Finishing or remodeling a basement can be inspired by many different desires –the need for a home office, a playroom, a fitness center, or an extra bedroom, for example. But if you're a guy, don't overlook the basement as an ideal location for a man cave –a special refuge where house rules of décor and decorum don't have to apply.
Although the basement is part of the house, it's got special status as a separate, subterranean space whose potential is often overlooked. That's why it might be smarter to annex the basement for your mantuary rather than trying to take over upstairs space. Besides, a basement man cave will have more privacy and more space than you're likely to find upstairs.
To successfully transform a basement into a man cave, you'll need to pay attention to some critical details. Here's what counts most in this remodeling adventure:
Cellulose-rich materials like framing lumber and paper-faced drywall provide an ideal habitat for mold when you add just a little basement moisture. In addition to producing that unpleasant musty odor, airborne mold spores can cause serious respiratory ailments and allergic reactions. In the basement, it's important to use inorganic building materials designed to resist mold and moisture damage. See tips 6 & 7 for more specifics.
Insulating your basement walls will help to keep your new living space more comfortable and energy efficient. But you might also want to insulate the basement ceiling to reduce sound transmission upstairs. The best type of insulation to use in the basement is rigid foam. Unlike fiberglass batt insulation, rigid foam won't absorb moisture, settle, attract mold or lose its insulating value. Foam's ability to stop air leaks is also an asset.
Is there any chance that your man cave might need to serve as a bedroom? If the answer is yes, then it's wise to have a small basement window enlarged so that an "egress-compliant" window and exterior window well can be installed. A full-service basement finishing contractor can fill you in on the details. Installing a larger basement window not only fulfills code requirements for a basement bedroom; it also brings much more natural light into the space.
It's important to use inorganic materials that won't support mold. But you also want floor and wall surfaces to be as indestructible and easy-cleaning as possible. Low-profile, high-strength plastic floor tiles have gained a great following among savvy basement dwellers. Though they look surprisingly like ceramic tile, oak parquet or solid wood flooring, these tiles won't ever warp, cup, or crack. They never require refinishing, and they clean up quickly whether you're mopping or vacuuming. Wall panels covered with textured vinyl rather than paper offer similar advantages. Both of these products are carried by Total Basement Finishing dealers.
The rest of the family may not see the sense in putting a bench press station right next to a reclining lounge chair, but you don't have to answer to them. When you're planning a basement man cave, keep the floor plan as open as possible so you can let your space "evolve." More space = more options â€“a dart board, pinball machine, pool table, free weights, and so on.
Of course your man cave is going to be packed with toys, and some of these devices require power: electric guitars, video games, flat-screen TVs, DVD players; and let's not forget the dorm-size refrigerator you need to keep a few six-packs cold. In most cases, it makes sense to have an electrician add a new circuit or two at your main service panel to provide power for the additional lights and electrical receptacles. One of the benefits of contracting with a full-service basement finishing contractor (Total Basement Finishing is a good example) is that this basement finishing specialist can handle all subcontracting services, from moisture control to electrical work and the installation of new walls, ceilings and finished floors.
Providing that there's sufficient clearance, a finished basement should have a suspended ceiling that integrates overhead lights with ceiling panels. To augment this general light, you can provide task and accent lighting with lamps and wall-mounted fixtures. Make sure your lighting scheme allows you to control light levels, either with dimmer switches or by using some but not all of your lights.
The first step in any basement finishing project is to deal with the moisture that comes into this below-grade space. If water is leaking into your basement, you'll need to install perimeter drains inside basement walls and connect them to a topnotch sump pump. An established national franchise such as Basement Systems can provide you with a warranted waterproofing system as well as effective and energy-efficient dehumidification to keep this new living space dry.
One "man space" clichÃ© you don't need to follow is the comparison to a messy frat house. Consider including a small closet in your floor plan to hold cleaning supplies, plastic garbage bags and bins for recycling beverage containers. If you keep your cleanup tools handy and follow tip #7 above, it won't be difficult to maintain a frat house that's fit for visitors.
Yes, plumbing is the final frontier in your basement man cave project â€“the feature that can provide for more prolonged stays in your special space. Don't dismiss this improvement as being too expensive. The development of compact, self-contained basement toilets and other advances have made it easier and faster for plumbers to install basement bathrooms.
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