If you’re a homeowner currently planning a home addition you may be weighing your options between building anew or working with the space you already have down below. Many projects for home remodeling Austin include remodeling the basement as a way to spruce up the place and get some much needed living area for you and your family to enjoy.
But there are some things you need to keep in mind before you start throwing out all the clutter and junk down there just to make way for a new theater room or separate bedroom. Taking on this type of project is no small task and too many homeowners make some fundamental mistakes that often increase the price of project well beyond the budgeted resources allocated toward the endeavor.
Don’t fall victim to these mistakes, know what you’re getting into before you actually get into it so you can make your new finished basement a place that is comfortable, safe, and above all, compliant with local zoning laws. That last one can put you in a real bind by lowering your property value and spending even more in order to get your home up to code.
Basements are Not All Habitable
Now the first and most important thing to remember is that many basements were never built to be a family room or a swanky mancave, particularly in much older properties. These areas are intended for storage and little else, so you may have your work cut out for you in remodeling the space to make it cozy and warm.
Homes that have been built more recently usually take the basement into account and prepare it to be finished off should the homeowner ever decide to go down that road.
If you’re still intent on remodeling your basement, here are six factors you must consider before you get started on the job:
Purpose for the Remodel
You’ve got your heart set on finishing the basement but what’s the gameplan? What do you plan to do with it once you’re done? These are important questions to ask yourself before you move forward with remodeling.
Consider the fact that most basements have little to no light due to the fact there aren’t many windows to see out of down there. Sure you can add all the lighting in the world, but artificial light is very different from the natural kind.
Taking these factors into account will make planning your basement remodel a lot more easier and much more effective for your intended purposes.
Too Much Moisture
Basements attract moisture rather easily, it’s part of their makeup. That’s why it’s imperative that you assess the moisture levels in the basement before you do anything else. This first indicator is typically what makes or breaks a basement remodeling job from the start because homes that have too much moisture downstairs in this area of the property are often unable to move forward.
So how much does your basement get? Do you have puddles of water in corners or along the walls? If so, you may out of luck. However, small moisture issues can often be solved using paint that is designed to prevent water from seeping in and small cracks are filled with suitable caulk.
These are jobs you may be able to perform yourself, but if you want to do this right the first time, it might make more sense to call a professional contractor to do the work for you.
Local Electrical Codes
Check your local electrical code requirements to see how many outlets are required to be available down in your finished basement. Since basements were never intended to run electricity down there, you may need to take additional steps to ensure that your remodeling job meets all electrical code criteria.
Most states will mandate the use of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (GFCI) outlets down in the basement because basements attract so much moisture.
You’re going to need walls down in your new basement, mainly for installing those mandated electrical outlets. They also look far more pleasing to the eye than concrete and cinder blocks, which define most unfinished basements around the country. Since all you have are those cinder blocks you’re also going to want something to help regulate the temperature down there. Walls will do the trick nicely.
Regulating the Temperature
Those walls will certainly be of some help, but you need to make sure you have sufficient heating and cooling in your remodeled basement. The location of the basement being underground will keep things cool in the summer but don’t expect it to be warm in the winter. Not unless you have some kind of heat source down there.