Basement Renovation Basics
Renovating an unfinished basement into livable space is a smart investment if you want to expand the living area and the value of your home without enlarging the footprint. However, the unique requirements of a basement remodel makes having an experienced contractor involved in the project mandatory. Not all basements are good candidates for finished living space and familiarizing yourself with your local building codes regarding basements is a good way to begin as you consider a basement renovation.
If you don’t have enough clearance for a seven foot ceiling, or if the basement is too susceptible to flooding, a finished basement may not be possible. Proper drainage and moisture proofing is first priority; this must be solved and completed before any inside renovation is begun. This initial phase is also the time to consider egress windows and outside doors, as earth is being moved around the perimeters. The earth moving stage is also an opportunity to bury new plumbing and electrical lines as drainage ditches are dug and grades are created to move water away from basement walls.
Why Codes Matter
As with drainage, local building codes must be incorporated into the design process at the earliest stages of planning. Household HVAC units, electrical and plumbing are all elements that are not only necessary to the remodeled space, but space will usually need to be relegated to housing systems such as furnaces, water heaters, filtration systems, electrical boxes, etc. Fire doors are sometimes required to seal off mechanical areas; ventilation is regulated as well.
In all, code requirements keep your basement renovation functional, practical and safe. Whether you want to add a man cave, a family room, a home theater, or a home office and work area, basement renovations can give you up to twice the finished floor space in your home and substantially increase the value. Hiring a professional contractor who’s knowledgeable in the complexities of below grade building and renovation is prudent and helps insure a successful final outcome.