Basement Remodeling - Ideas and Planning

Ideas for plans, floors and ceilings

Basement remodeling

Basement remodeling is one of the best-known ways of maximizing the available living space in your home, but the trend has come a long way since the days of games rooms and concrete floors.

The basement used to be somewhere for rowdy kids to work off some excess energy, or somewhere for antisocial adolescents to sleep, but now the basement is coming into its own as a stylish place to relax.

Basement remodeling: plans and ideas

Your basement remodeling: flooring

The key to successful basement remodeling is to think of the basement as part of the house, rather than as a separate zone (unless, of course, it's your kids' territory and they've put a large "KEEP OUT" sign on the door). This means that you can't have the same flooring in your basement as you would in your garage. Bare concrete is definitely out. However, it's hard to choose which flooring is best for your basement. Wood is a popular choice, but there are disadvantages. For example, wood doesn't work well on uneven floors (a common basement issue) and you should avoid wood flooring if there is any chance of water getting into your basement. Fake woods are an alternative, although some people think they look just that - fake.

Other options for your flooring are tiling (perhaps marble or ceramic), vinyl and carpet. Ceramic tiles can be very stylish, but they're not very warm on your feet unless you invest in an expensive under-floor heating system. If you're concerned about costs, vinyl is usually the cheapest option, but loses marks for style. Carpet is warm and comfortable on the feet, although it's not as hardwearing or as easy to clean as tiling.

Basement remodeling: the great ceiling debate

When you're redesigning your basement, one of the biggest decisions is whether you should go for a soft or a hard ceiling - that is, a temporary, removable ceiling or a more permanent wallboard ceiling. There are arguments in favor of both. A soft ceiling gives you quicker access to the nitty-gritty of your basement: water lines, electrical wiring, etc. That means that you can deal with problems more quickly. However, a hard ceiling is more attractive and helps to integrate your basement with the rest of the house.

Basement remodeling: successful integration

When you're turning your basement into a living space just like any other part of the house, you need to get rid of the factors that make it seem different. The qualities that scream "Basement!" the loudest are a chilly feeling and harsh lighting. You need to deal with these issues before you begin choosing basement furniture or a theme.

The chilliness can be greatly reduced with good insulation. One of the most common forms of insulation for basements is rigid foam, also known as fiberglass board or extruded polystyrene. To prolong the life of your insulation and stop moisture getting into the basement, make sure you also have a vapor barrier (usually a sheet of plastic) between the insulation and the drywall.

You can compensate for a basement's lack of natural sunlight by installing good lighting. Softness is the key here - don't overcompensate by installing harsh, bright lights. It is possible to buy light bulbs that replicate the effect of daylight, and these are a good option for your basement.


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