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How to Finish a Basement

The basement is often referred to as the dungeon or the forgotten space. Some folks don’t even call it by name but just refer to it as down there or downstairs. It is often cold and damp, a haven for mold and other funguses but you can make it so that it is a comfortable space just like the rest of your home.

You can turn your basement into a play room (for kids or for adults), an additional bedroom and if you have enough space you can even make it into an apartment which you can rent out. Or you can just finish it and still use it as your storage or wash room but make it a place where doing the laundry will feel like less of a chore.

Your Basement Finishing Options

Finishing your basement means creating a living space out of an existing space which was not made for this. In older homes that task will be more complex but in newer homes it may not be too hard and you may even be able to do it yourself. If you don’t want all the hassle associated with doing it yourself then you can use a basement finishing system contractor. The latter option is the recommended one as it will ensure you get the best job done that will last for the lifetime of your home. It also gives you peace of mind that if things are not done properly you will not lose money as most of these contractors offer warranties and fix their problems free of charge.

  1. DIY – if you plan to finish your basement by yourself you will have to lay your own floor, build your walls, make your window openings, and run electrical wiring – practically doing everything from scratch. The advantage of this method is that you can go at your own pace so that you do not overrun your budget and in the end you can have the satisfaction every time you walk down to your basement knowing you are responsible for it all.
  2. Your second option is to choose a contractor that does basement finishing. Everything will be done from scratch but in this case you won’t be the one doing the work.
  3. Thirdly you can use a contractor that uses a basement finishing system. This means that none of the work is done from scratch as in the prior mentioned options. For example instead of adding drywall and wall coverings a basement finishing system applies wall panels that are made to prevent mold and rotting thanks to being made from inorganic material.

 

Basement Finishing Concerns

There are a number of concerns that could leave your basement finishing in a tizzy but if you choose to go with a contractor that uses basement finishing systems you don’t have to worry about these as the contractors will ensure that they do all the necessary things to fix and prevent the problem in the future.

    1. Moisture in the basement – this is a problem in every unfinished basement. Sometimes it may just be high humidity but other times it can be active flooding. Without proper control of this moisture finishing the basement will be impossible. But getting rid of water in your basement can be very hard especially if you try to do it yourself. If you still have your heart set on doing it yourself here are couple things you can do to help get rid of moisture.
    2. Grade earth outside to create a slope that goes away from the wall of the foundation.
    3. If you have cracks in the wall you will need to fill them with boding cement. Use two coats and you may need to dig earth down to ensure you fill the cracks properly.
    4. You may also need to install a sump pump in your basement.
    5. You can use water proofer on the foundation walls inside the basement.
    6. Invest in a dehumidifier and keep it running.
    7. Flooring Specifically for a Basement – due to the fact that there is moisture in your basement you can’t just use any type of flooring. The finished floor is not the only thing to choose that will be basement specific but the sub floor needs to be basement specific as well. Most often the sub floor in a basement is concrete but if not you can always make one from plywood on top of 2×4 sleepers. On top of this you want to place a hard floor such as rubber roll, porcelain tile or concrete. Solid hardwood is not recommended for basements.
    8. Heating – you want to add your insulation before thinking about adding heat sources. The best option is extruded foam plastic insulation.

The only thing left to think about now is the cost. This varies widely. To find out more about the cost differences of DIY vs. hiring a contractor, give Mad City a call today!