If you've got an unfinished basement space in your home, you've probably given some thought to what it might take to turn it into a livable space. Perhaps you'd like to gain some extra income by turning it into an apartment and renting it out, or maybe you and your family could just use more general living space. Whatever the reason, renovating your basement will increase the value of your home by adding more livable space. Following are five things that you can do to make your unused basement into a liveble, valuable space.
Insulate the Walls and Floors
Unfinished basements often lack insulation, which doesn't really matter much if the basement is only used for storage or not at all. Insulation helps keep regulate temperatures as well as providing a sound barrier, and both of these factors are important for health and comfort reasons if your basement is going to be used as a living space.
Install Egress Windows
Basements are known to be dank and dark places, and existing windows in unfinished basements, if they exist at all, are generally small afterthoughts. Installing egress windows allows more lights to come in as well as providing a way for household residents to quickly exit the basement in case of an emergency.
Install a Ventilation System
Most unfinished basements also lack ventilation systems, but airflow is important in household living spaces. Not only does it help keep airborne mold spores from forming colonies, but it also disperses fumes from heaters and ranges and helps keep humidity levels down.
Most basement floors are made from concrete, which means they provide a hard, cold surface that most people find inhospitable and uncomfortable. If carpeting just isn't for you, keep in mind that wood flooring usually doesn't work in basements because even with good ventilation, basement environments are humid enough so that wood flooring runs the risk of warping. Ceramic tiles are a good option in you simply don't care for carpeting, but keep in mind they'll be cold on bare feet.
Waterproofing your basement is a good idea even if you don't intend on using it as a living space because doing so protects your home's foundation, but it's doubly important if you're planning on refinishing your basement in order to protect its added value.
Basement waterproofing techniques vary depending on the individual characteristics of your home as well as climate and environmental conditions where you live. If you're on high ground in an area that doesn't get much precipitation, you'll probably only need basic sealing to keep your basement dry. However, if your home is situated in a low area and you get lots of rain or snow, you'll probably need to install drains around the foundation and install a sump pump.