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Finishing your basement may be on your long to-do list for your house. A finished basement is a huge perk because it gives you additional living space, sometimes even an extra bedroom and bathroom. It adds to the value of your house and increases your selling price. It really is a win-win situation. That is, once it is finished. It can take a decent amount of time and money to complete. Depending on what you want in your basement, you may be able to do a good amount of it yourself or complete it in phases. Continue reading this article to get some great tips to finish a basement.

Make Sure it is Dry

While keeping your basement dry may seem like one of the most obvious tips to finish a basement, it must be stated. You must have a dry basement. If you are not already aware that your basement is damp or wet, check it for any water concerns. Easy ways to check your basement are to look for any puddles of water or water dripping through the walls that are below ground. Next, take a look at the outside of your house and make sure the ground is graded away from your home. Basement waterproofing can be an expensive undertaking, but it is critical to make sure your basement is not damp or moldy. That would ruin your basement. If you see any of these problems and you do not think you can handle this problem, contact a professional to assist you. You want this to be handled correctly.

After you have taken these steps, you should consider these tips to finish a basement, which is waterproofing the basement walls. This process is a relatively simple step to take; you paint the waterproof material on the basement walls just as you would apply paint. This material fills in the pores of the concrete to stop water from coming in. You want to make sure the walls are clean by using a wire brush to loosen any material and then use a masonry cleaner. Finally, you should apply two coats to your walls.

Adding New Space

One of the best tips to finish a basement is to add living space where you can. For example, you may have a large open space in your basement. You may want to consider adding a room, that could be a bedroom and a bathroom. Even if you do not want to condense the ample open space you have by adding a bedroom, you should consider adding a bathroom. If you are going to make your basement more comfortable, adding a bathroom, even if it is just a powder room, is a great way to do it.

Most likely, you are going to need to add more plumbing and electricity to your existing systems to handle the work that is being done in your basement. Your current plumbing services may not be able to handle more. You may also need to consider an electrical upgrade, depending on the age of your house. If your house is older, you may have to expand the services. If you do not know anything about plumbing or electrical work, you may want to contact a professional to help you in these areas. Plumbing and electricity are two areas where you do not want to make a mistake.

Do Not Forget Egress

When you are finishing your basement, one of the best tips to finish a basement is that you want to make sure that you are doing everything up to code. You have to follow building codes when building a house, adding an addition, or finishing the basement. This includes an egress. You need to provide some way for people to get out of your basement. This type of exit is usually with an egress window or doors. If you do not know how to install your own egress, a home builder or general contractor can do the work for you. Egress windows can serve multiple purposes. They ensure your basement is up to code, allow people to leave the basement quickly, and let in a good amount of light. If you are creating a live-in basement, it requires these windows or some type of doors. Perhaps there are already exit doors in the basement, and you just need replacement doors. That can also work, as long as they allow a way out in case of an emergency.

Weather Proof and Sound Proof

Another one of the pro tips to finish a basement is to keep it warm and dry. Even though you have taken steps to dry out your basement, it may still have moisture issues. You can add a vapor barrier to the floors and walls before you finish those spaces. You can add a vapor barrier and leave it for a few days to verify how much water is coming in. Another great tip is to create an offset space. This space allows there to be an offset from the outside wall with the addition of thin wood slats and metal strips. Wood slats can also help flatten out wavy spaces in the walls.

Insulation is a great way to weatherproof your basement. It helps you control the temperature inside your basement while giving you an extra layer of control for moisture. Insulation can also help to dampen the sound coming in from the outside. Your best bet is to get insulation that has a vapor barrier on both sides of it. You could also consider foam insulation.

HVAC Needs

Another one of those tips to finish a basement includes making smart decisions about your heating system. Unless you are experienced with installing HVAC systems, you probably want to call a professional to install new ductwork for your basement. It is not a good idea to cut into an existing duct and add a register. This is going to throw your current system off balance. Not adding adequate ducts will only cause problems getting your heat and air conditioning where it needs to go. The best way to handle heating and cooling your new space is to make sure you have the proper ducts, registers, and returns in place.

Utility Room

One of those essential tips to finish a basement that you want to pay attention to is your utility room. A utility room is a room or space where your HVAC system sits in your basement. This space must remain untouched. There are certain code requirements for these areas. They must remain open and unfinished. There cannot be anything in their way or blocking them. The code specifics the amount of space and framing that is required around them. You can create a room with a door for them, but make sure you stay within the code. The intention is for an inspector or repair person to be able to access them as needed easily. It may be hard to leave the utility room untouched when finishing the rest of your basement, but you must. It is important that you have easy access to this space. It will be helpful in the long run and prevent more significant problems further down the road.

Take Your Time with Flooring

When it comes to putting flooring in your new space, there are some tips to finish a basement floor to consider. You want some options on how to add a base that will help warm the room and give it the look you want. Before you contact any flooring contractors, consider your options and have some idea how you want to proceed. First, you want to consider adding drainage mats under whatever flooring you choose. These mats help the air to circulate and gives you a barrier for moisture. In addition, this helps to insulate the concrete floor under your actual flooring. Since the basement is underground, it may be cooler than other parts of your house. Cooler space is welcome in summer, but not so much during the winter. Next, consider the options you have to heat the floor, which include adding electric mats or cables under the floor. Electric cables under the floor can be an expensive option that does not provide much heat for the room but makes your floors more comfortable.

You can add baseboard vents to heat the floor level. Baseboard heating vents are a great way to add warmth to the room. However, with the streamlined options available, baseboard heat does not stand out like it once did. Also, consider your flooring need. There are luxury vinyl tile options that are beautiful. You can also get a cork floor to add another layer of warmth to your space. No matter which you choose, remember that floor cleaning is essential, and you want the easiest cleaning choice.

Make a Smart Lighting Move

Another one of the tips to finish a basement for consideration is lighting. You need light in your basement, and you have many options depending on the look you want. If you want a small, comfortable, and cozy style, you may wish to add lamps or ambient lighting. However, to save space, you might consider recessed lighting. Recessed lighting is a great option for saving space because the lights are in the ceiling and do not hang down as a fixture would. You can install them yourself or contact an electrician for help. These lights add a nice touch of style without being intrusive to the room. You can put them on different switches so you can control some of the lights individually, especially if you want to control the light in one area over another.

Create a Quiet Ceiling

Another one of the tips to finish a basement that will be helpful to you is helping to buffer the noise from above you. Your basement will not be relaxing if you can hear the noise from above, especially if you have children upstairs that bounce around. Adding fiberglass between the joists is a great way to dampen the noise coming from above you. You can also add resilient channels to the joists to provide even more noise reduction.


There you have some of the top tips for finishing your basement. First, you need to decide what type of basement you want. Will it be a space for you or for the kids? Do you want it to be a place for relaxing or entertaining? These answers can help guide you as you begin to furnish your new space. That can be the fun part. Once you have spent all this money on the actual basement, you may need to consider financing for furniture. There are many options available to you for financing for all of the items you may want and need for your basement.

Most importantly, make sure you follow the tips above and stay within any building codes that apply to your area. Following building codes will be critical when you decide to sell your house. The last thing you want is to have to change your basement or not include it in the square footage measurement of living space. That will be frustrating for you. A finished basement is a great selling feature, along with the value it provides. However, if you do not follow the proper standards and protocols, you will not be able to include them.



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April 2024