REFINISHING MY BASEMENT
With a combined total of 50 years experience in home construction and remodeling, DryMaster offers more than waterproofing and structural repair. Let us help you create the basement of your dreams. We make it affordable, quick, and easy.
ADD AN ENTIRE FLOOR OF LIVING SPACE
Your basement can as as much as twice the living space to your home.
Can you imagine having a theater room, a bar, a game room, an exercise room, bedrooms, and a bathroom to your basement.
A beautifully executed basement remodeling project can give you the perfect space for entertaining, a den for family activities, a game room, and even a top line home theater.
- 1. Eliminate as many posts and columns as is practical. Design new walls to conceal necessary posts and columns whenever possible.
- 2. If air ducts or plumbing must be relocated, do so along walls or beams, leaving ceilings higher in the center of rooms, where headroom is more critical.
- 3. Make the room seem wider and longer with the use of horizontal design elements.
- 4. While your basement may not be much to look at now, you'll want to end up with quality living space when the project is complete. A little forethought and careful planning now can help you create a space that is attractive, comfortable and useful.
Basements should be more heavily lit than above-grade rooms. Maximize both natural (outdoor daylight) and artificial lighting. An open floor plan, large windows, and a French door leading to the basement instead of the solid door which is most likely installed there now will help maximize the lighting. Also think in terms of light colors, and mirrored walls
Stick with light colors for the walls. Using light paint colors will very effectively brighten the gloomiest basements!
Seeking out bright or dramatic color schemes should be your goal for your basement decor. Varying shades of red, blue, yellow, orange, and green add color and character to this notoriously dark room.
Throw down some unique rugs to add texture and variety. Put up new artwork. If you are in the process of choosing furniture, you might want to consult a decorator to help you create your desired look.
Add or relocate your laundry room to the basement, freeing up main floor space, move the gym equipment that's been gathering dust in your garage into the basement
Finishing a basement is an extremely complicated undertaking and only a professionally-trained basement finishing contractor has the knowledge and experience to avoid the mistakes commonly made by those less experienced.
Basement finishing is one of the best way to expand your living space, but do you have a dry basement or do you have a wet basement ?
Only a dry basement is good candidate for basement finishing. A dehumidifier can eliminate a minor basement moisture issue, but other basements have moisture problems that need to be fixed by basement waterproofing before considering a basement finishing project.
When you finish your concrete basement, use the right kind of lumber for the walls. The sole plate (the bottom 2X4 that sits on the floor) should be CCA treated lumber. That way, it won´t be affected by any moisture that could leech up through the concrete floor. The rest of the wall (the upright 2X4´s and the top plate) are standard kiln dried dimension lumber. The top plate is nailed to the joists above. This is no problem where the new wall is perpendicular to the joists, but what about where the wall is parallel to the joists? Cut a 2X4 block to fit between the joists above the wall. The blocks are nailed between the joists every 24 inches. The top plate is nailed to the blocks. Be sure to plumb the walls before nailing. To fasten the sole plate to the concrete floor, run a bead of construction adhesive on the bottom before you stand the wall. Once the wall is plumb, you can drive nails into the concrete with a powder actuated nail set - sometimes called a Ramset. Drive a nail at every other stud space and as close as possible to every door stud.
Electric Floor Heating
FREE Ebook. Electric floor heating is also a solution to cold basements. When your home was first built, the odds are that there were few if any registers or vents installed in the basement. Your basement is likely cold or not appropriately heated. Electric floor heating can work as the only source of heat. Combined with a forced-air heating system, you will just need to keep the floor warm a few hours a day to add the necessary warmth to your basement. Open Your Ebook: Heidi Winings installs electric floor heating in her basement.
(when prompted, click on "Open" to read our ebook)
Please note this book is only available for Windows users.
Besides heated flooring, what else can you do against basement moisture
and how can you reduce humidity?
Dehumidifiers are used in many basements. But they consume lots of energy on condensing water, which is released into the air as heat. This, in turn, adds to the air-conditioning load. More importantly, dehumidifiers draw in through the concrete more moisture with dissolved chemicals, which accelerates efflorescence and deterioration of the concrete. Minimize or entirely avoid dehumidifiers by eliminating the source of dampness and deep-sealing the concrete.
If you have a sump pump, cover it up and seal it airtight with silicone caulk. Caulk any openings and cracks in the concrete with self-leveling caulk. Insulate air-conditioning ducts to prevent condensation. Reduce the amount of water around your foundations with proper gutters, downspout extensions, and by grading the soil. If you have a crawl space, cover the soil with heavy polyethylene sheets and ventilate the space to the outside. Clean humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air conditioning condensing units regularly with chlorine bleach.
Proper Basement Lighting Techniques
Adding light, whether it is natural or artificial, can make a significant difference in your finished basement
overall feel. Since basements tend to be dark and gloomy, adding light should be your first step. If part of your basement is above ground, take advantage of this by having as many windows as possible. You should let in natural light wherever possible so look for simple window treatments that allow the most light to pass through.
