Welcome to the next installment in our Remodeling 101 Series: Basements!
According to Home Advisor, the average cost to finish a basement in 2018 is between $6,500 and $18,500. The good news is that homeowners, on average, can recoup roughly 70% of that cost. Unlike most other rooms in your home, an unfinished basement is a blank canvas – allowing you to start from scratch and design the space of your dreams. Man cave? Neighborhood gathering post? Private movie theater? You decide!
Regardless of your vision, there are many things to consider when undertaking a basement remodeling project.
Finishing vs. remodeling
While you may hear the terms “Remodeled Basement” and “Finished Basement” interchanged, there is a difference between the two. Finishing a basement includes roughing in plumbing, framing in walls and hanging drywall, installing electrical and encasing ductwork, sealing and installing flooring.
Basement remodeling is the process of altering the space to create a new layout that adds livings space, like a rec room, home office, playroom or bar, to your home. Remodeling costs run anywhere from $10k to $30k.
If you start a remodel in a finished basement, you may have to tear down roughed in walls and move plumbing or electrical elements. Otherwise you could be hemmed in by the current layout. But if you remodel a basement that isn’t yet finished, you can finish off the space in a way that helps your remodel go more smoothly – and faster. Either way there are several decisions to make before you get started.
Designing around the necessities
Plumbing, boilers, drainage pipes, sump pumps, furnaces, HVAC systems… your home’s basement houses much of the necessities that keep your house in good working order. So, when you’re designing your new basement, you’ll need to take the size and location of these fixtures into consideration.
Over your head
Basements typically have lower ceiling heights than the main floor of a home. Exposed pipes and ductwork have increased in popularity much the same way dropped ceiling tiles have lost much of their appeal. New ceiling tile options can give this style a more modern look, but a less expensive approach may be simply to paint the exposed duct work and pipes the same color as the ceiling, giving the illusion of height and creating an urban aesthetic.
Under your feet
Basement flooring is tricky. Basements have a habit of leaking so it’s important to choose a waterproof flooring surface. Carpeting, ceramic or wood-look vinyl tile are all popular flooring options, but if you’re concerned at all about flooding, opt for a waterproof option. You can find more information here: https://floorcritics.com/best-flooring-for-basements/.
Adding a bathroom, wet bar, or second kitchen to your basement remodeling project can increase both the functionality and the value of your home. Basement additions that require plumbing add a bit more work than a typical above ground bathroom or kitchen, though.
Before getting started with a basement bathroom, wet bar, or kitchen you’ll need to know whether your home was built above the sewer lines. Digging into the foundation of your home creates a significantly higher chance of leaks, so you’ll want to hire a professional plumber! Maplewood Plumbing and Sewer has more than 30 years of experience plumbing basements.
Electrical wiring will need to be run for lighting and other items. Don’t forget to work plenty of outlets into your blueprint. Some newer outlets include USB outlets that make charging smart phones and tablets convenient. For any electrical work, hire a licensed, experienced electrician. Angie’s List is a great resource for finding the right contractors (Maplewood Plumbing is proud to be an Angie’s List Super Service Award winner since 2009!).
Adding some homey touches to your finished basement can make the new space feel less like a basement and more like just another room in your home. Some options to consider:
- Recessed lighting to keep as much ceiling height as possible.
- Crown molding for a finishing touch.
- Wall-to-wall carpeting adds softness and warmth to a traditionally colder space.
- Hardwood floors add a touch of sophistication, but wood-look ceramic or LVT is an even better option, as it’s more water resistant and easier to maintain.
- Paint and wallpaper for a finished, lived-in look.
- Built-in storage for organization and functionality.
- Oversized window coverings that are larger than the typical small basement windows can give the illusion of a large window to make the basement feel more like a first-floor living space.
Don’t forget to add these to your checklist when planning a basement remodel:
- Have the foundation inspected
- Hire a licensed electrician
- Hire an experienced plumber with a good reputation in your community
- Look into having your basement professionally waterproofed
For more tips, tricks, and insider-info on basement remodeling, visit our website. Check out the other articles in our Remodeling 101 Series: Master Bathrooms and Home Exteriors. Maplewood Plumbing & Sewer has been taking care of St. Louis’ basement plumbing needs since 1985. We have extensive experience digging out new bathrooms, installing sump pumps and water heaters, and many other basement remodeling tasks. To speak with a plumbing professional about your remodeling project or request a bid, contact us today.
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