A basement renovation starts just like any other renovation – with a plan. Whether you’re starting from scratch or giving your basement a whole new makeover, you need a plan. That means designing your renovation step by step, setting a budget, and agreeing on timescales. No time spent planning is wasted time. Here are our 7 important steps to a successful basement renovation.
First things first: what does the finished version of your basement look like? What purpose does it serve? Is your basement going to be a bedroom, living room, recreational room, or a whole new separate rental suite? You need to think long-term as to the purpose of your basement renovation. If there’s a bathroom, you’ll need additional plumbing. If it’s a living room, you’ll need appropriate heating. If it’s a rental suite, you may need a separate access point. Consider the rooms you’ll need to incorporate into your design plan.
A detailed design plan is essential to visualising the complete layout of your renovation. Start with sketches and second opinions from people who know what they’re talking about. Sketch where the furniture, lighting, staircase, storage areas, doorways, and windows will go. A detailed floor plan is like the script to a film; there may be some improvisation once the camera rolls, but the actors can’t just wing the whole thing.
Plan your budget as soon as possible. Just because the sky’s the limit with your renovation dream doesn’t mean you want your budget to be too. Look to see what you have to replace or remove in your space. Look what you can salvage or what you have to dismantle. Look what you have to add or install before you begin the renovation. For example, you may need to enlarge windows, make room for a doorway, or install lighting, heating ducts or air vents before you begin drywalling or laying flooring. Also, ensure your home insurance policy covers you against basement renovations. You need a solid and affordable budget, and the insurance to cover expenses should something go wrong.
As with attics, you need to check for moisture in the basement before you begin your renovation. Check the heating and plumbing and fix any problems to prevent heat loss or water seepage. Check to make sure your home’s structure is sound. Inspect the walls, and seal any cracks you may find. If you are making changes to partitions or load-bearing walls, your renovation could affect your home’s structural integrity. In such a case it is essential you engage the advice of an expert to determine how you should proceed.
Choosing the right flooring for your basement is an important decision, and one that involves a lot of different factors. Appearance, texture, feeling, budget, style, lifestyle choice, timescale, ease of cleaning – all play a factor. You can choose from vinyl to tile to laminate to carpet. Before you begin your renovation you need to know you have sure footing.
You have to know what electrical needs you may require in your new basement. Do you need to install or repair lighting? What appliances will be used in this new space? Do you have enough sockets? You need to have all of these questions answered before you begin with your renovation. Electric work is difficult and should only be conducted by a professional electrician.
You can’t enjoy a space without having something to sit on. Adding furniture and furnishings is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the renovation; it’s a time when the room really begins to look like home. Refer to your sketches for furniture placement and ensure to take proper measurements before you buy furniture to make sure it fits in your new renovated basement.
As always, preventing a problem is always far easier, cheaper, and less stressful than paying the price to reacting to one. Plan ahead and you always save. This is your home. It’s worth spending the time to get what you want. (And what you want to keep.)