The Home Buyer's Korner

Information presented should be used for educational purposes only.

January 16th, 2017

Guy looking up in color

 Before Embarking On A Basement Improvement

Take A Look At These Tips

modern-basementConsider the layout before you begin. You may want to place the living room/gathering area in the spot with the most natural light. If you are envisioning a home theater in the basement, set it up in the spot with the least light to avoid glare. Bedrooms need to be placed on the edges of the basement to allow for egress windows. With an egress window you’ll get more natural light, plus an emergency escape.

An egress window in a basement dramatically brightens an otherwise dark, dingy room, but it also has a more serious purpose. It’s large enough to offer a safe exit from the basement in the event of fire or other emergency. Adding an egress window is essential any time you remodel your basement to make a new bedroom, office or other living space.

If you have solid concrete walls, I’d recommend you hire a professional for the wall cutting. Once you’ve located where your egress window is going to be spend a few extra dollars and purchase two windows like the 2947 Pella ProLine casement windows for $325. They’re substantially larger than the minimum requirement and can add to any strong natural light for the basement. Of course you don’t have to add window this large, but an egress window must have a clear opening of at least 5.7 sq. ft. It makes your window large enough to allow a firefighter, with equipment to enter the home through the window. In addition, the window must be at least 20 in. wide and 24 in. high (while still meeting the 5.7-sq.-ft. requirement). Finally, the bottom of the opening sound be no more than 44 in. from the floor.

Make sure the basement is dry before you begin working. You want to avoid the possibility of water damage with a water powered sump pump or fix the damage already done. Check the outside walls for damage, make sure the ground is sloped away from the foundation, and see that the gutters are unclogged. Besides checking for moisture, you’ll also want to check for rot and insect damage AND have a professional check the fuel-burning equipment and ventilation system.

Use polyurethane sheeting with a vapor barrier for insulation. It’s great for keeping out moisture and you or your basement remodeler won’t have to deal with that itchy pink stuff! Insulate the exposed pipes before you cover them up using tube-shaped foam insulation.

Chances are, the ceilings in your basement will be fairly low. To avoid hitting your head on hanging light fixtures, install recessed lighting sources and remember you won’t be getting much natural light in the basement, so make sure to install plenty.

Leave the furnace room alone! No need to decorate in there, in fact, building codes don’t really allow for it. So let it be and appreciate the money you’ve saved!


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