Basement Renovations

In basement renovations, there are many considerations to look out for before you even begin getting the drawings done.

Your professional designer should go over with you all the features as well as the drawbacks involved in remodeling your basement.

Windows In Basements

If there are no windows in the basement, plan on getting some installed -- if at all possible. There are some exceptions where windows can't be installed. But if at all possible, installation of new windows greatly enhances the use and function of living in a basement.

If there are existing windows but they are too small, design the existing windows to be increased in size. By maximizing window area, you add more light to the basement.

Another benefit to increasing small basement windows is that you'll build an emergency escape! Most building codes require every house to have two ways to exit a building. Keep in mind, there will be code requirements of how low that window is to be from the floor.

Existing windows wells can be dug deeper. By increasing the size of the window well, you can increase the size of the windows.

You can also do this if cutting through solid, poured concrete foundation walls.

Adding a Full Bathroom

It's common in today's basement renovations to add a full bathroom to this level. What was once considered an extra bonus 2 piece bathroom is now considered a must in most basement renovations.

I'm having people installing custom tubs, high-end showers, built-in steamers, multiple heads showers, hot tubs and saunas into their bathroom basement renovations.

If you have the space, design the bathroom larger. Designing and building large bathrooms in basement renovations is growing in popularity.

Working with Design Elements

A good designer will make the space work. Using simple design tricks and basic building techniques, you can make the space look spectacular.

One thing your designer can do is layout horizontal patterns in the tile-work. This will emphasize the width and length of the room rather than its lack of height. Tiles laid in a diagonal pattern make the room feel wider.

Creating different activity zones in the basement renovations will also make it look larger and function better.

It is common for basements in bungalows to be long and narrow. To make this space work well, have your designer create different zones such as a TV area, arts & crafts area, work-out station and a computer station.

By identifying different activity zones, you'll make the space appear larger, more cozy, perform many functions and accommodate many family members doing different activities in the same space.

Heating & Cooling Your Basement

Consider including a new separate heating zone, with its own thermostat into your basement renovations.

The basement is really a different zone from the rest of the house. Basements tend to be cooler than other parts of the house during the summer.

For the summer, you want to allow for proper damper control in your duct-work/air conditioning system so you can control the input of cold air into a space that might already be quite cool. You don't want the basement to be a refrigerator in the summer just so you can get the bedrooms cooled adequately.

You might want to add a gas fireplace or additional electric baseboard heaters for additional heat in the winter. Since this will most likely be the space you'll sit down to watch TV in the evening, you might want to add a little extra heat and keep the rest of the house a bit cooler.

Create Some Illusions

Try little tricks like hanging the pictures slightly lower than you normally hang them. This trick makes the ceiling look higher. Hanging pictures too low has the opposite effect.

Transitional Space to the Backyard

Providing access to the backyard from the basement dwelling is a bonus.

If there is an existing door, consider replacing that door with a set of glass French doors. These glass doors will create a greater connection to the backyard. The door will add light to the basement space. It will help make the basement feel more open.

Try placing the french door in the lowest grade area. You're designer will have to make sure it can contour to the grade of the property. The designer will also have to make sure it works with the layout in the basement.

If you need to cut more space out of the foundation wall to create a door or double doors, you can hire a contractor that specializes in concrete cutting. Although concrete cutting is a messy job it will be done in no time.

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