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How to Finish Your Basement

Looking to turn your unfinished basement into a new room for your house? Here are a few things that you should take into account before you start your basement renovation project:

Depending on the amount of space that is available, your basement could be set up to create additional storage or to add new rooms. The possibilities are endless!

Can your basement be finished?

According to the CMCH (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation), you have to ask yourself four questions before getting involved into any kind of basement finishing project.

  • Do you have to bend down to avoid a beam or a conduct?
  • Are there any signs of humidity and/or mold on the walls and floors?
  • Do the clothes and objects stored in your basement smell moldy?
  • Are there any cracks on the floors and walls?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, you will have to consider that the fact that additional steps will need to be undertaken in order to make the project possible.

Humidity: the main challenge

Because of the fact that your basement is buried under the ground level, the room temperature within its walls will vary a lot less than in the other parts of your house. Therefore, it will be pleasant year-round. However, when renovating your basement to turn it into a livable space, you need to make sure that humidity-levels are well under control. The basement walls will have to be constructed in a way that turns them into barriers against humidity coming from the outside. This kind of work is very delicate and contains certain risks, therefore, it's better to work with a professional contractor who will make the right choices.

Photo: Decor Pad

Photo: Decor Pad

Things to take into consideration for your basement renovation project

Whatever the purpose of your new space, you'll want to create a basement that is well organized and inhabitable. Take the time to review these aspects: First of all, if you're going to use the basement on a regular basis, try to include at least a few sources of natural light.  This can be done using windows and light shafts. If you're going to create rooms in your basement, use room dividers that let the lit in, such as glass panes and clear glass blocks.

The next step would be to think about the artificial lighting systems you will be using. Options include light fixtures which are mounted inside the ceilings or floors, wall lights and lamp posts. Even with natural lighting coming into the rooms, basements tend to be dark. Proper lighting is crucial to make the space pleasant. In keeping with the idea of bringing in as much light as possible, choose decoration materials that have reflective qualities. Glass, metal and lacquered surfaces have the right characteristics to suit this purpose.

Lastly, if you decide to include a room where water will be used (laundry room, bathroom, indoor spa), you will have to get a pump to get rid of waste water. In this case, don’t forget to plan for an appropriate aeration system.

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