For years basements were viewed only as musty and damp storage units—places for decades of old furniture and pictures to accumulate. Now, a finished basement can be the perfect unique selling point for real estate agents in a competitive market.
Besides taking advantage of an entire floor of unused space, a complete basement remodel adds value to your house. With a 70% value payback on most renovations, a basement remodel is one of the more cost-effective ways to increase the overall cost of your home. Here are things to keep in mind when updating your basement.
Halve the Overall Value of Your Basement
Before planning basement remodeling services, remember not to sink too much money into a basement remodel. Basements, regarding appraisable space, are always worth half of whatever lies upstairs. This fact is essential to remember if you’re trying to add maximum value to your home.
- Try not to spend over 10% of your home’s estimated value on the remodel
- If you can, try sticking closer to 5%
Create Living Space People Will Use
Basements remodeling can be fun because they let homeowners add personality to their homes. However, if your primary concern lies with adding value to your home, you should try to create rooms that appeal the largest denominator of people. Theater rooms or guest bedrooms are a good example. More personalized hobby rooms might detract some potential home buyers. Here are some favorite basement rooms people enjoy.
- In Home theater room
- Children’s playroom
- Wine cellar
- Workout room
- Inlaw suite
- Entertainment area
- Garden utility storage
A Full Walkout Basement is the Most Valuable Type
A full walkout basement contains windows and doors that overlook the backyard. Walkouts provide much more natural light in the basement. They also have other exits other than a bulkhead staircase. These types of basements are in a much higher demand that closed off basements. If it is within your price range, a walkout basement is an excellent way to increase the overall value of your home.
However, be aware that major renovations will be costly. If you have a partial drop in grade, a basement with some windows, but no doors, an upgrade to a full walkout may be a good investment.
Benefits of a walkout basement
- More natural light
- More ways in and out of the basement
- Increased home value
- Very expensive
- Extensive construction
- May reveal backyard issues.
Skip Vinyl Flooring, Try Carpet
Vinyl tends to trap moisture and humidity, which makes it a nightmare for damp basements. To account for this, try non-wool carpeting tiles. These carpet tiles are more accessible to replace than vinyl and provide more warmth during the cold winter months. This rule of moisture also applies to the ceiling and walls, try drywall or sheetrock. Here are some more other viable flooring options.
- Ceramic tiles
- Epoxy floor coating
- Hardwood flooring
Solve Chronic Water Problems Early
If you notice moisture from a foundation crack, or you live in a flood-prone area, you should fix the problem before remodeling the basement. Failure to do so can result in significant flooding and water problems. It is much more cost effective to take care of the problem earlier.
We recommend one of these solutions for foundational water problems.
- Interior or exterior French drains
French drains catch water before entering or after entering the house, then drains it at a safe distance from the property. Whether or not the water comes in the property depends on if you install interior or exterior French drains. Interior French drains are cheaper than exterior drains, but they allow water to enter the basement before being drained by a sump pump.
Exterior French drains stop water before it even begins by waterproofing the entire outside of the basement. However, this method is much more extensive and costly.
Another, slightly less expensive solution, is installing a standpipe within all the basement floor drains. This way, any back flowing water runs up the standpipe, instead of into your basement. However, be aware that this solution only works for minor backflow. A standpipe may also be a bit unsightly for some homeowners unless it is hidden well.
If You Remove Walls, Consult a Structural Engineer
Taking out the walls of a basement for a more open floor design is an excellent way to increase the overall appeal and value of your basement space. But, if you decide to remove walls, make sure to call a structural engineer first. Beams or pillars may be needed if drastic changes occur.
Also, never seal off any of these utilities:
- Mechanical systems
- Circuit breakers
- Potential plumbing lines
Doing so will prevent service professionals from reaching them safely. A smart solution is to soundproof these utilities.
Leave Enough Headroom for Taller Individuals
Generally, basement ceilings should be no shorter than 7’6’’. Keep this in mind if you are adding a new ceiling to the remodel. Avoid digging down to increase ceiling height, as this will likely cause more harm than good. 8’ or 9’ is a much more preferable ceiling height for most individuals though. Also, beware the headroom when installing new vents or low hanging lights. No one wants to hit their head a chandelier fixture hung too low to the ground.
Try A Partially Finished Basement
Fully remodeling an unfinished is an expensive undertaking. If a finished basement is out of your price range, consider a partially finished one. A partially finished basement still has many uses and adds value to your home that was not there before. It can store a ping pong table, wine, clothing or other objects. It also allows you to finish the basement later down the road.