The rise of the base­ment: Top tips for a bet­ter space

Cecil Whig - - OURCECIL -

— With fewer homes for sale and good re­turns on the re­mod­el­ing in­vest­ment, more home­own­ers are re­claim­ing their lower levels and re­mod­el­ing their base­ments.

Base­ments are com­ing out of hid­ing these days. And they’re do­ing it in style, with be­fore-and-af­ter trans­for­ma­tions fea­tured ev­ery­where from HGTV to Pin­ter­est and YouTube.

What’s driv­ing this trend? A tight hous­ing mar­ket, for one thing. With houses at a pre­mium — and a pro­lif­er­a­tion of DIY how-to’s — more home­own­ers are in­spired to re­claim their un­used space and ex­pand their liv­ing area.

A smart, af­ford­able up­grade

Up­dat­ing your lower level is a sound in­vest­ment in your home. Re­mod­el­ing magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Re­port put the av­er­age base­ment re­model at $61,303, with a 70.3 per­cent pay­back — a far bet­ter in­vest­ment re­turn than adding a bath­room or garage.


Props for your prop­erty value

De­pend­ing on lo­cal reg­u­la­tions, the ad­di­tional space can of­ten be added to your home’s to­tal square footage, mak­ing your mar­ket list­ing more ap­peal­ing to buy­ers and po­ten­tially in­creas­ing your prop­erty value.

To re­coup the most from your re­mod­el­ing ef­forts, make sure your de­sign and dec­o­rat­ing choices are at­trac­tive and func­tional — not too quirky or cus­tom­ized.

Look up, look down: Ban­ish wa­ter all around

Be­fore you be­gin mak­ing dec­o­rat­ing choices, tackle any needed re­pairs, in­clud­ing wa­ter­proof­ing your lower level. It’s a good idea to seal your walls and floors first, and im­por­tant enough to hire a pro­fes­sional if you’re short on time.

And since below- grade spa­ces are usu­ally cool, hu­mid and prone to wa­ter dam­age, con­sider in­vest­ing in a good de­hu­mid­i­fier and choos­ing mois­ture- re­sis­tant prod­ucts.

El­e­vate your style

Ugly or dam­aged ceil­ings can ruin the look of your newly up­dated base­ment space, so take steps to re­pair or re­place your ceil­ing. ceil­ing Plaster any cracks and re­place yel­low­ing tiles.

If you’re up­dat­ing the ceil­ing, look for prod­ucts from com­pa­nies like Arm­strong Ceil­ings that are spe­cially treated to re­sist the growth of mold and mildew. From there, the sky — or the ceil­ing — is the limit. Savvy de­sign choices, like cof­fered ceil­ings, or wood planks add style and the re­sults are eas­ier to achieve than most peo­ple think.

Stuck with an older, 2-foot x 4-foot dropped ceil­ing grid? There’s no need to suf­fer with­out style. Home­own­ers can take ad­van­tage of to­day’s beau­ti­ful new 2-foot x 2-foot ceil­ing tiles by adding 2-foot cross tees to their ex­ist­ing grid sys­tems.

Floor­ing: Think warm and dry

Make sure your floor­ing choices stand up to mois­ture, too. Patch any cracks in the con­crete floor and con­sider adding a sub­floor if the sur­face slopes or is un­even.

Many home­own­ers grav­i­tate to the warmth and sound­proof­ing ef­fect of car­pet­ing in base­ments. Low­pile or Ber­ber car­pets re­sist wear and are in­ex­pen­sive op­tions. A mois­ture-bar­rier pad be­tween the car­pet pad and the car­pet adds an­other level of wa­ter re­sis­tance and re­as­sur­ance.

Now is a great time to fin­ish your base­ment. You’ll en­joy the added liv­ing space now, and likely re­al­ize a healthy re­turn on your in­vest­ment in the fu­ture.

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