If your basement is unfinished, it is difficult to imagine that it could be a beautiful living space, but it could be the perfect spot for an extra bedroom, office or family room. There are several ways to approach remodeling a basement. You can have it designed in a rustic way or finished up elegantly; you can leave the entire space wide open or subdivide it into multiple rooms. What your basement can be is up to your imagination.
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There are some considerations for basement remodeling:
Ceiling height – If the ceiling is low, you will need to decide if you can live with it. The other consideration is duct work that runs along the ceiling. If you have the space, you could frame boxes them in to improve the appearance. You can also have the duct moved to, but this may cost more than you want to spend.
Concrete floors – Choosing a floor covering for the concrete floor raises some issues that you won’t find with other rooms. Your basement should have a drain in case of water infiltration. You also have to take in mind the potential dampness that might build up under the flooring, so carpet might not be a good selection. If you plan to have an activity in your basement that requires exercises or prolonged standing, concrete floors can be a hard surface for your feet or legs and even your back, so consider using a padded flooring material or adding rugs or pads. If you want to install floor heating, use a system that comes with a water-proof membrane or a water dehumidifier.
Dampness – Dampness in a basement is a problem as it makes the basement feel cool and encourages mildews and molds which could affect your health. So before you start working on the space, make sure that the walls and the floors are properly sealed.
Lighting – Even with a window, basements can be very dark. Carefully consider your lighting options so that it becomes an appealing space.
Access – Consider providing exterior access to your basement for safety reasons. An exterior door may also increase the access to the rest of the house, or it may allow privacy for the remodeled basement area.
Support Posts and Beams – In a basement where there are post and beams, you might be tempted to try to remove them, but to do so will require expert assistance and be costly. The best solution is to have a floor plan design that would either enclose them in walls or cover them with more attractive materials.
Access to plumbing – The wiring and plumbing often run through the basement. When you are designing your remodel, make sure you have a way to access them should repairs be necessary. One way is to use a drop ceiling. You can also place small doors in the walls for access.