Consider These First
Finishing an unfinished basement has many benefits, but you must consider these common challenges to basement remodeling before pursuing your dream space. Tapping into all that square footage offers the opportunity to stay in a home you love but might be outgrowing. Or the opportunity to create space for a new hobby, a family room, media room, play space for the kids; really the possibilities are endless . . . considering the following.
Challenge #1: Moisture
Basements are notorious for being damp, musty caverns. Depending on the age of the home, moisture barriers may not have been installed when the home was built. In some cases, mold may be an issue.
Challenge #2: Low Ceilings
Low ceilings contribute to the cave-like feeling and make the space feel cramped. Even if the ceiling height is similar to upper living space, ductwork and pipes below the joists can cause issues when finishing the ceiling.
Challenge #3: Code Restrictions
Building codes vary from state to state, county to county and even town to town. Codes affect plumbing, electrical, moisture abatement, stairs, egress and even ceiling height. It’s critical to know exactly what the codes are that affect the project before you begin.
Challenge #4: Posts and Supports
Most basements have some sort of posts or supports placed at distances required by code. They’re a good thing; without them the house would fall. Depending on your budget, they can be removed completely and replaced with other structural support or worked into the design.
Challenge #5: Limited Natural Light
Those little ground-level windows don’t allow much natural light to penetrate into the space. Overhead lighting needs to be placed to suit the space's purpose or use; coordinating it with other task and accent lighting is key to achieving the ambiance you desire.
Overcoming Common Challenges to Basement Remodeling
Clearly, there are ways to meet each of these challenges head-on and optimize your underutilized basement. Basement remodeling is a popular investment many a homeowner has made to create a home that truly supports their lifestyle.
Depending on the source of the moisture, a sump pump and drainage system may be required.
Low ceilings are the most difficult of the common challenges to basement remodeling to overcome – difficult, expensive and messy, but not always impossible.
There are any number of creative solutions to deal with posts and supports. And limited natural light can be resolved with recessed lighting and strategically placed egress windows, which may be a code requirement in any case.
The best way to overcome the common challenges to basement remodeling is to work with a reliable and respected professional. Many ideas that seem impossible are possible when you engage an experienced basement remodeling firm. It will save you time, money and many sleepless nights!