Having a usable finished basement can add a ton of value to your home, but not everyone has the money to drop on a down-downstairs reno. So what about a do it yourself finished basement? Insane? Maybe not, provided you don’t have a lot of moisture or flooding issues and you’re not starting with a dirt floor and cracked foundation walls. Maybe you want a man cave or a rec room complete with extra classy globe mini bar or extra office space. Trust me when I say it can be done, but the results you achieve will always be better when done right versus done half-assed.
Would this work for you?
So how do you do up your do it yourself finished basement while also staying on the right side of the law and the wrong side of pesky stuff like mildew? Follow these 8 tips, for starters!
1. Do you have a building permit? Do you need one? It may seem like yet another hoop you have to jump through to finally get your exercise bar media room, but having the proper permitting in place before you do anything is the way to go. Do you have a plan? Now is the time to figure our your basement reno, not as you go along. Which I think is how our finished basement came into being *sigh*.
2. Let a pro handle the electricity if you need more outlets. It’s just the right thing to do, whether you’re finishing a basement or expanding a bathroom. For real.
3. Your basement needs to be DRY. Bone dry. Especially if you’re putting up walls and laying down floors and plan on putting furniture up against the walls. Mold and mildew sure do love that damp that so many basements are famous for.
4. For those putting up walls – as opposed to just using something like this to seal up foundation walls – should make sure there’s AT LEAST a half inch gap between the wall and the foundation. That’s what furring is really for – as opposed to what, say, Urban Dictionary would have you believe.
5. Buy this book. Or check it out of the library. Seriously, the Black & Decker Guide to Finishing Basements is awesome.
6. Drop ceilings aren’t the most attractive option, but they’re the option that lets you continue to access pipes and wires running through the floor/ceiling that may prove important or broken in the future. More than one contractor has had to get at stuff in our finished basement’s ceiling, and as much as I hate drop ceilings, I’m glad it was there.
7. Speaking of wires and pipes, you may have some that stick out in weird places. It wasn’t an issue when your basement was housing a workbench and unopened boxes from your move four years ago, but if you’re trying to class up your finished basement, you may want to do some buildingaround these. Still keeping in mind the possible need for future access.
8. Finished basements do not have to be a second living room or an entire apartment or a full-fledged movie theater. As in the picture above, sometimes some walls, some shelves, some furniture, and a coat of paint on the stairs will do the trick. If you’re okay with your basement’s existing climate, no fancy flooring necessary. You can just throw some paint on the concrete floor and call it a day.
And there you have it. Would you consider finishing your own basement? Or have you actually done it?