Base­ment re­mod­el­ing tips

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

A base­ment re­mod­el­ing project can add valu­able and us­able space to a home. For many years, home­own­ers over­looked the po­ten­tial of a base­ment re­model, per­haps think­ing it would not be a smart re­turn on in­vest­ment. But that’s no longer the case.

The lat­est “Cost vs. Value” re­port from Re­mod­el­ing mag­a­zine says the av­er­age base­ment re­model can cost around $61,000 with a 70.3 per­cent re­coup rate. In ad­di­tion, HGTV says ar­chi­tects and con­trac­tors in­di­cate the cost of re­do­ing a base­ment is roughly one-third to one-half less than the price of putting an ad­di­tion on a home.

Be­fore re­mod­el­ing a base­ment, home­own­ers should think about how they want to use the space. Home­own­ers also must fo­cus on some po­ten­tial ob­sta­cles in a base­ment that will need to be ad­dressed so that the area can be as func­tional as pos­si­ble. Base­ments can be chilly and damp. That means mois­ture is­sues and heat­ing and cooling needs must be ad­dressed prior to any con­struc­tion. Home­own­ers may have to con­sider the in­stal­la­tion of a de­hu­mid­i­fier and run vent­ing through the base­ment to al­low for proper cli­mate con­trol. If a base­ment takes on wa­ter, ei­ther through the walls or a con­crete slab, a pro­fes­sional wa­ter­proof­ing com­pany can come in and fix these is­sues so they will not dam­age dry­wall and floor­ing after­wards.

The pres­ence of in­sects and pests also must be ad­dressed. Ex­ter­mi­na­tors can help home­own­ers fig­ure out which in­sects are in their base­ments and how to make the space less hos­pitable to these un­wel­come guests so that the room will be­come com­fort­able for hu­man oc­cu­pants.

Space is of­ten at a pre­mium in base­ments, which may con­tain HVAC units, wa­ter heaters, fil­tra­tion de­vices, duct­work, pipes, and the other ap­pli­ances. Qual­i­fied con­trac­tors can sug­gest so­lu­tions for cor­don­ing off ap­pli­ances and cam­ou­flag­ing pipes and wires so they won’t de­tract from the fin­ished prod­uct. How­ever, build­ing ac­cess pan­els into the de­sign will make it eas­ier to ser­vice or re­pair fea­tures as nec­es­sary. Home­own­ers also may want to wrap pipes be­fore dry­wall is in­stalled to quiet noisy drainage pipes. Un­even base­ment floor­ing will need to be smoothed out and flat­tened be­fore car­pet­ing or tile can be laid down. A self-lev­el­ing un­der­lay­ment can be ap­plied to fill in gul­lies, while larger crack and holes will need to be patched.

Once the struc­ture of the base­ment is ad­dressed, then the de­sign work can be­gin. Many pro­fes­sion­als ad­vise against drop ceil­ings, which can take away from ceil­ing height and look cheap. Base­ments can be dark, so the ad­di­tion of plenty of light­ing can help brighten the room. Small base­ment win­dows can be re­placed with larger ones to add more light as well.

Home­own­ers can mimic built-ins and ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails from else­where in the home so the base­ment is aes­thet­i­cally co­he­sive and doesn’t seem like an ad­di­tion. Book­cases and shelv­ing can add valu­able stor­age space as well. Dec­o­rate the base­ment with bright, neu­tral col­ors so they make the space feel more invit­ing.

With some ef­fort and fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment, base­ments can be as beau­ti­ful and func­tional as other rooms in a home.

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