following steps to properly prep your basement.
Step #1: Test Your Walls for Moisture
Basements are well-known for gathering moisture due to the low temperature, lack of light, and proximity to pipes.
Even if your basement doesn’t smell musty, you want to check for mold. All types of mold are health hazards and can affect your physical health, especially if you’re prone to asthma or have mold allergies. Testing for moisture levels is as easy as the following steps:
- Create a square on the wall with several strips of duct tape
- Wait a full twenty-four hours
- Check back to see if the tape has become damp or rolled off
If the tape is dry, you don’t need to replace anything. If the tape has become damp or wet, you’ll need to replace your walls. Consider adding a quick coat of sealant, which usually runs around $100 or $150.
Step #2: Snip Out Studs
Do you want to add a little more flexibility to your basement with extra walls? While this project will run higher at around $1,000 to $1,500, it’s well worth the effort.
Keep in mind these walls are unique in that they don’t need to hold up any weight. Think of them more like room dividers than actual walls! Unlike classic load-bearing walls that need studs every sixteen inches, room dividers need studs every twenty-four inches.
Need another reason to invest in a few walls? You’ll be able to control your heating and cooling better with fewer studs. This phenomenon is known as thermal bridging and can save you a few dozen dollars per year during the extreme seasons.
Step #3: Consider Adding Drop Ceilings
Do you wonder how your ceilings could be improved on your way to a better basement? We recommend drop ceilings for their easy installation and low cost.
Drop ceilings are efficient by giving you or the carpenter access to wiring without the fuss. Put aside a few hundred dollars to put together your drop ceiling, since each square foot usually doesn’t exceed $3 to $5.
Home remodeling doesn’t need to be difficult. We create detailed site plans to give you the full picture before you start working.
Step #4: Add Affordable Vinyl Tile
You may be thinking of adding carpet to your basement to encourage a cozy atmosphere. We recommend vinyl tile instead, since basements are extremely prone to moisture and mold build up.
Vinyl flooring has never looked so good. Depending on your tastes, you can choose options that mimic ceramic, hardwood, or marble. This material is extremely easy to clean, repels moisture, and only runs at $2 per square foot.
Consider adding a few rugs on top to complete the look (and check them frequently for moisture or dirt).
Step #5: Add Emergency Egress Windows
Basements can be a risky place to stay due to their location and proximity to piping. You need to install emergency egress windows in accordance with your state’s safety standards.
You don’t need to break the bank to install a window, either. Consider prefabricated egress windows, which run between $500 to $700. This price doesn’t include the installation, which we recommend sending to a professional.
Related: How to Silence Squeaky Floors
Step #6: Add a Bathroom Near Your Plumbing
Do you also want to improve your property value? Adding a bathroom to your basement will skyrocket the price of your basement due to its utility.
The key to installing a functional bathroom with a high ROI is to make sure it’s very close to your basement’s plumbing. Installing it further away will have you spending extra on piping, which defeats the purpose. Expect to spend anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 for a small bathroom.
Step #7: Get a Quality Site Plan
You won’t travel to your bucket list items without a map, right? Your home remodeling works the same way. Don’t start your project without getting a quality site plan.
Site plans provide you with an easy-to-follow layout that maps out your home with the following details:
- GIS information
- County parcel maps
Related: What Do Home Appraisers Look For In A House?
Remodeling your basement is a fantastic option for boosting your home’s value and creating a more comfortable place to live.
Before you get started, you need to ensure your basement is safe enough to update. We recommend the following steps:
- Test walls for excess moisture
- Remove some studs
- Add drop ceilings
- Use vinyl tile instead of carpet
- Install prefabricated emergency egress windows
- Consider putting in a small bathroom
- Get a quality site plan
An efficient home remodeling venture needs a site plan. Contact us today for a custom quote and get your site plan in twenty-four hours, Monday through Friday.
- Ryan Crownholm