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Adding Living Space Without An Addition

That got your attention, didn’t it? Before you discount this article and move on, I just want you to do one thing…look down. That’s right. We’re talking basement remodeling. How many of us simply have a square box concrete basement that is merely a repository for boxes and storage. By doing some well thought out remodeling projects, you can add hundreds of square feet to your livable space, without the high expense and construction mess of a full fledged addition.


Remodeling your basement can be a great investment. According to annual surveys by Remodeling magazine, the average immediate return on investment for finishing your basement is roughly 75 cents on the dollar, and it will only go up from there. The basement remodel will also add more functionality to your home through more bedrooms, more efficient storage, and more family space.


Because this area is mostly underground, make sure you plan for windows and doors. Make sure the rest of the house is sealed off from any possible masonry dust. Before adding any new windows and doors, make sure the surrounding walls are tested to ensure that they can handle the additional structural load.


In order to ensure a safe trip downstairs for everyone, strengthen the wall supporting the handrails for the stairs. Make sure they are the right size for people to hold onto, and that they are at the right height.


Make sure you think about moisture. Merely installing a dehumidifier isn’t enough. They can actually have the opposite effect, as they can actually draw moisture in through the concrete. Check to ensure that you have good drainage off of your roof and foundation, and that bathrooms are vented to the outside. A vapor retardant should also be installed between the interior stud walls and the floors. You should also install breathable insulation.


Think about the flooring that you would like to use. Not all materials are suitable for use in basements. Solid wood is an example. Even small fluctuations in moisture can cause buckling and splitting of the wood.


For the ceiling, there are many options that will look good. Residential drop ceilings are available in twelve inch squares. You could also finish the ceiling with sheetrock, but some of the textures can flake off with moisture fluctuations.


Before you forget, make sure your contractor has brought in a HVAC expert to make sure your heating system can handle the additional space. If it can’t, it is simple enough to change, but you don’t need a surprise halfway through a project.


This can be a relatively inexpensive remodeling job when compared to other options. Here at, we would be proud to put our 30+ years of experience to work for you in making your home more useful for you or your family members. As always, you are the most important part of our remodeling team.


Gary Harris




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