Basement finishing tips

Have a solid idea of where you'd like to go with it and how much you can spend.
Basement finishing tips
Ask yourself if you can reasonably complete the work yourself or if you're going to need a professional on board.
Foto: Photo by slgckgc via CCL

Let’s face it: basement finishing is usually the final frontier of home improvement projects. After years of work on everything from your kitchen to your bathrooms to your master bedroom, you’ve finally completed all the other tasks on your own personal “Honey Do” list and you’re ready to tackle this last bastion of neglected living space.

Or maybe you’ve just recently bought a home that’s ready to go except for the basement. Either way, now’s your time to be creative and take advantage of this often unused or underdeveloped room in the house.

Your vision

By now you’ve probably already got a vision of what you’re hoping to accomplish, and you know whether or not you’re going for form or function or some combination thereof. Basement finishing ideas are in abundance on the Internet and DIY (do it yourself) cable shows if you’re still a little hazy on the exact details.

They’re a great jumping off point for cost and the amount of work you can reasonably expect to be involved with in the overall project. Have a solid idea of where you’d like to go with it and how much you can reasonably spend before you get started. Doing this can save you time and money in the long run.

DIY

Ask yourself if you can reasonably complete the work yourself or if you’re going to need a professional on board to oversee the work or just to complete certain aspects of it. If you need to enlist the aid of a professional, make sure to ask for references and that they are licensed, insured, and bonded in case anything goes wrong. This is very important. Remember, you get what you pay for with all things in life — not just basement finishing.

Cost

Once you’ve determined the room’s primary purpose and the direction you’re going in, start pricing materials. Tip: check for building surplus warehouses in your area for unbeatable prices. They’re a great and often overlooked source for quality merchandise. Basement finishing costs — like any home repair, renovation or remodel — can easily get out of hand and lead to unfinished projects, so be aware of the many untapped resources available to you.

You’d be amazed at the number of previously unknown facilities nearby that carry flooring, sinks, counter tops, paneling, fixtures of all types and more that contractors have left over at the end of a construction phase which then get sold to surplus supply stores where you can pick them up for a fraction of the original cost.

Lighting

No matter what direction you go in with your basement finishing project, an area of great concern should be proper lighting. This is so overlooked during initial design and basement construction, and you’re often left with one dangling bare bulb with a pull chain. With little to no natural light to illuminate the room, it’s one of the main reasons for the underutilization of this additional floor space.

The right lighting can turn almost any room into a warm, inviting place that you’ll want to spend time in, and it’s especially important if you’re turning the room into a craft room or work space where you’ll need all the light you can get.

Once again, turn to overstock light warehouses on the Internet or in your area for a dizzying array of choices within your budget. A final note on this subject: if you or a friend or a family member is not a certified electrician, find one. This is not an area to skimp on if you value your home and your life.