How To Turn Your Basement Into a Living Space

by Kayla Keena

In a previous blog, we discussed key reasons why you should invest in finishing a basement. But it’s one thing to decide to finish a basement and entirely another thing to attempt the project. After all, creating a new living space is a lot more difficult than remodeling a living space that has already been established. It isn’t easy to learn how to turn your basement into a living space, but it is worth it.

Prevent Water and Mold Damage

Basements tend to be prone to leaks and flooding, and that can lead to other damage, such as cracks and mold, which not only work against selling the house, but can also create problems for those living in the basement and their belongings. Before you begin to turn your basement into a living space, identify and fix or remove any cracks or mold that existed previously, then take steps to waterproof the space.  Be sure that your sump pump is well maintained and that waterspouts do not point water directly at your foundation.

Flooring

You can install almost any type of flooring in a basement; however, because basement floors are typically concrete, the process of installing flooring is a little different. Before applying any flooring, you need to seal the concrete floor and then apply a moisture barrier. For carpet, you will want to add a layer of high-density polyethylene, followed by a half an inch of plywood, a carpet pad, and then carpeting. Hardwood flooring will likely require the use of sleepers on top of the layer of plywood. Unlike carpet and hardwood, tile can be applied directly to a concrete floor even without a barrier. 

Walling Considerations

Walling is one of the more arduous jobs to be done in a basement finishing project, but it will give the basement a truly “finished” look. Walling requires installation and framing to be done before walls are put in. Although drywall is one of the more common choices for this kind of project, it can become problematic because of the way mold grows on paper-based products in more humid environments. Look into drywall alternatives and basement-specific wall finishes before making a final choice.

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