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10 Steps To Finishing Your Basement In 2021
So, you’re finally ready to add to your living space and want to turn that empty basement into something amazing, but you don’t have any idea where to start.
Even if you decide to do it yourself, you will still likely need to hire an expert to handle certain parts of the job, as there are code requirements that must be followed.
A good way to discover which parts of the basement project you can do yourself is to start by researching all the steps in the construction process. This guide will walk you through the steps of finishing your basement from A to Z.
Step 1: Get Your Creative Ideas Flowing
Let’s take a look at some rooms that are options for you.
Bedroom – This is one of the most-built rooms in a basement and
helps increase the overall value of a house. It can be as big or small
as you like.
Bathroom – Most basements have at least 1.5 bathrooms.
Living room – Just about all basements will have some sort of
living room/family room to open up the basement some.
Hallways – Don’t forget the hallways; you can make them wider than
a standard hallway so you’re not so closed in.
Bar – A bar in your basement is a great place to entertain.
Theater – This can be anything from a basic room to a full-blown
soundproof theater for 6-8 people.
Wine Cellar – For wine lovers, having a wine room the size of a small
closet would make a great showcase.
Home Gym/Massage Room – This is nothing more than a large bedroom without a closet.
Step 2: Obtain the Necessary Building Permits
Getting a permit to finish your basement isn’t difficult. Yes, there are permit fees and the assessor will add the newly finished basement sf to your property taxes, but the benefits outweigh the expense.
One major benefit is you can contact an inspector at any time during the construction process if you have questions or they can come do a walk through with you.
Additionally, if you decide to sell your home later, you can provide the certificate from the city showing everything is safe and up to code.
Step 3: The Necessary Prep Work
Since basements are located underground, you can expect there to be moisture and water prep work. Depending on how old your basement is, you may need to waterproof the basement so you don’t have any issues in the future.
For older basements, check for mold or other toxins that can harm you and your family. Another important factor to remember is Radon.
Step 4: Frame the Walls
Once you have the layout, you are ready to order your lumber.
If you are on concrete, you need to use pressure-treated wood, such as timber strand.
Don’t forget you have to fire block. This needs to be done along the external walls of the basement, then you need to add blocking every 10ft around the basement.
The walls around the furnace and unfinished rooms need to be blocked off. If they are small areas, you can use cans of spray foam or insulation to pack it.
Step 5: Install the Plumbing
Plumbing is one of the hardest jobs, but you can do it on your own if you have the tools and knowledge. If not, just hire a professional to do the work and focus on other aspects of your basement.
Remember, there are codes for everything, such as what size pipes to use, and you need to have p-traps installed as well as studier vents for ventilation.
Most homes are built with Pex pipe these days as it’s flexible and holds connections well.
Step 6: Electrical and HVAC work
This is a step you could do yourself, but most people hire a professional. This is simply because wiring can be very dangerous if done wrong. For peace of mind, hire someone to do this for you.
For your HVAC you most likely have 1-2 runs in your basement already, but depending on what you want to build, it may require more. In the bathroom, you need an exhaust fan and they require separate runs. You also have 3, 4, and 6-inch pipes for your heat runs.
Step 7: Finish the Walls
Once you have all of the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC taken care of, you’re ready to turn your framed walls into actual walls. As long as all your inspections have passed, it will be time for drywall.
After the drywall is installed, it needs tape and mud. This is the first step in the finished, viewable part. Once done, you are ready for texture.
Step 8: Paint
Now you are ready to paint your basement, and if you do this by yourself, you’ll want to make sure you prime your walls first. If you have a paint sprayer, it will help put the paint on evenly and save you time.
Step 9: Trim Work
Now that you have the basement painted, it’s time for your trim. You can install the switch plates, mirrors, light fixtures, remove your construction lights, and put in your permanent lighting.
Step 10: Flooring
The largest part of your finishing work is the flooring. You have plenty of options here depending on if you are on a floating floor or concrete surface. You can do hardwood, carpet, tile, vinyl, stained concrete, etc. the options are endless.
Now that you know the steps to finish a basement, it’s time to decide if you really want to do it yourself or hire a company.
Hiring a bunch of one-off contractors comes with a steep price, so if you are not able to do it all yourself or at least 90% of it, then you’re better off in just hiring a company like the Basement Sanctuary to professionally do all the work for you so you don’t have to lift a finger.