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5 Things to Keep in Mind Before Remodeling Your Basement

1.        Ensure the basement is dry.        

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, ~60% of basements get wet periodically.  This water infiltration can be caused by leaking gutters, cracks in the foundation, poor grading, etc.  Before you begin any renovations, have your basement assessed to determine if you will need to add drainage tile, a sub pump, or fix any of the above-mentioned problems.  Basement seepage or flooding can ruin all the finishes in a renovated basement.  Start with a dry basement.

2.        Invest in a waterproof basement finish system.     

Wood, plywood, or drywall in direct contact with cold/damp concrete is generally not a good idea.  There are several options out there, including In-So-Fast, Matrix, and Owens Corning basement systems.  Continuous, air sealed insulation directly applied to the foundation walls is outstanding for limiting condensation and improving comfort.

3.        Get a permit.    

In order to build or renovate, you need a permit.  Avoiding this key step can lead to numerous problems and code violations.  You can be fined, forced to tear out finishes, or it can complicate the future home sale to have an uninspected renovation.   A finished basement typically does not increase your property taxes and the code official can help ensure plumbing, electrical, and structural work was done properly. 

4.        Consider noise control.   

Adding ceiling insulation or opting for a ‘drop-ceiling’ that absorbs noise is a worthy investment no matter what you’re using your basement for, and it doesn’t break the bank either. 

5.        Check your head room.   

Specific codes requirements can vary, but typically you’ll need at least 7 feet from finished floor to ceiling.  You may not be able to install that insulated floor and ducts or piping may need relocation.  Get code approval early so you know your requirements and options.