HomeownerEducational: A-M

Basement Remodeling & Additions

Basement Remodeling & Additions

Planning The Project

To form an idea of what you want your basement or addition to become, list the functions you’d like the space to serve as well as what would be required to make that possible. Then, find examples of finished rooms that serve those purposes.

The room’s use will determine its design and construction. If children need a place to play, built-in storage may be important. If the addition will be an extra bath or enlarged kitchen, make sure existing plumbing can be routed to the new area without compromising the original structure. Be very specific about the functions your new space should serve. A good contractor will be able to provide some helpful suggestions.

Contractor quotes should include information about daily and final cleanup, obtaining permits, the completion date, and the amount of the down payment or the structure of the payment plan. Make sure the contractor your hire is properly licensed. If subcontractors are used, they should also be properly licensed for their trades. Before the project begins, talk to the contractor about local building codes and how they may impact your project.


Special Considerations

Moisture. Basements must be adequately moisture-free before remodeling begins because water can damage carpets and furniture or cause mold or mildew growth.

Lighting. Canister or recessed lighting is popular for basements because it does not take up headroom. Downlighting points the eye away from the ceiling, making the room seem taller. Track lighting illuminates a basement without a low-hanging light.

Climate and ventilation. Proper heating, air conditioning, and ventilation are essential in a basement. Some existing HVAC systems can meet the requirements of the new space, though some basements may require dedicated units.

Supports. Support structures can create disruptive obstacles in the new space, but removing or relocating steel beams and posts is difficult and often impossible. These structures can be disguised with architectural elements or hidden in the new walls.

Access. Meters, electrical panels, ducts, pipes, wires, and other utility hubs will still need to be accessible. A drop ceiling creates a functional way to retain access to them. If a hard ceiling is installed, avoid blocking off access to valves and electrical panels. If walls encase essential points of access, include doors or removable panels in those sections of the wall.

Seamless construction. When building an addition, keep in mind that the interior and exterior appearance of the new structure should flow as seamlessly as possible from your existing house. An addition built with distinctly different materials or architectural styles may be jarring and could harm the home’s value.