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Proper Basement Finishing

Your Basement Health Checklist

Proper Basement Finishing – A Tough Job in 3 Easy Steps

Your basement can be more than just a storage and utility area that smells funny and scares the kids. You can turn it into a full-scale living space and get more out of your home. All it takes is proper planning and some hard work. Of course, if you do the planning right, the work won’t be so hard.

A lot goes into finishing a basement. If you’re reasonably handy around the house, you can do your own basement finishing. But lots of folks choose to work with a contractor to make sure you get the job done right. It also makes it quite a bit easier.

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Step 1 – Draw up a Plan

Start by making a scale drawing. This plan should include wall dimensions, the sizes of windows and doors, and the function of each room. Include any other features you’ll need like new plumbing fixtures. Measure the ceiling height and include any obstructions like pipes or vents. You’ll submit this plan to the building instructor for their approval before you start.

An important part of your plan is flooring. Concrete and carpet are the most used basement flooring options, but they’re not always ideal. Carpet is especially bad if you’re putting in a bathroom because it’s perfect for mold growth. Concrete is easy but it doesn’t create a very friendly living space. Putting in a subfloor is a good way around the problem of flooring. It’s nicer than concrete and it helps to keep the floor dry. Subfloor usually consists of polystyrene sheets covered with plywood.

Step 2 – Take Care of Any Water Issues

Before you start any work on your basement, you need to resolve all water and moisture issues. If you don’t, it’ll be a persistent problem and you may end up with a space so musty no one will hang out there. If you’ve got water seepage or drainage issues, take care of them. It’s not a bad idea to totally upgrade your basement waterproofing before you finish it. Seal up cracks in the walls and foundation.

Along with waterproofing, you should think about drainage. Even with the best waterproofing in place, you still may have water issues and you need a way to get it out of the house. The best solution is to install a sump pump. This is a small pump that usually sits in a small pit on the floor. Any water that enters the basement drains down to this pit and it pumps it out to a drainage pipe, which leads the water away from the house. There are other drainage options available and all have their merits, but make sure you’ve got something in place.

Step 3 – Framing and Drywall

The first step in finishing your basement is framing. This means building the wall frames that are going to support your drywall. This is the physical part of the job but in many ways it’s much easier than the planning phase. You’ll make vertical joists, top and bottom plates that go horizontally along the floor and ceiling respectively, and blocking for support.

After your frames are in place, it’s time to put in drywall. Try to cut your drywall as little as possible. If you’ve got larger pieces they’ll be much easier to install and this will cut down on labor. Make your measurements and cut. Assemble it piece by piece and nail it to the framing. Then, cover the creases and paint your walls.

Framing takes handyman skills and physical labor, but the planning stage is the most crucial. Make sure that you also take the time to get your waterproofing upgraded before you start. Once it’s finished, it’ll be much tougher to do this.