Basement remodeling tips to help make the most of your space and money

Submitted by Mike Foti, president of Cleveland Design and Remodeling and Columbus Design and Remodeling

Are you trying to figure out how to add space without spending big bucks? Maybe you’ve got a family member moving in, a teenager that needs more space or you’d like an additional bathroom or home office. If a room addition is out of the question, you may want to look right below your feet – the basement. These tips may help lead you through the basement remodel process.

Clear clutter and clean up

You can’t make the basement nice until you get rid of what’s not. Sell all clutter at a yard sale. You’ll need the space, and you might as well make a few dollars. Examine the walls and floors for cracks, mold and fungus. Fix what you can, and bring in a waterproofing expert if you have more challenging problems.

Make a layout, check it twice

The main challenge in basement remodeling is the number of obstructions you have to creatively work with and around, such as poles, columns and utilities. Develop a scaled floor plan of what’s there now. Include the location of windows, doors, poles, fuse boxes, shutoff valves, appliances, slop sinks and other fixtures. You may even want to do this on traceable paper and overlay the existing plan on the remodeling plan.

Design your dream basement

OK, maybe it doesn’t have to be a dream basement. Think through the rough location, size and type of room for your remodeled space. Try to differentiate between the rooms you need and the rooms you want. Popular choices include bedrooms, bathrooms, home offices, home theaters, workout rooms, hobby and craft areas and dens.

Be creative or know someone who is

The goal of your remodeling project should be to make your space seem less like a basement and more like a bonus room. You want to make your basement feel and work like the first and second floors of your home. Identify unique approaches to work around poles or other fixtures. Look into lighting methods to provide the warm, comfortable feel of a room you want to spend time in.

Don’t skimp today and pay for it tomorrow

It’s better to completely remodel less rooms or space than haphazardly remodel many. Know the rules of basement remodeling for your city or town. If you’re adding a bedroom, TV room, exercise area or common space, you’ll likely need to include an emergency escape egress window. This is not an inexpensive item, but it is required by most building codes. It will have the benefit of added light and ventilation, which are two good selling points. Think about improving your basement windows as well. Glass blocks provide a cost effective solution to add additional air and light while reducing drafts through old metal and wood-framed windows. Make sure to add sound deadening insulation if you’re creating a home office or a bedroom.

Add the fun factor

Think about one or two elements that will really make you want to spend time in your newly renovated space. Maybe it’s a wet bar with a granite countertop and a backlit bar, a steam room, walk-in shower or a complete home theater where you can enjoy movies with the family.

Foti is president of Cleveland Design and Remodeling and Columbus Design and Remodeling.

As of June 15, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.


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