When you think of finished basements, maybe you think of a room that isn't finished to the standards of the rooms upstairs. This doesn't need to be the case. But the challenge of creating an inviting and beautiful space is greater in the basement, where the systems and infrastructure of your house need to be concealed tastefully.
A finished basement definitely adds value to your home. Here are a few things to consider in preparation for yours.
Natural light. Natural light is often in short supply in a basement. Many building codes require a second exit from the basement if the space is finished. Get more light and satisfy code requirements by installing an egress window and window well. An egress window is big enough for a person to exit through it, and the well allows more light into your basement. To avoid water problems, have a drain installed at the bottom of the well.
The ceiling. There are always pipes, ducts and wires to conceal. This usually means dropping the ceiling height in certain areas. This is the reason drop ceilings are a popular option.
Of course, the other thing that makes this basement look like it belongs upstairs is the use of drywall. You'll need to place access panels where shutoffs, junction boxes or meters are. Make sure to install the drywall ½ inch off the ground and use moisture-resistant drywall. In the event of a flood this will help.
Fiberglass-faced drywall is even better than paper-faced drywall, because it's the paper that harbors mold. Be prepared to pay extra for finishing the fiberglass drywall, because the whole face should be skim coated with joint compound.
Finished basements traditionally had ceiling tiles, but most people don't like this look, so more and more basements now have drywall ceilings. If you want easy access to the space above the basement ceiling but want a more interesting look, consider sculptural ceiling tiles.
Waterproofing. If you don't have a system in place to deal with the water in the event of a flood, choose a flooring material that can handle getting wet, such as the tile. If you don't have a floor drain, get one installed. It's best to get a drain that ties into the storm drain directly or that drains into a pit with a sump pump in it. If you pay for these systems up front, you won't be paying to replace furniture, rugs and appliances later.
Lighting. The most critical component to making a basement a place people want to hang out is good lighting. If you plan to use recessed lighting in your low ceilings, think of the cone of light that spreads from a recessed light. The closer it is to the floor, the closer you'll need to space the lights to get good coverage. Good lighting design makes a big difference. A variety of lighting types are important so the space can accommodate different uses and moods. Test everything from 2700 to 5500K and see what works for you.
Call Windy City RDM to discuss your basement project. We would be happy to talk about plans and possibilities and discuss all the details!
Windy City RDM, LLC 773-951-4545
Tuesday's Tip! - LED
We’ve all seen it: the blue label with white cursive writing and a star behind it. ENERGY STAR® has served as a trademarked standard in energy-efficient consumer related products for over 20 years. Light bulbs are awarded an ENERGY STAR approval rating if they meet or exceed the qualifications on a list of lighting standards. While these are not all of the standards for ENERGY STAR, light output, energy efficiency, and life-span are vital guidelines that must be met. Let’s take a closer look at these light bulb standards and how they work.
ENERGY STAR rated lighting is commonly found in compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and light emitting diode (LEDs) sources. Both CFL and LED lighting are considered to be energy-efficient forms of lighting when compared to incandescent lights. CFLs for example, use approximately 75% less energy than standard incandescents, while LEDs use up to 90% less energy. Rated bulbs meet incredibly stringent rules that were created by the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the EPA. The EPA is a government agency that works to protect humans from environmental health risks by implementing laws approved by Congress.
In order to be ENERGY STAR rated a light bulb must meet certain light output requirements. Although it is a common misunderstanding, brightness of a bulb is measured by lumens not by watts. Basically, the higher the lumen output, the brighter your bulb will be. Lighting that comes packaged with a rating which includes wattage equivalency explains that they emit at least as many lumens that can be found in standard incandescent lamps. It should be noted that not all light bulb manufactures agree on wattage and lumen equivalency. However, ENERGY STAR rated light bulbs do hold incredibly stringent standards for qualification. For instance, a 25W equal bulb must emit at least 250 lumens, the standard amount for most incandescents to be considered ENERGY STAR qualified. See the chart below for more details.
As we’ve learned in previous posts, not all energy efficient light is created equal. Some bulbs are less efficient than others. For a CFL or LED to meet ENERGY STAR standards, the light must emit a certain lumens per watt. These certified bulbs use less energy than regular or standard incandescent light bulbs. For example, an omnidirectional lamp that uses less than 15 watts must emit at least 55 lumens per watt to be ENERGY STAR rated, and a directional lamp that uses less than 20 watts must emit at least 40 lumens per watt to qualify. It should be noted that light outputs differ for different categories. While most requirements are measured in lumens, PAR and MR bulbs standards are measured by candlepower since they emit a directional light which is concentrated in the center.
In addition to maintaining energy efficiency and lumen life, the bulbs must maintain a certain lifetime criteria. A certified ENERGY STAR CFL lamp will likely last 10 to 25 times longer than non-ENERGY STAR certified bulbs. For example, rated CFLs must have a bulb life minimum of 10,000 hours, 15,000 hours for decorative LED bulbs and 25,000 hours for additional LEDs. Lighting that does not meet this lifetime criteria or better will not be considered for an ENERGY STAR rating.
Additional Rating Considerations
Other factors that are considered by ENERGY STAR for light bulb qualification include CRI, dimming capabilities and lumen maintenance. LEDs must have a CRI that is greater than or equal to 80. Dimness is thoroughly tested and lamps must maintain a maximum and minimum light output when placed on a dimmer. Flicker and noise are also tested and they have to dim at 20% or lower. CFLs must maintain greater than or the equivalent of 90% of initial lumen output within 1000-hours. After a 6000 hour test, LED bulbs have to maintain a certain light output to qualify. For all lamp qualifications, visit ENERGY STAR.
