Whether you live in an older home that features a basement that is strictly for storage or a brand-new build with an unfinished basement, there may come a time when you want to convert that utility space to living space. It could be that your family has grown, or simply that you want more usable living space for your family. Basement space can be turned into a family rec room, a home office, a play room for little ones – or all of these. Before you take on this project, however, there are a few things to keep in mind. By taking this matters into account before you start the conversion of your basement, you’ll get a better understanding of the kinds of changes you’ll need to make. That will help save you money and hassle in the long run so you can get on with the business of enjoying your new basement.
Tips to Consider Before a Basement Conversion
Image via: HGTV – Candace Olson
Why do I want to convert my basement to living space?
Knowing exactly what is motivating you to convert your basement (which is a large undertaking) is very important. By having a clear understanding of what your goals are, you’ll be able to plan out the best way to utilize the space, whether you’ll need services like plumbing, appliances, lighting etc, and the general design scheme for the room. It’s probably a good idea to work with a designer to get a good idea of how things will work best, but this isn’t strictly necessary.
How much do I want to spend?
Knowing your budget up front is absolutely imperative. Basement conversions can be costly, and it’s easy to spend more money than you intended if you don’t have a budget in mind beforehand.
Are there any physical architectural or structural issues?
Converting a basement to living space isn’t just about decorating. Often, there are existing issues that need to be addressed before the décor part of the conversion can take place. One of these issues can be whether your basement needs to be waterproofed before construction begins. Particularly if you live in an older home, dampness and water can be a problem. Before you can drywall and start the construction process, it’s absolutely imperative that you address the issue of waterproofing. Don’t skip this step in the name of trying to save money! Affordable waterproofing services are available in most cities. It’s necessary to ensure your basement is properly waterproofed, as failing to do so can mean that all of your hard work to drywall, install flooring, paint, and decorate could be in vain.
Foundation issues and other architectural concerns should also be addressed at the outside. Be sure your basement (and any changes you plan to make) meet local building codes.
If you live in a condo, you may have to secure advance permission from your Homeowner’s Association before you proceed.
Image via: Architecture Art Designs
Am I ready for the disruption this will cause?
Construction causes disruption; there’s no real way around that. You may not have electricity for a time, your water may be shut off, you’ll have to deal with dust and noise, etc. If you have small children or elderly members in the family, this can be especially disruptive. Be sure you are aware of this and prepared for it before you start the renovation.
Converting your basement is a great way to gain more living space in your home. Before you start picking out paint colors, however, it’s important to keep these key questions in mind.
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