Getting a basement remodel just right

One of the more popular remodeling requests contractors encounter at this time of year is from homeowners who want to have a finished basement. After all, during a long, cold winter it only makes sense that people would want a new room in their homes where they can feel nice and cozy. With that in mind, it’s important to think about how homeowners are looking to have their basements finished at this time of year.

Among the most popular ways in which people are envisioning putting finished rooms in their basements to good use is by converting them into beautiful home theaters where the whole family can watch their favorite movies and TV shows, and even sports, according to Total Basement Finishing. These rooms typically have either lush carpeting or hardwood floors, plenty of comfortable seating, easily adjustable lighting, and, of course, space for a huge TV or projector setup.

In addition, it’s important for homeowners and contractors alike to make sure they remember to include plenty of shelf space so people can store their Blu-Rays, CDs, records, and other media they will want to put to good use in this new space.

Along similar lines, many owners might want to convert their basement into their own personal living room (or even “man cave”) where they can hang out and relax with friends and family. Here, too, hardwood may be the preferred flooring – with vinyl being a good alternative – and there has to be space for seating and a big TV, but also potentially other features, such as a pool table, dart board, place to read, refrigerator, and so on.

What should contractors watch out for
Of course, beyond the specifics of what people want to use their finished basements for, contractors have a lot to consider when it comes to getting the space ready to accommodate those desires, according to This Old House. For instance, not all basements have the same amount of headroom as the other floors, so homeowners and contractors have to work together to determine if they’re comfortable with the amount of floor-to-ceiling space available. If not, there are ways to address that, but contractors need to advise owners that the process likely won’t be cheap.

It’s also a good idea for contractors to approach such a job with living conditions top of mind. For instance, basements are often much damper than other, above-ground parts of the home, so contractors would be wise to make sure every inch of that finished space is waterproofed, and that there’s plenty of pumping power in place to protect that room if the basement happens to flood. Along similar lines, installing mold-resistant drywall instead of the usual material is another smart way to keep those rooms in great shape.

Keep it comfortable
In addition to keeping everything dry in the ways described above, it might also be smart for contractors to put drainage mats beneath whatever flooring surfaces they install, according to Family Handyman. As the name implies, this will be a good way to keep floors dry by adding extra opportunities for drainage, but also it keeps them warmer in the winter by keeping them away from the cold concrete of the foundation below. Going beyond that step, it may be wise to install in-floor heating for homes where cold flooring can be a particular problem.

Then, several feet above the floors, it often makes sense for contractors and homeowners to install some soundproofing material in the ceiling to cut down on the noise from people walking around on the first floor, the report said. This is especially important if the basement is being used for entertainment purposes.

Of course, contractors should always work in close concert with their clients to make sure everyone involved knows what’s expected at every step of the renovation process. Doing so will make things go more smoothly and lead to greater satisfaction when the space is finally complete and ready for use.