When it comes to LED lighting, we find everyone is different and should sample a few different kelvins. Ultimately, around 3000 is where most of our customers feel best for their kitchens and family rooms despite often starting between 3500 and 5500. The trend right now seems to be back to warm or a slightly higher Kelvin. Perhaps we were trained to feel comfortable with warmer light since the incandescent bulbs most of us grew up with function at around 2700k.
If you have a home project you need help with call Windy City RDM for a fee estimate! We are dedicated to delivering excellences to every detail.
Windy City RDM - 773-951-4545
Few things in life are perfect, but with Windy City RDM you should always expect the very best. In fact, if you're already a Windy City RDM customer it's often because that's what you're seeking for something in the home. Whether it's the best service, end product or overall solution that's our goal for customers..Part of our promise involves using the best that is available on your project. You wouldn't want to build your your new built in out of 2nd tier big box lumber would you? So why paint it with 2nd tier big box coatings?
Choose Windy City RDM and Benjamin Moore coatings for this years exterior painting. With our service guarantee and their product warranty you should find peace of mind investing in your home's exterior this season.
Call us now at 773-951-4545
Spring is the time to paint the exterior of your home. A fresh coat of paint every few years will keep it looking good and protect your siding, windows and trim. Your home is your biggest investment. It’s not that hard to do it yourself if you know the essential steps, or leave it to Windy City RDM – 773-951-4545. Here are some helpful tip if you want to tackle this job on your own.
It's All in the Prep
The secret to a successful paint job is in the prep. If you take your time to do all the essential steps, the results will be a spectacular paint job that will last for years. Here's what you'll need for a quality paint job: exterior flat or eggshell paint; exterior semigloss paint; a pressure washer; a paint sprayer; a paintbrush; painter’s tape; drop cloths; a ladder; a paint scraper; stain-blocking primer; epoxy filler; a medium-grit sanding block; a putty knife; exterior caulk and a caulk gun; and plastic sheeting.
To ensure best coverage, use a pressure washer to remove dirt and dust buildup from the house. Work your way from the top to bottom of the house in a smooth, controlled manner, overlapping each stroke by 8 inches.
Repair Damaged Surfaces
Walk around the perimeter of the house and look for damaged surfaces on wood, masonry, metal, siding or stucco. Use a putty knife to apply epoxy filler to cracks or holes. Once dry, lightly sand the repaired areas using a medium-grit sanding block.
Remove Loose Paint
Walk around the perimeter of the house taking note of any loose or chipped paint. Place drop cloths along the ground, then use a paint scraper or sanding block to remove chipped and loose paint.
Fill In Cracks
Use exterior caulk to fill any gaps between the house and trim, and around doors and windows. If the house has mixed materials such as siding and brick, add caulk along the surfaces where the different materials meet.
Remove the plastic sheeting from the doors, windows and light fixtures. Use a paintbrush to apply two coats of exterior semi-gloss paint color to woodwork and doors.
Painting your home will increase the value; protect your siding, windows and trim. Call Windy City RDM to schedule your free estimate and Start spring with as the best looking house on the street!
Call today Windy City RDM 773-951-4545 today!
Nothing upgrades a room faster than some well-placed trim.
Add, replace, and repair wood trim to spruce up dull rooms and increase the value of your home. Repairs range from simple cleaning to paint touchups. Replacements remove trim that’s beyond repair. And additions—chair rails, crown molding, and base built-ups—turn boring walls into eye-catchers. Best of all, wood trim is inexpensive, so your home improvement dollar goes a long way!
Get into those grooves with a damp microfiber cloth that attracts the dust that’s dulling your trim. Another quick way to clean your baseboards, use dryer sheets to clean baseboards–not only cleans up, coats them to repel pet hair and dust. I’ve also discovered that it repels my curly hair!
It’s so easy to do! And if you have a Swiffer sweeper, you can attach a dryer sheet instead of a cleaning pad! I’ve found this trick keeps my baseboards cleaner much longer than regular dusting!
Wipe baseboards, ceiling molding, windows, and door frames. Don’t forget the tops, which are expert dust catchers.
To get rid of stubborn scuffs and stains on white trim, attack with a little Comet or another abrasive cleaner sprinkled on a damp cloth. And when you really need some muscle, grab a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, the sponge-like pad that wipes out marks … well, like magic.
You won’t be able to wipe away nicks, gouges, and loose trim. Try the following tips to repair wood trim problems:
• Shoot and smooth latex caulk into the ugly lines that appear when trim separates from walls and each other.
• Fill gouges with wood putty.
• Tap finishing nails into loose shoe molding. Cover nail heads with wood putty or a wax pencil.
• Use a rubber mallet to reattach toe kicks wandering away from cabinets.
• Touch up trim repairs with the same color and type of paint as the original. Paint an entire section of the repaired trim so fixes vanish.
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, those old baseboards and shoe moldings still look beat up. Replacing wood trim doesn’t cost as much as you might think. If you’re handy with a miter box and saw, you can replace trim yourself, if not leave it to the pro’s, like Windy City RDM.
Crowns and Rails
Crown molding adds elegance. But don’t overbuild the crown. Ten-foot ceilings can handle 10-inch moldings, while 8-foot ceilings would look overwhelmed with that much trim. Stick to 3- to 5-inch molding on lower ceilings.
Protect walls with chair rails. Generally, place chair rails one-third of the way up from the floor, or install them where the backs of your chairs hit the wall.
Build up baseboards by adding trim on top of what you already have. Before you dive in, tape a few samples above your current base to see if they visually get along.
If this sounds like more than you want to get involved in alone, give us a call to schedule your free estimate.
Windy City RDM, LLC at 773-951-4545