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Steps To Great Basements

By the author of: "Remodel Like A Pro"

A carpenter by trade, mechanical engineer by heart and home inspector by choice John devoted his life to quality home improvement. His wide range of experience in home remodeling equips him to writing technical guides for builders and remodeling contractors.

by John Rivera

Forget any uneasy feelings you've ever had about basements. The space is yours, and it can be what you want to make it. Whether you're building a new home or looking for space to expand an old one, your basement is a buried treasure; the secret to finding its riches involves just a few key steps. This page is a treasure map that will set your steps in the right direction.

Seeing The Light In Your Basement

Basements are often seen in 3-D, only here the three dimensions are Dark, Dank, and Dingy. Overcome this common misconception and you can add valuable living area to your home. The result is well worth the time it takes to evaluate your basement's potential and plan for finished rooms.

Darkness. Proverb writers and lyricists will tell you it's better to light one little candle than to curse the darkness. That solitary candle won't cut it in the world of basements. You need LIGHT, lots of it - all you can get from outdoors, and all you can add from electrical fixtures.

    Start your plans by thinking about windows. You goal should be to maximize the amount of daylight available to your basement. Don't restrict yourself to the tradition of small windows marching around the top of your basement walls. With a mix of imagination and excavation, you'll see the light. For example, digging window wells can help bring in vast amounts of light. Plan to excavate far below the lower edge of your window so that you can fill the hole with drainage rock and gravel. A contractor or designer can advise you if a more sophisticated drainage system can be installed for your window well.
    A daylight basement is easy to develop on a sloping lot. With careful attention to drainage, you can gain the same brilliant benefits anywhere. Here's proof, a photo below shows a belowground room that reaches out to sunlight. The sunroom bump-out, 8-foot ceiling, and mirror wall add a spacious feeling.
    If your basement will be used for sleeping, building codes typically require windows that are at least 2 feet wide and 3 feet high, with the sill no more than 44 inches off the floor. That's minimal; if your professional adviser says the wall won't be weakened, try to make the opening as wide as possible.

Dank dismay. Basement construction has been described as digging a well and then trying to keep water out. Still, dampness doesn't have to put a damper on your plans. To test for dampness, tape a mirror facing the wall. If moisture condenses on the mirror, through-wall dampness is the culprit. The cause is hydrostatic pressure, which increases during the rainy season and can actually force groundwater through pores in the foundation.
    The solution is to make sure that rainwater or melting snow from your roof and yard is kept away from the foundation. First, check that each downspout has an extension and that the soil slopes away from the house.
    If your site has a high water table, making wetness a chronic problem, then the best defense is a good offense. If water isn't oozing through pores but is pouring through cracks, plug the leaks with quick-setting cement. Talk to your contractor about sump pumps and drainage tile systems. These remedies often turn puddle-prone basements into completely dry living areas, and most remodeling contractors are familiar with installing these kinds of systems. In many new homes with basements, sump pumps are a standard feature.

Down with dingy. Adding sunlight and banning moisture can be extensive, expensive endeavors. But after tackling dark and dank, dingy is a fun challenge. The first rule: Forget any basement stereotypes. Use "upstairs" materials like drywall and recessed lighting. And don't forget insulation. Whether you use rigid foam panels or soft batts, plan for an insulation value of R-7 in areas where winters are mild, R-11 for harsher climates. Soft insulation usually is rated at about R-3 per inch, so you can gauge your needs accordingly.
    Use drywall on your outside walls, but don't be so hasty with room divisions. Because sunlight is so scarce in basements, "divide and conquer" is a poor strategy for floor plans there. Full-wall divisions limit the range that sunlight can reach. Instead, use grids, open shelving, or half walls to separate basement areas. A small isolated room may seem cozy upstairs, but it will feel like a bunker in the basement. An open floor plan works best, so give your basement your undivided attention.
    While there is no substitute for the vitality of sunlight, good electrical lighting can help. Use several recessed lights to brighten the area, then add bright task lighting where you need it. Finally, emphasize the area's best features with high-intensity accent lights.
    When it comes to finishing your space, save the earth tones for rooms above the earth. Below-grade areas are a good place for light backgrounds and brightly colored accents.

 
Beautiful basement with a lot of windows


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Other basement related articles:

Investing from the Bottom Up: Finishing Your Home's Basement by Joe Cooper

As real estate prices continue to decline in many areas of the country, homeowners are searching for ways to strategically update their homes to increase the value. Finishing a basement can be the answer--take advantage of existing space in your home to add square footage and storage space. In over 200 metropolitan areas in the country, home prices fell again this past year. They are declining at a slower pace, but many homeowners are still struggling with home prices and the future of their investment. Single family homes are still the most sought after residential properties in most suburban areas of the country. Homes with basements can be rarer, and can offer added square footage, storage space, and value to any home. ... read more

Finishing Your Basement with Flair by Gaby Hyman

As your family grows, converting or finishing your basement into living space not only opens up your house and increases room for work or play, but it can also add significantly to your home value. You must exercise care in the design of your basement, ensuring structural integrity before you pick up a hammer. A successful finished basement relies on adequate electrical, plumbing, and heating/cooling components, as well as sound drainage and moisture control.
Potential Basement Usage
Before you begin, select a design for your basement that accommodates existing walls and space while meeting your needs. Your basement must be dry, have sound existing walls, and adequate head room. There are many possibilities for a finished basement, including: ... read more

 

   
   

Start To Finish Your Basement
by Brett Feeman

Is this the year you've promised yourself you're going to organize your basement once and for all? It's a noble goal, but difficult for one reason: if you have an unfinished basement, organizing it will always seem like an unfinished project. One way to begin bringing order to your basement--and to begin the process of finishing your basement--is to build interior walls along your basement's exterior walls. (Note: If your basement is prone to flooding or excessive moisture on the exterior walls, you should deal with that problem first.) read more

 

Carpet Cleaning Tips - how to remove every type of stain
by
Jennifer Brite

Oops! Whether it be grape juice, a little present from Fido, or finger-paint artwork from your 3-year-old, it seems whatever is not supposed to get on the carpet always does. Here are a few tips from carpet manufacturer read more

 

 

 

 

Enchanted Basements by

Phone: (303)-595-0404

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professional Carpet Cleaning For Colorado Springs

719-302-1782

Brad@Clean-Response.com

 




 

We are a family owned business that is currently licensed and insured in the state of CO. Since 1980 MGS Renovations has been providing quality remodeling services to customers in Southern Colorado. We offer clean, quick and reliable service as well as true attention to detail. We also do insurance claims - siding, roofing, windows, doors, water restoration, custom framing, bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, decks, sheetrock, basement finishing, painting, gutters, wood flooring, tile, or anything else you can think of. We are certified installers of Vinyl, James Hardie Siding, Pella Windows, and Trex decking, but we have experience doing many other things. We work with you, the customer, to make every step of the process smooth and enjoyable.

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