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