Concrete floors and walls aren’t very inspiring, but there’s potential in the basement. Many basements turn into giant closets—essentially, dumping grounds for unwanted stuff in the house. If this sounds familiar, then it’s time to get rid of all that junk and make your basement into something great. If you are a DIYer, this is basically the Super Bowl of home renovations. If you’re not, that’s cool too; there are plenty of contractors looking for work. There are some important steps for finishing a basement to make it great.
Decide What You Want
Before putting even one nail in, decide what you want your basement to be. You need to have a game plan so you can pick out furnishings, lighting, electronics, and any other fixtures. There are plenty of essentials you need for a home theater; for instance, you’ll have different electricity needs than if you want a home gym. Think about these factors before moving forward.
Check for Water
Assuming you’ve lived in the house for a few years, if there’s water coming in, you’ll know where it’s at. Have a professional come in to seal the basement and prevent any further water from coming in. If it’s a new house, have someone come in and check the foundation. It’s silly to move forward and finish a basement if it’s going to get wet the first time it rains.
In addition to the waterproofing, make any necessary repairs in the basement now. Fixing any cracks in the foundation or replacing a window is a lot easier at this stage in the game. Putting drywall up only to have to tear it down to fix something will cost more money and is hardly efficient.
Frame and Insulate
Once all the repairs are made, it’s time to frame the basement. The framing is essentially the basement’s skeleton. The drywall, insulation, electrical wires, and lights are all attached to the wood frame. Make sure to check the doorways and ensure they are standard sizes, so there’s no problem finding a door to fit the space.
Once the frame is up, it’s time to run the electric and add any HVAC runs you might want or need. Before starting, map out where you want outlets and switches. With the amount of electronics modern houses have, be sure you put enough in so you can power all the TVs and devices.
Drywall and Paint
After all the utilities are run, it’s time to hang the drywall. Start at the top and make your way down. Break up the seams so you don’t have a long seam that runs from the ceiling to the floor. Make good measurements when cutting out lights and outlets. They can be off a half-inch at most; otherwise, the covers won’t hide the gaps. When painting, make sure to put down a primer coat. New drywall soaks up the paint, and you’ll end up spending a lot of money putting on multiple coats.