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What to do Before Finishing a Basement

Friday, August 14th by Shannon Brelsford


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Finishing a basement is one of the best home projects in terms of expanding usable living space--but there’s a few considerations to keep in mind before you begin. 

Important Things to Do Before Finishing a Basement

 

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 1. Identify Water Intrusion & Begin Waterproofing

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind before starting a basement finishing project is water intrusion. If you experience issues with moisture and water in the basement, it’s essential to first deal with them before putting new material into the space. 

Failing to deal with moisture and water issues could end up being significantly more costly in the end, than if you had done the job thoroughly. Water intrusion usually happens around areas where concrete is more likely to crack under stress or be improperly poured during construction. These areas include around the wall of floor joints and around window and door frames. 

Mold can grow quickly, taking only twelve hours to form and spread. Within days the basement could be a fungus breeding ground, slowly filling the house with mold spores, and destroying the materials you’ve recently finished the basement with. 

Through trial and error over the years in the industry, it’s known that the best way to combat these issues is with proper waterproofing by trained professionals. Waterproofing products such as dehumidifiers, sump pumps, and moisture barriers are all commonly installed in basements before any finishing projects. Through the Basement Systems Network, we’ve been able to waterproof and finish basements for many happy customers. 

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 2. Run a Radon Test

 While it may not be at the top of your list of tasks when considering basement finishing, radon should be a priority. Originally, radon was thought to be more pervasive in older homes, which were more likely to sport cracked foundations, or wooden supports with earthen floors and walls. 

However, in recent years, we’ve found that radon is present everywhere. Formed during the decomposition of radioactive metals in the earth's crust, radon gas rises through the soil and out into homes and the open air all around us. 

When radon enters a home, it does so through the small gaps and weak areas in our foundations and basement floors. It is colorless, odorless, and completely undetectable without a Radon Test. Overtime, exposure to the gas can cause respiratory issues, leading to a worsening of preexisting conditions, and even fatal complications with prolonged exposure. 

A simple radon system doesn’t take long to install, and can do wonders in increasing resale value, and giving you peace of mind within your home. 

 

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 3. Look into Finishing Companies & Materials 

Other than finding and solving issues of water and radon intrusion, another essential step when planning a finishing job is finding the materials needed, as well as the company to hire for the job. 

Materials used in subterranean spaces should be waterproof in nature. This is where many homeowners go wrong, choosing classic drywall and carpeting for basement finishing projects. If the basement is not properly waterproofed, the materials will likely be destroyed overtime, riddled with moisture damage, and mold. Carpets, drywall, and many types of insulation act as sponges for water and moisture. 

Here at Total Basement Finishing, we offer a large range of finishing materials installed by our trained specialists to create a safe and comfortable space. 

Our products include: 

By working with our design specialists, you can design a wide number of functional spaces utilizing the newly available square footage. 

With trusted dealers and installers of our products located across the Continental US and Canada, we’re here to be your local basement finishing solution! 

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 4. Look into Permits & Requirements 

Finally, if you’re planning to spend extended time in the basement, or have a bedroom or apartment in the space, there are building codes and ordinances that you and your contractor must look into. 

These laws and the permits needed for construction may differ state to state, or province to province. That’s why it's so important to do the research beforehand, so that you don’t waste your money on a project that will need to be redone later, or could have you facing legal action. 

Often, it will be required that there is a viable exit within the basement if it is intended to serve as a living space. These typically come in the form of an Egress Window. However, if the space will serve as a more informal gathering area, such things may not be required. 

 

Get Started Today

Here at Total Basement Finishing, we have everything you need to get started creating a beautiful finished space in your basement. With no shortage of design inspiration, expert training and first hand knowledge in the field, we can help take your basement from plain to perfect. Reach out for a free, no obligation estimate, today!