Basements are often the worst place to be in a home. They tend to be damp, musty, and filled with insects. The only reason you’d go down there is to get some laundry done or be safe during severe weather.
When rating the worst spots in a home to manage, only the attic beats the basement. That’s because many attics are unfinished and hot, and you might run into a much larger rodent or pest up there.
If you’re ready to do something about your basement this year, here are some renovation ideas that can help to get your creative juices flowing.
How to Renovate a Basement on a Budget
1. Think about how you want to use the space.
Before starting the renovation process, it helps to know what your plans are for this space. Will it be a game room? An entertainment area? Extra bedrooms to add value to your home?
Your basement can become everything from a home gym to a second living room. Once you know its purpose, you can select the flooring, paint, and accessories you need.
2. Is storage space needed?
You might need to leave some room for extra storage during your basement renovation. Adding a closet to your plans can help you create some long-term benefits, especially if you have some important things to protect.
3. Think about how much you can afford.
Once you have a picture of the renovation in your mind, it’s time to speak with a contractor about what you can afford. Establishing a budget makes it easier to find the materials and accessories you can include in the project.
Our team can work with you to maximize the value of your investment in a basement remodeling project by selecting the appropriate materials with you. It typically costs between $25 to $50 per square foot, depending on what you want.
4. Clean up the area.
Before your basement project can begin, you’ll need to clean and relocate everything in that space. Many homes have used this area for years for general storage. It can take a day or more to prepare the site for the work. It might be helpful to host a yard sale to get rid of some of those unwanted items.
5. Have moisture testing completed before the work starts.
Reliable contractors will take this step for you. If the basement renovation project is a DIY effort, you’ll need to know where dampness is a problem in this space. When water gets trapped in the flooring or walls, it can lead to mold or mildew growth.
Moisture also stains sheetrock, warps floors, and creates potential electrical hazards. Relative humidity, calcium chloride, and other testing methods are available.
6. Get the permits for the project.
Most basement renovations require a building permit. You might also need code inspections and other documents secured during the process. We’ll help you with this process, which can get a little tricky sometimes when you want to add a bedroom into this space.
7. Add insulation to the exterior walls.
Once the prep work is over, it’s time to start actively renovating the basement. You’ll want to insulate the walls first since they’re typically nothing more than cinder blocks or a concrete slab. You’ll increase your comfort while guarding against higher energy costs.
Some cities require the insulation to be of a specific grade. You’ll want to review the local rules with a trusted contractor or the office responsible for issuing permits and codes.
8. Add the electrical and plumbing.
Once the insulation is in place, you can map out the rooms to determine where outlets and plumbing fixtures need to get added. These details must be up to code, and you might need specific certifications to work on certain tasks. Even if you plan to DIY everything, it’s usually a good idea to bring in a professional for this step.
9. Frame and add your new walls.
If your basement is getting separated into rooms, you’ll need to frame and add the walls to create those areas. That means cutting the 2x4s to the correct length, installing blocking between the overhead joists, and tipping the wall up by attaching the bottom before the top. Once it is up, you can hang the drywall.
Once you have everything prepped, it’s time to install your floors and paint. Add the small touches that you like, including whatever light fixtures you plan to include, and you’ll have the basement of your dreams to use!