There are tons of ideas out there for what you can turn your dingy, dark, yet huge and oddly appealing basement into. But, before you do, you need to be sure your basement is ready and up for the task. Keeping that in mind, read on below for a few of the top things you should do before your basement remodel begins to ensure it's ready for the process.
Whether the goal is a mother-in-law suite (zoning permitting) to a game room complete with a stereo system for the kids, remodeling and finishing the basement is one job you'll be glad you did — and did right.
Make Sure Your Plan Is Legal
Between zoning laws, homeowner's associations and even historical societies, there are a lot of people who want to control what you can build in your basement. Make sure you or your contractor obtain all the necessary permits and inspections needed before, during and after the job. This will ensure the work is up to code in terms of any plumbing and electrical work, which in turn, keeps you and your family safer.
One thing to note, in many cases, no matter how beautiful the workmanship and design are, a finished basement will NOT be considered livable space and will not add to the legal square footage of your home. Be sure to check your local building and zoning codes for limitations and restrictions.
Fix Any Water Damage
Water damage is serious, and you want to find and fix it as soon as possible, especially before you start any construction. Not only should you check for water damage, you should check to see if there are any moisture issues at all. Just as with water damage, moisture coming in through the windows or the foundation of the basement needs to be dealt with right away. If you put off fixing these problems, then your new basement will become damaged and you'll be in for much more costly repairs.
Insulate Your Utility Pipes
If you have exposed water pipes anywhere on the outside wall of your basement, you're going to want to insulate them before you close them in with your remodel. This ensures that you're not suffering from heat loss in the winter months through those pipes and will help with your heating bills as well. It also ensures that your pipes won't freeze and burst over a long hard winter and that condensation doesn't back up and drip down into your walls as well.
Make Sure You Have Enough Headroom
Talk the contractor you have remodeling your basement to ensure that the basement is going to have enough headroom, because if it doesn't, then the room might not be up to code. Homes that were built in the 1950s often had very little headroom in the basement, which meant the ceilings and pipes hung too low. If your basement ceiling is too low, you might have to make adjustments to bring it up to code first. Besides, it will be a whole lot more fun to be in your basement if you don't have to bend over to do so.
Take Your Budget into Consideration
When determining what to turn your basement into, and all of the things above, it's important to take your budget into consideration as well. Budget for everything from materials and contractors to inspections and cost overruns. And don't forget the extra cost of heating and cooling the basement.
These are just a few of the things that you need to consider when looking to renovate your basement. Taking care of these things ahead of time will ensure your basement is done on schedule and that your family has a fun place to hang out for many years to come.