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Convert Your Basement and Expand Your Living Space

Date Added: February 03, 2010 03:30:02 PM
Author: Paul Mroczka
Category: Remodeling

Should you convert your basement into a den, playroom, workout space or home office? There are various issues to consider prior to making your decision regarding this space. When you convert your basement, you automatically expand the living area in your house by one-third to one-fourth.

However, transforming a cellar into a room where you and the family will spend quality time or where you hunker down and work does not do a whole lot to increase the value of your home. The primary reason for converting your basement is to expand living space, create a special room for a specific activity or make a place where you and friends can gather.  

This article will focus on four primary areas you’ll need to consider when making your cellar into a new room. Remember that a good contractor can help you with each and every one of these concerns. Look for a contractor who has experience in this specific area, since basements come with their own special set of problems.

Converting Your Basement: Dampness

If your basement is a water magnet or simply damp, then you’ll want to remedy that problem before you transform it. If your cellar is just damp, sometimes it’s as simple as running a dehumidifier but for basements that flood or have standing water, either a pump and/or waterproofing measures must be employed.


water in basement

               Water in the basement can hamper its usefulness.


If you cannot rid your basement of water and extreme dampness, then you won’t want to live in it for any extended amount of time. Damp and wet basements encourage mold, mildew and other unhealthy environments. If you have a severe problem, your contractor may recommend a specialist in this area.

Converting Your Basement: Your Plan for the Space

To get the most out of your basement conversion, you’ll want to talk through and decide exactly why you’re transforming the space and what your expectations for it are. Too often people just put a room in their cellar and because they have not considered exactly what the new room or rooms may be used for, the space either ends up gathering dust, becoming a catchall for junk or getting cluttered with a potpourri of activities that make the room a mess. A good contractor can walk you through choices, creating a floor plan that will help you utilize the space effectively.

Converting Your Basement: Flooring

If you are going to make your basement a livable space, you’ll want to ensure that the floor offers proper support. You’ll have a few choices. If your basement has a concrete floor, you may simply cover it over with carpet or vinyl flooring. However, doing so can be risky. If the concrete gets damp or wet, your flooring will be damaged and mold and mildew could set in. The same is true for any type of veneer flooring you may install.

If you have a concrete or dirt floor in your cellar, first it’s best to build a plywood floor with adequate air space between the basement floor and the new floor. This will help keep your carpet, vinyl, wood or veneer flooring free of damaging water and dampness.

However, building a floor with adequate air space will, in effect, lower your ceiling. If your basement ceiling is less than seven feet, you could be in trouble. There are various solutions and options to talk through with your contractor.

Converting Your Basement: Cash

To properly convert your basement into a living, work or recreation space, you’ll need to ante up some cash. How much depends upon what you’re going to have done. If you’re financing a basic conversion and making one big room or a few smaller rooms, such as a den and office, then the expenses will be minimal.

New room in basement

       Your new space can be a haven.

But the price starts to go up once you start adding a bath or kitchen area. Also, if there are any structural problems or concerns about water, the price will rise. Working with a contractor in the planning process will help you get an accurate estimate of how much the conversion will cost.

Success in Converting Your Basement

Evaluating the space, determining how you’re going to use it and creating a floor plan under the guidance of an experienced contractor will all go a long way in ensuring that your basement will be utilized and enjoyed. Basement conversion allows you to use a space that often sits idle. Expand your living space to get the most out of your home.  

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