Should I Renovate My Basement?

A common question asked by many homeowners is, “Should I renovate my basement?” The positives are fairly obvious; a finished basement opens a large, new usable space in the home. The problem is that renovating a basement can be a large investment and not all basements are great candidates for renovation. When determining whether or not you should renovate your basement, you must first ask yourself how much you are willing to invest. If your basement is going to require a lot of work in order to meet building codes, the project may become a bit of a nightmare, and the finished basement may not add enough value to the home to justify itself. Therefore, to answer your question, you must determine if your basement has any of the following major problems, and if you are prepared to make the necessary repairs.

Excess Water

Should I Renovate My Basement?Water is the primary nemesis of basements everywhere. As the basement is below ground level, it is inevitable that it will come into contact with run-off water and moisture. If your unfinished basement floods regularly, or even shows routine signs of dampness, this is an issue that needs to be fixed before any renovations take place. There are many methods, which can be used together, to waterproof a basement. These include installing drainage pipes, a sump pump, and a dehumidifier. You can use vapor barriers, but you will want to be careful not to trap moisture in areas where mold may grow. The landscape around the home may contribute to the flooding of the basement. If the ground is sloped down toward the home, causing water to pool around the foundation, this is going to make it difficult to prevent basement flooding. If your basement is frequently wet, take a few steps to waterproof the basement first. If you are unable to keep your basement dry for at least a few weeks, there is a good chance you will need to make major changes before your basement will be a suitable candidate.

Low Ceilings

Some basements seem to be a cross between a basement and a crawlspace, considering how low the ceilings are. Most building codes require that finished basements have a clearance of at least seven feet. If your ceiling is lower, this means you would need to dig out the floor of the basement, if that is even a possibility in your area.

Unsafe Staircase

If you live in an older home with a very basic wooden staircase leading to the basement, you may need to make major updates or build an entirely new staircase. For a basement to be considered habitable, there must be a safe, solid staircase equipped with handrails.

Old Electrical System

The electrical systems in older homes are often not equipped to provide electricity to the entire home and a renovated basement. It may be necessary to upgrade to a new, higher amperage electrical panel for your home. Are you still asking yourself, “Should I renovate my basement?” If your basement does not have any of the above issues, or if you are willing to make the necessary improvements, the answer is likely, “Yes.” To gain a better understanding of whether or not you should renovate, consult with The Reno Pros.