Basement Remodeling: 7 Must-Know Tips for Finishing Your Basement Beautifully

If your home has a basement it doesn’t have to remain a cold, damp, and creepy place that gives your children nightmares. This bottom floor of your home actually holds plenty of potential and can easily be converted into a space that your entire family will grow to love. 

Check out this detailed guide on basement remodeling and learn how to DIY most of a remodel project yourself… 

What to Inspect and Fix Before Basement Remodeling 

Before you dive headfirst into the remodel of your basement, you’ll need to do a thorough inspection of the space first. Basements tend to be hotspots for damp, mold, and leaks. But don’t let this put you off — these are generally quite simple fixes. 

First off, you’ll need to test the moisture levels of the room. You can do this by taping 2-foot squares of plastic sheet to the floors and walls at least a few weeks before your project kicks off.

If water droplets form on top of the plastic sheet, your basement needs dehumidifying. If water droplets form underneath the sheet, your foundation needs to be sealed properly. 

You’ll also need to check the room for rot and insect damage. You can do this with an awl and probe floor joists, header and rim joists, sill plates, and wooden window frames. 

If you use fuel-burning equipment in your home, call in an inspector to check carbon monoxide levels in the room. You’ll also need to assess your home’s ventilation system to ensure this won’t be a future issue. 

You may also need to assess the amount of headroom your basement has. Most building codes call for a 7-7.5 foot clearance. If your basement doesn’t meet this height requirement, you will have to dig out the floor to lower the room. You’ll need professional expertise for this job, including bobcat rental and other equipment. 

7 Must-Do Tips For a Safe, Dry, and Cozy Space 

Once you have the inspection and major fixes out of the way, you’ll need to prepare your basement so that it’s in the best condition to support the chosen function of the room. 

1. Waterproofing 

So this task actually takes place outside the basement. But a good way to prevent and divert moisture away from your basement is to install gutter diverters which ensure water keeps at least 10-feet away from your foundation. 

You could also tend to your garden and ensure that soil slopes away from your foundation. Make sure to seal all small gaps and cracks that you find around exterior pipes. Keep in mind that an engineer should inspect gaps around the base of your home that are larger than a pencil in width. 

To prevent leaks from dripping on the inside your newly installed drywall or ceiling, insulate your pipes with foam insulation sleeves. 

2. Prevent Mold and Install High-Quality Drywall

A big part of your basement transformation is the installation of a ceiling and drywall to make it look more like a functional room. Don’t skimp on your drywall as this is a recipe for mold. Regular drywall doesn’t suit below-grade rooms. This is because mold tends to how on the paper coating. 

Instead, invest in a high-quality product such as USG’s Sheetrock Brand Mold Tough Gypsum Panels. Otherwise, look for drywall panels with the highest score of mold resistance. 

The same goes for your basement flooring. Some of the best materials to consider are vinyl planking, tile, and sheet flooring which all have a natural, wood-like appearance. Look for vinyl flooring materials with a good warranty. 

3. Install a Wall Hung Ceiling 

A ceiling is what really ties the entire room together to make it look finished. One of the best options for your basement is ceiling tiles, which come in an array of materials, colors, and patterns. 

Make sure to hang the ceiling tiles a couple of inches away from the basement roof to make leeway for piping, joists, and other fixtures. Remember to give yourself a comfortable amount of headroom too when standing upright. 

4. Brighten Up the Space 

You don’t want your basement to actually look a basement — so the best way to avoid this is with lighting. Keep in mind that you’ll probably need more lighting fixtures than you have in other rooms of your home.

Stick to recessed or downlighting as they broadcast light further and wider. Space your lights close together to avoid dark patches in the room. 

5. Make Your Basement Easy to Access 

If the entrance to your basement features a rickety staircase, it may be worthwhile replacing it completely. The staircase is basically the only point-of-access into the room, so you want to invest in a staircase that’s sturdy and modern. 

6. Create a Space For Food Preparation

Your basement does not need a full kitchen by any means. But if you intend on turning this area into a movie or games room, the last thing you want is to be trudging up and down the staircase for snacks. 

Simply add a small bar counter, a mini-fridge for cooldrinks, a small cabinet to hold your favorite snacks, and a microwave for making popcorn! Don’t forget to add a few pieces of crockery and cutlery to this area, too. 

7. Make Sure Your Basement is Temperature Regulated 

Most basements tend to be much cooler than other rooms in the home. This is only natural is the room is below ground. So to make sure it’s a warm, cozy, and comfortable space, install a separate thermostat. 

You can also install supply registers near the floor, and if you need more heat than that, go for radiant mats or electric baseboards. 

Get Your Home Improvement Fix Here 

Keep in mind that basement remodeling is not always a cheap, overnight project. It takes a fair bit of effort and investment but can add serious value to your home once the project is complete. 

If you’re in search of home renovation inspiration, whether it’s your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, or exterior, be sure to explore the rest of this site for more.