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Basement Conversion

Redoing your basement to create more living space is a great way to increase the value of your home. And it may not involve as much time or money as you thought to get the basement of your dreams.

Does Your Basement Have What It Takes?
Before you can start any construction, you need to make sure that your basement is suitable for remodeling. This means that your basement needs to be dry (no excess moisture problems) and that there is adequate headroom for the average adult. A ceiling of at least 7½ feet is ideal. If it is not already heated, you will need to contact professionals to install the proper system.

Making a Plan
As with any home build, you will need to create a floor plan before you start doing anything. Be sure to include where the exisiting walls and stairs are as well as any walls or doorways you want to add to the space. If you plan to divide the existing space into smaller rooms, then don't forget to include a hallway. Most hallways are at least three feet across.

However, the visible basement is not the only thing you should consider. For those who live in chilly climates, make sure you make plans to properly insulate your exterior walls if they are not already insulated. Other items that go in your walls and require a plan include plumbing, electrical wiring and heating and cooling systems.

Basement Conversion Plumbing
Depending on how you have designed your basement, you may or may not need to install plumbing. If there are no plans for a bathroom, washroom or laundry room, then it is unlikely that you will need to install plumbing in your basement.

However, if plumbing is necessary, then you'll need to decide just where the pipes will go. Although it might be the most convenient to place the pipes above your basement, this is also the most expensive option because you need to pump waste and sewage out. If you are trying to keep costs down, then it may be a better idea to place the plumbing pipes below your basement.

Homeowners living in older houses may find that their electrical system needs a bit of upgrading. Although it can inflate your budget, making sure your electrical system meets or exceeds current system standards will help ensure that you and your family can enjoy a safe basement.

Heating and Cooling
Since basements are situated below ground, they are usually naturally cooler than the rest of the home. Therefore, it may not be necessary to add air conditioning to this area of your home. But it may be a good idea to install a dehumidifier for those hot, sticky days.

If you would prefer that your basement be air conditioned like the rest of your home, then see if you can access the exisiting duct and just add a vent to force the cold air in. Alternatively, if any portion of the exterior basement walls are above ground, then you may want to install an window air conditioner.

When it comes to heat, using your exisiting heating system is one option. However, if fiddling with your heating ducts is not your cup of tea, then you may want to install some electrcial baseboards instead.

Now that your heating and cooling systems are sorted out, you can decide just what type of flooring you would like to have. Because the basement will be temeprature-controlled, pretty much any type of flooring that your budget will allow is fine. The most popular choice for basements is usually a carpeted floor. However, if your home is prone to leaks, or you just want to be diffeent, you can always go with hardwood floors, vinyl floors or tiled floors.


If you plan to hire professionals to redo your basement, then expect to spend around $9,600.00 for a 24 foot by 20 foot finished, heated basement without plumbing upgrades, including electrical baseboard heaters and additional electrical outlets.

Hammer Visit our forum to talk with other DIY-ers about your basement conversion project