Reclaiming Your Basement Living Area

Reclaiming Your Basement Living Area

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Finished Basement

Your Basement Can Become A Terrific Living Area

One of the least costly home renovation projects involves fixing up a room you may already have in your home that is not currently being used. Attic space and the garage are two areas which can be converted into habitable space as can a basement. Taking away attic space means getting rid of an important area of storage while converting a garage into living space means your cars will have to stay outside.

A basement, if you have one, can be the best choice for a new living area as many homes already come with a partially finished living area below ground. Habitable during Spring and Fall, basements need a cooling mechanism when outside temperatures soar and a heating capability when they dip. For as little as a few thousand dollars, you can convert that unused space into a recreation room, play room, or family room adding needed room and value to your home.

Two Matters To Keep In Mind Before Converting Your Basement

Before you convert your basement there are two things to keep in mind: is your basement dry and is the ceiling at least seven feet high? If you regularly have water problems with your basement, then you may find converting this area into living space much more costly then you had expected. Drains, water diversion systems and outside grading can keep water from entering your basement while having a dehumidifier handy will help remove dampness. Waterproofing the walls can go a long way toward keeping water out.

If your ceiling area is low, anyone over six feet tall may have trouble using your basement. Pipes, electrical conduits and heating ducts can be hidden behind a false ceiling, but if that ceiling is too low, then using your basement as a living area becomes less appealing. In order to free up limited head space, a qualified HVAC contractor could reroute the equipment.

Local Building Codes Can Be A Factor

In some locales, home building codes forbid the finishing of any basement that doesn’t meet certain building code criteria (e.g., ceiling heights, number of exits). Always make sure that your home improvement project gets the necessary approvals before progressing. Being forced to rip out a job that violates local building codes is a costly and frustrating endeavor.

Using The Existing Heating And Cooling System

If your home’s current HVAC system is large enough, a home improvement contractor may be able to extend the current heating and cooling system to cover the basement. This is a much less costly house remodeling project then having a separate HVAC system installed.

If your home doesn’t already have central air conditioning, then cooling the basement will require a separate system or an upgrade of your home’s current HVAC unit. Then again if you live in an area where heat waves are not a regular occurrence, you may find installing a separate system not cost effective. A good alternative would be to consider purchasing a portable air conditioner, one with enough BTUs to cool the entire living area.

Enjoyment And Value

Finally, when considering any home improvement project ask yourself two questions: Will it bring enjoyment to you? Does it add to your home’s value? You certainly want the benefit of an enjoyable living area, but having that area add value to your home in the event you should one day sell it is worth keeping in mind.

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