Finishing the Unfinished Basement - Is it worth it?

Monday Sep 30th, 2019

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Finishing your unfinished basement is a sure way to get more usable space while increasing the overall square footage of your home, without without having to explore larger projects like building an addition on your home. Often, an unfinished basement will be a large amount of inefficient use of space in your home.  By finishing that space to your own design, you increase the livable space in your home.

Consider the following points of interest before exploring your next home project:

  • Thinking Ahead – Before jumping right into a home renovation as big as completing an unfinished basement, take the time to research the professionals you're considering and obtain quotes from them. PIck at least three to start with, and go from there to determine which contractor will fit your budget and who can also complete the job you have in mind in a timely fashion. You may also need an architect for the design and space planning, as well as an interior designer to really bring your dream basement to life. Explore the vast space of the internet to research pricing of the various finishes and products available in today's marketplace to establish your budget.
  • Your Goal – What's the reason why you wan't to finish your basement? Is it to add more bedrooms? To have a space for another family to live and create a source of income through a rental property? Do you want to add a home theater and create that man-cave you've always wanted? Or, do you just need more space to use as storage? Think about this, and you will find the next steps easier to manage.
  • Foundation – Your basement is bare, so it's the best time to identify and fix any foundation and structural issues. Depending on the overall condition, you may need a professional engineer to asses load capacity, excavation and the need to fix foundation issues if your design and budget calls for it. Also, lok for any moisture issues before you begin. Doing this afterwards will be very difficult to manage, so do this first, and you will increase the thermal insulating performance of your home, which can also reduce your gas bill!
  • Flooring – The materials you choose for your new floors can range from carpting, hardwood and some really nice laminates. However, due to increased moisture levels in basements, you may want to stay away from laminate. As an added precaution, consider vapor barriers and other insulating products below the new flooring material.
  • Lighting – With a new basement, you will need to consider what the lighting requirements are and what your preferences will be. You can even go as far as enlarging windows  to allow more natural light to come in. Consult your contractor to find out if the surrounding walls can support an increased load of additional windows. Also, think about the headroom you might have to sacrifice by adding your chosen electric lighting fixtures.
  • Ceilings – Drywall is a popular option since it really "completes" the look. However, you may want to consider a more accessible ceiling, such as one that is suspended. This can allow easy access to things such as plumbing, electrical fixtures and ductwork. You cannot do this with drywall unless custom access panels are created.
  • Keep it open – Avoid cutting up the basement into too many rooms. An open basement should be inviting to enjoy the most usable space. If there are walls that need to be removed, consider if they are load bearing or not.

So, is it worth completing an unfinished basement? Simply put, yes, it's worth it. Remodeling indicates that completing a basement will provide a 70.3% return on your investment. This is one of the highest ROI's in the realm of home projects. It's a great way to gain more value and usable living space in your home. If remodeling your basement is something you're considering, explore your options carefully and don't be afraid to think outside of the box!

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