3 Smart Tips on Renovating Your Basement


Photo by Sean Madden

Basements are great as a family room or home theatre, but they often end up as dumping grounds of old furniture, appliances, and other items. In most cases, they aren’t finished to the standards of the rooms upstairs. Whether you’re planning to increase the value of your home, or just want to have an extra living space, there are ways you can transform your basement from being a storage to the room of your dreams.

Consider Energy Efficiency

Make your basement energy efficient by sealing gaps between the masonry and framing, and around pipes using a caulk or spray foam. Insulate the rim joist — the board supporting the floor joists to block air leaks in and out of the home and curb condensation. Attach extruded foam insulation to the foundation walls to reduce heat transfer and as a moisture barrier. Seal leaky ducts with foil-backed tape or mastic before hiding them behind framing or ceilings.

Choose the Right Materials

Avoid using building materials that absorb water. Hardware and home improvement stores offer a range of moisture and mould-proof products, from waterproof flooring to moisture-proof crowns and trims and cement-core insulated wall panels. It’s also important to buy high quality masonry adhesives for wallboard abrasion tasks.

Add Walls and Ceiling the Right Way

Constructing a wall on the floor and raising it into place is difficult; experts recommend using “stick framing” method, which involves installing the top and bottom first, and then cutting each stud and toe nailing them in place. Subtract ¾ inch from each stud location for walls longer than 8 feet so drywall or plasterboard falls in the centre and not fall short.

Frame around ductwork, support column, and obstructions to make space for decorative applications, and consider installing drop ceilings to provide a finished look in the space while allowing access to valves and pipes. Use waterproof materials for flooring; laminated floors are a popular choice.

From a wine cellar, to media room, wet bar, playroom, and a gym, basements offer an extra living space for many purposes and activities. Start renovating the lowest floor of your home and increase your home’s liveability.