You are looking to renovate your basement and create a finished basement for your family, it may interest you to know it is often one of the most popular home improvement projects. When a project like that is done right, you add extra living space and value to your home. It is a must to find the right contractor but there are other things that you may not be aware of when it comes to creating a finished basement.
Do You Have Permits
If there is one thing that is often overlooked or ignored it is getting municipal building permits. The building permit is your insurance that the job is done properly and up to code. A reliable contractor will know that permits are required but you don’t want to rely on your contractor to get them. In the end, it is the responsibility of the homeowner.
A lot of homeowners believe that getting permits is a hassle and another place that wants your money. I am here to tell you that it is worth it. If there is a problem with the work done and you don’t have a permit then you will be held at fault. For example, let’s say you had an electrical fire. The Fire Marshall’s office and your insurance company will perform investigations into the cause. If it shows the electrician did shoddy work and there was no inspection to certify the work was up to code then the blame will fall on you.
If you decide down the road to sell your home, permits are also important. Potential buyers may contact the municipal office for proof that the work that was done included a building permit. If permits were never obtained, or if the permits remain open and the final inspection was never done, the potential buyer may decide to walk away.
Closing in a Furnace Room
The area of your basement that houses your furnace and water tank should not be part of your basement renovation. You want this area to be separate with enough space for proper ventilation. Understandably, you want to maximize the space in your plans but you don’t want to close in your furnace and water heater to the point that you remove sufficient combustion air to breathe and for maintenance work to be done. Proper ventilation is important as a way to prevent fires. Most furnace rooms should have at least one vent at floor level and another at ceiling level. A certified HVAC professional will ensure that the furnace won’t “choke” and that vent sizes are adequate.
Walls Are Not Square and Plumb
If you are not sure you can renovate your basement because the walls are not square, don’t get discouraged. This is not unusual, especially in older homes. The good news is that framing the walls is where this is corrected. Your contractor will make sure the framing is square and plumb. Crooked framing will result in walls and trim that don’t look even and they will also make hanging shelves and cabinets difficult to install. This is another reason you want to hire a professional that has experience.
Insulating your basement is just a good idea it is a must. Failure to do so is asking for mold and mildew problems. It is important to create a thermal break between the warm air inside and the cooler air outside. This prevents condensation and mold building up.
Spray foam insulation is also mold and mildew resistant, which is a bonus. You’ll also want a thermal break on your floor. A membrane can be used to great a thermal break beneath a tile floor. If you’re installing carpet, an underpad with a foil backing is a good choice, and for laminate and wood floors, a subfloor system with a vapor barrier should be installed (although I don’t recommend installing real hardwood in the basement).
It’s important to do your homework when considering a basement renovation. Researching the right contractor is important, but you also want to be aware of what is required and what your contractor will need to do.