Basement Renovation Tips for Homeowners
There are a number of things you can do to your basement during a renovation project. You can convert it into an entertainment area, make energy-efficient upgrades, clean it up, maximize the space, or any combination of these. No matter what you have planned for your basement, it’s essential that you invest in durable, quality building supplies and materials.
Don’t let your basement be that dark, “creepy” place beneath your house. With the right materials, it can be so much more.
Here are some ideas on how to renovate it:
- You can get started by making a scale drawing of your plans, as you may be required to submit the proposed changes to the local building inspections department. These plans should include window details, door sizes, wall dimensions, and any special features. If you are uncertain about anything, hire an architect to help you come up with a detailed design. A plan concerning electrical work may be required as well.
- Basement dampness or wetness must be dealt with before you get started with the renovation project. You can test the walls to determine if they are damp from exterior water or condensation from interior humidity; tape a square sheet of plastic to the masonry. You’ll know that the problem is caused by condensation if the moisture collects on the front of the sheet. If you have a problem with water puddling after a storm, or any type of seepage on a regular basis, you must fix this problem permanently.
- If you plan on installing new doors, you must create a rough opening. Do this by framing the openings 2 ½-inches wider and 2 ½-inches higher than the door that’s to be installed. Use a trimmer as well as a regular stud on each side of the door. You may need to special-order shorter doors or cut down doors if there is low headroom. Don’t forget to allow overhead space for the trim.
- Many basements have plumbing and ductwork mounted at the ceiling along the wall. You can conceal those unsightly ducts and pipes by boxing them in and using drywall to cover the assembly. Measure to find the lowest duct or pipe in the basement. This will be the defining point of how low the soffit should be. To allow space for the drywall and framing, mark a point 2-inches beneath the lowest duct or pipe.
- Make sure you work with the right drywall suppliers and professionals in the GTA. There are many options for drywall: anti-mold, fire-rated, Dens Glass, Dens Shield, moisture proof, etc. You must get the right drywall for your basement in order for your renovation project to be a success.
If your basement is cold and uninviting, you might want to create an open stairwell to visually connect the lower part of the house with the upper. An open stairwell will also allow more natural light to enter the basement.
It doesn’t matter whether you are only making small changes or plan to completely renovate your basement - you must have some sort of professional assistance. Any number of things can go wrong with a basement renovation project, so it’s always a good idea to have a reliable contractor on speed dial. Also, be sure to order building supplies from a trustworthy company.