Remodeling Plans for your Basement
When it comes time to start your basement remodel it pays to take the time to formulate a plan. No two basements are ever the same and the construction process will reflect this. For example you may wish to have an open area floor plan for general use, while others may want a full basement apartment for everyday use. Knowing this let us start your basement remodeling plans with some common themes.
The first thing anyone needs to do when beginning the planning stages for a basement remodel, is determine if they have the usable space for their wants and needs. You can do this by walking around your basement and checking for cramped areas with low ceiling heights (under 8 feet in general) and also looking at the overall condition of the basement walls and floor. If you believe that everything checks out for your plans then you can move on to testing for various hazards.
Radon is a odorless and colorless gas that is caused by the breakdown of uranium in the ground. It is believed to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US today.
There are several options for testing for Radon, including self test kits and professional testing. A quick look in the phone book will lead you to your local government agency where they can then lead you to a in home test kit or a list of local contractors that specialize in testing and removal of Radon.
Other health hazards you may want to check for before any construction begins include mold and mildew of any sort. There are many new studies that believe that mold or mildew can cause a number of health problems. In a basement, water entrance usually causes some type of growth of one of these, so a careful inspection should be made. Of course if you find anything you should clean the area and apply mold prevention products before moving on. It may be best to leave this to the professional as well if you do not know how you will react to the mold or mildew.
Now on to the next step in any basement remodel, waterproofing of course! One of the facts of any home with a basement in a damp area of the world is that it will have water problems eventually. If you take the time to plan for and solve these water entrances, before they happen, you will be able to spend years in your basement without flooding worries. For a better look at basement waterproofing check out our series of articles on the CSG Renovation site for methods of prevention and removal.
Once you have all of these necessary,but tedious ,tasks taken care of you can begin designing your basement floor plan. Begin by drawing a basic diagram of your original basement walls and any immovable objects such as a furnace. Then, using that as a reference point, decide where your rooms will be placed.
For a general game room layout ,or media room you may not need any walls ,but for an apartment you will obviously need to plan it similarly to the upstairs living space. Any kitchen should be placed on an outside wall that will be easily ventilated. It should be noted now that if you are planning on using this as an everyday livable space you should contact your local borough for building codes.
Many areas wish that you have at least one outside entrance to the basement if you are planning on having a bedroom for instance. I would recommend this even if your local code has no restrictions concerning outside access, your families safety should always be your first concern.
Once you have laid out your general plans, it is time to get a material sheet together. Using your floor plan you can layout plumbing and electrical systems according to the building codes and your personal needs. This will give you a very close estimate of actual wiring and plumbing materials and costs aside from labor. Do not forget to factor in things like extra sub-panels for your electrical system or drains and pumps for your plumbing.
You also need to decide what you would like to use for your ceiling and flooring in the final build stages. If you plan on adding a sub-floor to help keep your flooring warm and dry you need to factor in the added height of this into your final ceiling height. This, coupled with a drop ceiling, could make your final product a rather uncomfortable height if not accounted for. In general it is best to use a drop ceiling with normal flooring in a basement ,or a sub-floor with a drywalled ceiling unless you have high basement ceilings to begin with.
I hope that this guide to planning your basement remodel has been helpful. If you have any more questions or just would like some more ideas before you begin, please check out the rest of the site. Good luck and I hope that you and your loved ones enjoy your new basement remodel for many years to come!