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Stretch Your Living Space with a Basement Remodel

Even if your basement currently looks a little worse for the wear, red posts, stained block walls, and exposed pipes and ductwork can all be addressed to transform the space from dark and drab to beautiful and functional. These guidelines will assist with your basement remodel project and help you achieve the new living space you have been dreaming of.

Basement Basics

During a basement remodel, you will have to access things like the water pipes, furnace, sump pump, and sewage pipes, all while working around the support posts that are responsibly for the structural integrity of your home. Maneuvering these elements requires a bit of know-how, which is covered in the following tips:

  • Upgrade your sump pump to a new model if your home is on the older side. It is essential to have a sump pump with a battery backup in a finished basement, especially if the basement has hardwood or carpeted floors. With battery-backup sump pumps, a controller switches automatically the power source to the battery if your power goes out.
  • If you have a support pole in your basement, you will probably want to surround it with drywall and might even want to add chair railing for a polished look.
  • Your furnace and utility room can be secluded in an unfinished area of your basement. Contractors recommend maximizing your space by recessing things like appliances or a sink into this space to provide more floor area.
  • Instead of boxing in the vent and sewer pipe, you should build out the interior wall to cover them for a streamlined appearance.

Framing Options

There are many different options for framing a room in a basement. Here is a rundown of the styles you can choose from:

  • Frame the entire structure with 2 X 4's, which allows full insulation, hiding pipes and wires, and provides a barrier against vapor. To preserve square footage, the 2 x 4 can be turned so that the wide face is against the wall.
  • Use furring strips for attaching wall board or paneling. However, this option decreases the quality of insulation and vapor barrier, which might not be an significant issue in a newer home, but can be an issue with older homes.
  • Use a modular building material. Modular systems can incorporate locking panels backed with high-R-value Styrofoam. Floors can also be finished with this material. This material is thin and can be nailed into the wall panels or sub floor.

Potential Problems

In homes that were not constructed for a finished basement, floors and walls are rarely straight. Walls often lean in or out, and floors are usually sloped for drainage purposes in case of flooding. During a basement renovation, you should line up new studs with the studs already in place to make it easier to access plumbing, wiring, and ductwork.

While many people prefer the look of a finished plaster ceiling, a traditional grid tile ceiling will allow easy access to wiring and plumbing if necessary. Installing a dropped ceiling as part of your basement remodel is another option for allowing access to these components, and is convenient for checking pipes and electrical systems.

Stretch Your Living Space With A Basement Remodel,
part of our article series in the Additions & Remodels category.
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