Basements often sit, unused, as wasted space in your home. Many basements are not in good enough condition to be considered “living space” however the square footage should be utilized as a part of your home. Taking the time to employ some cost effective tips to help make your basement more livable can help you to take advantage of each and every square foot in your home for optimal room. Here are 5 easy ways to get started using this space and reveal your basement’s potential.
- One of the things that can make typical basements unlivable is the fact that they attract moisture and dampness. This should be the first issue you address in a basement if you intend to turn it into a living space. If you don’t correct these issues, you may end up wasting any other renovations in your basement because moisture and water can ruin them. In order to rectify any moisture issues, first be sure to fix any cracks in the foundation of your home. This can be done with a water-resistant grout to seal your home’s structure from outdoor elements. Next, make sure your home has appropriate drainage in the basement. This will help allow water that may leak in, to drain out of the room and help to avoid puddles building up along the walls.
- Once any cracks or holes are sealed properly, you can improve the condition and look of your basement’s walls. An ideal way to improve your walls is to use typical 2X4 stud walls. You can then fill the walls with a fiberglass insulation to keep the cold air out since your basement is underground and the coolness will easily seep in if not properly insulated. Using 2X4’s can leave you plenty of room for this insulation as well as electrical wiring within the walls. This project will take up a decent amount of floor space, however, so if your space is on the smaller side you may want to consider another option. Instead, you can use 2X2’s and utilize furring strips with foam to insulate the space without taking up too much square footage in your basement. This may be a bit more difficult in regard to electrical wiring, but it is worth it if it can help you to salvage precious living space.
- Next, consider the floors of your basement space. Cold and damp temperatures enter a basement from the floor up. Therefore it is important to lay a moisture barrier between the floor and your actual finished flooring. You should choose a material such as polyethylene, which acts as a barrier against moisture. If you have the space with higher ceilings, you may even consider installing insulation under your flooring to keep the cold from entering your basement.
- Dampness is also important to consider in the air. If the air is damp, it can lead to the development of mold and air that is stale and uncomfortable for breathing. Since basements are usually cold, you will first want to install some sort of heating system. A good option is to install baseboard heating. While this will definitely help the temperature, it will do nothing for the moisture issue since it does nothing to circulate air within your basement space. To solve this problem, be sure to also install fans either on the ceiling or purchase standing fans. You can also invest in a dehumidifier that can pull moisture from the air and collect it.
- Finally, you can install a convenient and great looking ceiling. An ideal option for your basement ceiling is to use suspended ceilings. These are ceiling tiles that are pieced together like a puzzle. They are easy to remove and replace so that you can simply access any electrical wiring. If you use a drywall ceiling, you would have to include access points to that you can get to this wiring, which is more difficult to do.
Using these easy and cost effective methods will help you to make your basement a space you can actually use and live in. You will be able to improve the indoor air quality, keep out moisture that can cause mold, and keep the space at a comfortable temperature. Employing these simple options will increase the amount of living space you have in your home improving the resale value of your home and giving your family more space to enjoy!