Were you scared of the basement as a kid? Did the cooler air, cobwebs and flickering lightbulbs keep you up at night? The time has come to shed the image of the creepy, dirty basement! No longer is the space under your house destined for use as a workshop, a laundry room, or a vessel for unused boxes. We live in the era of the finished basement, and yours deserves more.

Of course, finishing a basement is no easy task. The extra space also presents some creative obstacles. Here are our suggestions for finishing a basement, as well as some practical thoughts before you begin.

Using the Space

A basement’s down-under nature makes it the perfect place for escaping the world. A DIY home theater is easy to set up, even if it’s just a few recliners. It’s also the perfect place for a game room or man cave. Speaking of noise, the basement is a great place to set up a practice space for kids in band (or the adults who dream of getting theirs back together.)

If your family is looking to grow, refinishing a basement can be a practical alternative to moving. You can add bedrooms for more kids or relatives who need in-house care.

Finishing Precautions

With those ideas in mind, finishing a basement is no small task. While an intrepid DIYer can certainly take parts of it on, there are aspects of the job best left to a custom home professional. Precautions include:

  • Moisture: subterranean construction has its problems, namely water intrusion. Cement is porous, and needs to be sealed before you install walls and flooring. You should also consider redoing gutters to direct water away from your home. Extreme cases can require a sump pump, which are reasonably priced but difficult to install.
  • Layout: if you’re putting up walls, consider the layout carefully. Bedrooms will benefit from windows, meaning they need to be on the outside; darker areas are perfect for a TV. You also need to leave space for water heaters and other equipment. If you need to add space for windows, use a window well.
  • Height Clearance: a short basement is uncomfortable and uninviting. More than that, it’s sometimes against code if it’s finished. You can give your basement height by either underpinning or benching. Underpinning – the more complex of the two – literally extends your foundation downward. Benching instead creates a sort of “sub-foundation” by pouring a bench of concrete around. It’s cheaper, but you lose square footage.

A finished basement can add value and a unique space to your home. Just make sure you plan it properly, or you could find yourself buried! If you have questions about building a custom home with a finished basement in Chapel Hill, contact Bold Construction today!

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