How to Plan an (Awesome!) Basement Remodel

finished basement

A basement remodel is a home project with possibilities. It’s the start of a new man cave, play room, office, bedroom…the options for additional space is endless! Getting to that end project, however, does require a few planning steps that gets you the finished basement of your dreams.

Make a list of your basement remodel needs

Before you start choosing basement flooring or paint colors, think about what you want from the space. Do you need another bedroom? A family room? Bathroom? Man cave? Extra storage? The answers help you decide on a layout and make plans for the project.

Decide on a basement layout

Even in a small basement, a basement layout is an important part of planning a basement remodel. This step can be started with measuring the space to determine the total square footage. Remember that the space is going to be a bit smaller when the walls are finished (and built). The ceiling is also going to lower so make sure you have enough headspace for a comfortable hangout.

As you plan a layout, don’t forget to include unfinished space for utilities, such as a sub pump and furnace. Existing support beams are an integral part of your home’s structure, so plan a layout around beams and columns; in many cases, these beams and columns can be finished so they blend into the basement decor.

Another important consideration in a basement remodel is local government regulations and permits. Obtaining both does require a call, but it is well worth it to ensure the finished basement meets local codes and passes inspection.

Waterproof

No one wants their finished basement destroyed by water or flooding, so it’s important to fix any drainage issues and waterproof the space before starting a basement remodel. If using a professional for this step, this list of waterproofing contractor questions can help you hire the right contractor for the project.

In many cases, waterproofing is an ongoing process. Even in dry areas, many basements need a dehumidifier, drainage system, and sub pump to prevent flooding and moisture damage. (Even after waterproofing, moisture continually seeps through the concrete slab, which is why hardwood flooring is not a good fit for basements.)

Choose a contractor or make plans for a DIY project

Once you’ve settled on a layout, it’s time to start making construction plans and decide how much—if any—of the project you’re going to tackle on your own. For handy do-it-yourselfers, this stage of basement remodel planning includes getting building materials, waterproofing, and prepping the slab for installations.

For homeowners who opt to use a contractor, it’s time to make a list of local contractors and ask them a series of questions. The list of questions for a basement remodeling contractor should include, “do you carry insurance? how much experience do you have? do you have any suggestions for my project?” (plus these basement remodeling contractor questions). In addition to an interview, it’s also a wise idea to research basement remodeling contractors online before hiring.

Select your finishes

The last step is often the most fun part of remodeling a basement. It’s time to choose the lighting fixtures, paint colors, bathroom fixtures (if needed), and flooring!

Choosing a basement floor does come with a key consideration: moisture. Because of the moisture, solid wood flooring is not a good option for basements. Fortunately, there are plenty of basement flooring options (ask a local flooring pro to show you options) that can withstand the porous moisture that seeps through the slab. If the basement is open to a pool or lake, take the choice a step further and choose a water-resistant flooring option, such as tile or luxury vinyl plank. There are also do-it-yourself floors that can help you stay within your basement remodel budget and look great in a finished basement.

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