As the cost of living continues to climb, many homeowners have reconsidered the idea of moving. Instead, homeowners are choosing to stay put and to make improvements on their current homes. Add a shortage of inventory and low mortgage rates to the equation and it begins to make sense why homeowners are not actively searching for a new place to call home.
When it comes to home improvements, a finished basement can prove to be a wise decision. Any wasted space can quickly become a play area for your children, an entertainment room, or a weight room for yourself and your family members. When placing a home on the market for sale, a finished basement has the potential to catch far more eyes of potential buyers than a home without a finished basement. Additionally, you can justify bumping up the selling price when you have a finished basement. Your home will undoubtedly show more effectively at an open house. Real Estate agents will thank you later!
It is important to note that, if you do not take the necessary proactive measures before taking this smart step in finishing your basement, you could be faced with a damp, musty mess on your hands that will cost you more of your time, money, and sanity.
- Protect against moisture.
When moisture is able to accumulate in a fixed space, that leaves the possibility of a number of negative outcomes including: mold, mildew, and musty odors. In addition, floors can become ruined, and drywall and framing materials can be destroyed.
Signs of moisture build up include but are not limited to: condensation on pipes, damp walls, and wet spots on your floors.
Cleaning out your gutters and caulking the cracks in your walls is a good way to prevent matters from getting worse and putting a potential costly home insurance claim on your hands. Other ways to secure your home may include adding French drains and a sump pump. If you think matters are beyond your control, consider calling in a professional to assess the situation.
- Choose the right materials.
Adding insulation around the exterior walls of your basement is a surefire way to ensure your home is protected. Insulation will help regulate the temperature. Various forms of insulation that are appropriate for a basement include:
When you build your home, it is important to choose materials that are strong enough to withstand the wrath of water. For your walls, consider shing moisture-resistant drywall. As far as your floors are concerned, consider using luxury vinyl planks and tiles. If you choose to go the carpet route, remember to install a vapor barrier like dimpled polyethylene in order to prevent water damage.
- Plan for access to essential systems.
When you are finishing your basement, it is important to keep in mind that your furnace, water heater, electric panel and wiring, and water pipes and sewer lines are easily accessible. If you ignore this, you may be forced to cut through drywall in order to make a necessary repair, which will certainly cost you more. In order to make these areas accessible, do the following:
- Install a drop ceiling for easy access to overhead pipes and wires
- Add access doors or panels for areas that are hard to reach.
- Plenty of unfinished space should be left around your HVAC system, your water heater, and around your appliances.
- Consider the ceiling height.
According to the International Residential Code (IRC), a basement living space should have clear floor-to-ceiling height of at least 7 feet. Recessed light fixtures can help you save headroom.
- Add baseboard heating.
Basements can become frigidly cold in the winter. Since space heaters can pose a threat to your home’s well-being due to the risk of a fire, consider installing electrical baseboard heating instead. Because hot air rises, baseboard heat can help keep your living space warm.
- Don’t forget about lighting.
Windows can add more natural light into your home. Before you begin installing lights, add windows anywhere you can. Nobody enjoys being in a dark basement. We’ve all seen Home Alone, haven’t we?
- Add essential safety features.
Add handrails along your stairways. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Be sure to have your home professionally inspected for radon. A professional can better assess the radon levels inside your home to make sure everything is safe.
If you are planning to add a spare bedroom to your basement, make sure you have an emergency exit nearby.
- Know the code.
Consult your local building department before starting any renovation or building project for your basement. There are always guidelines that need to be followed and you wouldn’t want to be in a position where something you’ve completed goes against the departments legal guidelines.
- Call us!
As you have probably already imagined, any kind of renovation or addition, especially a finished basement, is going to add significant value to your home. As such, you will want to call us to make sure these new additions to your home are properly added to your home insurance policy. We will help make sure that, in the event of a total loss, your home is restored back to its original state.