Basements are more than just storage units for some of your belongings. You can turn your basement into an entertainment space, a spare room, or a proper man cave. If you want to, however, you’re going to need to make sure the space is safe to use on a regular basis.
Before Finishing Your Basement
Finishing your basement takes time, and there are steps you’ll want to take to make sure your basement is protected so you won’t lose your hard work to leaks or water damage in the years to come.
Step 1: Stay on Top of Building Code Changes
Before you even begin to alter the state of your basement, take into account any coding legislation in place throughout your state, county, and city or town. You may need to apply for a license to modify your home. Permits or licenses, depending on which your area might require, can help you stay on top of coding changes, should you want to sell your home later down the line.
Step 2: Clean Your Space
With your paperwork in order, make sure your basement is in relatively good condition. Clean out any cobwebs, unwanted invaders and damp spots that might be causing you problems. During this stage, you should reach out to a professional contractor for a home inspection. During this process, you can walk through your home with professional guidance and determine which repairs to invest in that can prevent future water damage.
Tip: If you don’t find any water damage during your first walk-through, consider investing in home waterproofing measures at this stage. If you install these measures early, you can prevent future damage to your finished space.
Step 3: Fill Up Your Toolbox
While you’re under no obligation to try and finish your basement on your own, you can still choose to do so. If you want to tackle this DIY challenge on your own, you’ll want to make sure you have all of the necessary tools in your toolbox. This means working with insulation, drywall, flooring and paint. At the same time, you’ll want to make sure you have protective materials on hand, like gloves and a mask, to prevent any unwanted contact or inhalation of the aforementioned materials.
Tip: Contractors are a great help when you’re finishing your basement! If you can connect with a team you trust, you can make the process of bringing your space to life that much easier. Working with contractors can often save you money on a basement job, especially if it looks like you might have to purchase specialty tools to finish the job on your own.
Step 4: Light Up the Space
The first thing you’ll want to do when finishing a basement is to make sure your wiring and outlets are in the right spots. Go through your home and make sure your wires run behind your walls. You can reach out to a professional electrician during this stage to make sure your work is up to code or if you would rather leave a new light or outlet installation to another party.
Step 5: Go Wall to Wall
With your lighting set up and your outlets installed, you can begin to finish off your walls. First, set up your insulation. Once your framework is in place, you can set your drywall in place. Be sure to leave holes for your outlets and lighting units as you go, or you’ll have to go back and undo all of your hard work.
Tip: During this stage, you can look over the floor joists and support beams holding up the floor above your head. Make sure these materials are in good condition and halt all progress if it appears they aren’t. If you don’t fix these features early into the finishing process, you may find yourself contending with a sagging or damaged floor a few years down the road.
Tip: Insulation can also be used as a waterproofing measure. You can speak with the professionals in your area about what types of insulation might help you keep water away from your belongings. Note that if you intend to use insulation as a waterproofing measure, you’ll want to make it easy to access on a semi-annual basis, just to check on it and make sure it’s not becoming a breeding ground for mold.
Step 6: Line Your Floor
With your drywall in place, you can lay out and secure the flooring of your choice. If you’re concerned about leaks, even with your waterproofing measures in place, it may be in your best interest to invest in laminate or tile. However, you can also choose to carpet certain parts of your basement if you’re more interested in making it into an entertainment space.
Step 7: Looking Up
You don’t always have to finish off your ceiling, but you do have the option to. While exposed framework allows you a more rustic look, you can alternatively fill your ceiling with the same insulation and drywall as your walls.
Step 8: Accessorize Your Basement
Last but not least, take advantage of your finished basement and integrate any furniture you want. The waterproofing measures will help keep important belongings safe in case of heavy rain, and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that mold and other unpleasant invaders will have a much harder time making their way into your home.
Want a little help protecting your basement from water damage before finishing it? Want help inspecting your unfinished space for signs of damage? The professional contractors serving Minneapolis, MN, can help you better understand whether or not your basement is in good condition. Request a free home inspection and repair quote from the experts at Innovative Basement Authority to get an idea of what the cost of repairs or waterproofing might look like.