Basement Remodeling Tips

Lighting The Basement

Basement remodeling tips should include a section about lighting. Getting the lighting right is important.

There are some things that you should NOT be cheap on -- the lighting budget.

Basements are naturally darker so they should be lit more heavily. You need to make this space feel brighter and lighting will be the key to make it feel refreshing.

This is where you put up wall scones, ceiling pot-lights, low level lighting and accent lighting.

Planning ahead for the right lighting must be done in advance. You'll be surprised by the amount of wiring that needs to be installed to create great lighting. And if you're doing three-way lighting, the wires in the wall grow.

You might consider lighting more of a design idea but this design idea needs to be planned before you begin remodeling in order to build the electrical system throughout the walls and ceilings.

Another Basement Remodeling Tip

Consider working with the different ceiling levels of your basement.

If there is one area that is particularly low have a carpenter install custom built-ins and add a TV or bookshelf here. It adds depth and dimensions to the space and nobody will bang their head on the low ceilings in that particular area.

Low ceiling areas is also the perfect place to locate closets or built-in storage. Then utilize the higher ceiling areas of the basement for walking or standing.

Consider The Ductwork & Plumbing Pipes

Other basement remodeling tips to consider is the duct-work and plumbing lines. Where are they located? Do they need to be re-located in order to make the layout work better?

You might need to move duct-work and plumbing to places along walls or beams. Newer homes are better (not always) at placing utilities and services at better locations to accommodate for future renovations.

In most older homes, you'll need to maximize head-room in the basements. So moving the duct-work and plumbing lines will be essential to get the most of the ceiling height in your basement.

Basement Door Considerations

Here's are other remodeling tips you may not have considered. What about replacing the existing door, leading to the basement stairs, with a glass French door?

This will add more light to the basement.

It's also safer. People can see each other through the door and nobody is at risk of being knocked down the staircase as doors are flying open.

Also if the kids forget to turn off the lights, (of course that doesn't happen in your house, right?) you'll see.

Dealing with Low Headroom

Some basement, particularly older basements, tend to have low-head room. If your basement has low head-room, you could consider excavating the basement floor.

This is a job that must be done by professionals who understand structure. These professionals must obtain a structural engineering report and a municipal building permit.


Caveat: Please do not do this without the proper permits, professionals and contractors who know what they're doing.

I had a "do-it-yourself-er" that wanted to get more headroom in his basement to create a music studio.

I couldn't believe my eyes. This was someone with no skills or knowledge of structure who began to dig out the basement of his house.

He dug and dug to the point that he began to compromise the integrity of the structure of this foundation.

He put his house but more importantly his family in a compromising position. He finished the project without the house collapsing. However he did cause damage and shifting throughout his home. He just got lucky it wasn't more!

Just recently, a house in Toronto was excavated by a contractor (who didn't take out a permit). These men heard loud creaking and snapping sounds so they ran out of the house. The entire bungalow flattened. Fortunately, nobody was killed. Obviously, they didn't know what they were doing. This is why this type of job is not for an amateur to undertake.

How Basement Excavation is Done

The existing concrete slab will need to be removed. Once the concrete slab is remove, the dirt below this slab is removed to the desired height and a new slab is poured in place.

If this sound like it might be too much of a project, consider how much cheaper and possibly easier this exercise will be as oppose to building a new addition on the house?

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