A basement is perhaps the most versatile space in a home. When finished, it can be a home office, an extra bathroom, a den, living room, laundry room, or just extra storage for the home. When deciding how to refinish basement space, the first step is to decide what the space will be used for. A sketch of the space, along with the measurements, can be helpful in choosing how to refinish basement space for the most effective use of that space.
Basements are subject to building codes just like every other part of a home, and perhaps even more, depending on the area. Some local building codes have basement ceiling height or waterproofing codes. You may need a building permit for the project, and it may be a good idea to find out about the local codes before deciding how to refinish basement space to your plans. If the codes are particularly stringent, it may be easier and less expensive to make a few changes to the plans.
If the plan calls for finishing the basement yourself, it may be worthwhile to bring in a contractor to bring the basement up to code, and then to finish the rest of the work without him. The local courthouse will be able to tell you where to go to get a license and how to refinish basement space to stay within the code.
Things to Plan For
While you may have drawn up plans on how to refinish basement space for a good use of that space, there may be a few things that were not planned. Lighting in basements is one particular concern, as they often have no windows, or the windows are very small. Extra lighting may need to be installed if the new basement will be used often.
Many people refinishing a basement will hire professionals to handle electrical issues such as lighting, even if they plan on doing other things themselves. An electrician should be able to assess the situation and help design a lighting plan that will fit the space available.
Frequently basements house an extra bathroom, which comes with a set of problems of its own. The plumbing may fall under building codes and may need to be contracted out. Few problems can be as costly as plumbing problems, and hiring a qualified plumber may be more expensive, but it can save money in any repairs or damage down the road. A plumber can tell you how to refinish basement plumbing to work with what is already in place.
Basement flooring can be a difficult choice, since so many basements have problems with flooding. Wall to wall carpet can seem like a nice idea, but carpets subjected often to moisture will eventually become mildewed and musty. Many people leave the concrete floors of the basement intact and use rugs for a homier feel.
But one idea in how to refinish basement floors is to use a stamped or etched concrete to achieve a look that will go with the new design. Concrete has come a long way since its plain gray days, and now can be stained and etched to look like tile or even wood.
When deciding how to refinish basement spaces, many people do not consider the placement of a basement sump system. Many areas need the systems, and some building codes actually require them to be present in basements in case of flooding. The space can incorporate the sump placement in its design so that it will be a place where it can work the fastest to prevent flood damage. Once the basement is up to code and the flooring and lighting have been decided, the sky is the limit on the number of things the finished basement can be used for.