The Things We Do: Finished Basements

Designing a Better Basement Space

For years builders in the northeast have built their homes on basement foundations as standard operating procedure and often leave them unfinished for the homeowner to decide on the space’s use later.

Some of the important elements you need to consider in finishing a basement that apply to any project regardless of it intended use are:

  • Lighting is essential to make the space comfortable and useful. Large well insulted windows or sliding glass doors (with a secure three pronged locking system) in a walkout basement can do a lot to help in accomplish that goal (while also helping to satisfy the building code’s requirement for a suitable means of egress from the space). In lieu of and in addition to windows and doors a well thought out lighting plan is essential.
  • Keep the space as open as you can. It ‘s very likely that the total finished height of the basement space will be typically lower than the spaces through out the rest of the house since ceiling height will be lost at times too beams and hiding the services such as electrical, plumbing, and duct work that are channeled through the space so closing the space in with too many walls will tend to make the space feel more confining.
  • Keep the basement dry. Before doing anything develop a plan to keep the basement dry. Spraying asphalitic or fiberglass waterproofing material on the foundations exterior is on way to go or if that’s impractical a french drain and sump pump system in conjunction with a DRIcore sub flooring and a dehumidification system may be the way to go.
  • Keep the basement climate controlled. Make sure the temperature and humidity don’t vary from the other rooms in the house by installing the appropriate heating and air conditioning system.
Helpful Reference Materials & Book Recommendations
Basement PlannerBHG_BasementPlanner Design Ideas for BasementsDesignIdeasForBasements
Remodeling a BasementRemodelingABasementExpertAdviceFromStartToFinish The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Finishing Your BasementTheCompleteIdiotsGuideToFinishingYourBasementIllustrated

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