Make creative use of artificial light
Typically, basement ceilings are low, so that you get the feeling you're in a cave. To offset this, use indirect lighting that splashes large pools of light on the ceiling. This will open up the space and make rooms appear higher than they are. A mix of this up-lighting and traditional recessed lighting will give you the flexibility you need to create a variety of lighting moods. Mirrors, mounted on the walls or even ceilings, can also amplify and reinforce lighting effects.
When natural light isn't an option, artificial light can be used abundantly to create a warm atmosphere. No fluorescent light please! (While fluorescent lighting is very cost effective and energy efficient, it is not the most appealing option speaking in terms of design.) Table and floor lamps work well and some ceiling lighting can be used also.
Maximize natural light
For many reasons, you'll want more light. If parts of the finished basement
extend above the ground, you can add new windows or enlarge existing ones. If that isn't possible, another option is to dig window wells. Window wells can increase the odds of water problems, so it's a good idea to build ones with waterproof
Another advantage of enlarged windows is that they provide alternative escape routes in case of fire. One concern that some people have about basement windows is that they provide thieves with ideal access to the home. One way to mitigate that risk is to install glass bricks (rather than conventional windows) at high-risk locations. Maximize the effect of regular windows by mounting some windows in the interior walls between rooms that open pathways for natural light to reach interior rooms. Natural lighting in basements via windows is a security problem, since a burglar can break a window. To get natural light without security worries, consider using glass blocks to replace the regular window.
Use recessed lights for basic general lighting where you have room in the ceiling for recessed lighting. Incandescent recessed lights give a brilliant white light and a brighter look in basement areas. Surface Mounted Spotlights and Directional Lights
Perfect for decorative lighting effects where you don't want to install track lights or recessed lights. Use surface-mounted spotlights and directional lights to highlight pictures and architectural elements. Spot lights and directional lights also provide task lighting in kitchens, home offices, bathrooms and other areas where task lighting is needed.Track Lights
Incandescent track lights give a brilliant white light. In a basement, they give the space a more finished look.Quick basement lighting tips
Warning signs that you have waterproofing problems in your basement
- Turn off the lights in any room you're not using, or consider installing timers, photo cells, or occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.
- Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. For example, use fluorescent under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and countertops under cabinets.
- Consider three-way lamps; they make it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not necessary.
- Use 4-foot fluorescent fixtures with reflective backing and electronic ballasts for entire basement.
- Consider using 4-watt mini-fluorescent or electro-luminescent night lights. Both lights are much more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. The luminescent lights are cool to the touch.
- Recessed lighting in basements creates a more open atmosphere than surface fixtures and are less likely to be broken by child play.
- Use shallow housings for basements where vertical installation space is limited such as 2" x 6" construction
- A-lamp multipliers provide a more diffuse, uniform lighting
- Narrow beam lamps create more dramatic effects on objects and artwork
Why is waterproofing important?
- Mold and Mildew Fungus that grows in damp and dark areas, and cause discoloration, or musty odors.
- Moldy Odors This is the result of the decay process from mold, and dry rot.
- Peeling Paint Peeling paint is a sign that you have moisture problems and waterproofing issues.
- Damp Spots on Walls Water has absorbed through your walls.
- White Substance on Basement Walls This is a chemical breakdown of the bonding agent that holds your walls together. This white substance ( effloresence)is a sign of possible structural deterioration.
- Cracked Walls Should be inspected to determine the exact cause.
- Rust on Appliances or Furniture Like furnaces. Rust is caused by a wet environment and is the sign of waterproofing issues.
- Dry Rot Black fungus grows mostly on walls or wooden surfaces, causing wood to decay.
A wet basement
can dramatically reduce the value of your home. Studies show that most people won't even consider buying a home with water leakage
. Selling a home with water leaks
can easily result in as much as a 25% reduction in the sale price.
Even if you rarely have problems with a damp basement or basement flooding, it's best to solve the problem completely before doing any remodeling work. Permanent solutions can take time to implement. A good place to start is to talk to an independent home inspector who specializes in waterproofing problems.
Proper insulation is critical to creating a comfortable, dry basement. Besides keeping out the cold, basement insulation prevents condensation. The ground stays cool year round. It in turn keeps basement walls cool. When the warmer air in the room comes in contact with all those cool walls, it has to give up some of its moisture in the form of condensation. In fact, condensation is the primary source of the moisture that causes mold and mildew problems in basements. Effective insulation separates the warm air of the room from the cool walls, thereby preventing the basement moisture problems that stem from condensation.
About basement waterproofing and insulation:
Perhaps the most fundamental and often overlooked mistake do-it-yourselfers make when insulating is neglecting to find out the most efficient R-value for their area and insulating accordingly.
The top-10 most common insulating mistakes in basements
1. Not providing for good air circulation between the roof and the insulation.
2. Installing fiberglass batting with the paper side (vapor barrier) facing toward the outside instead of toward the heated area.
3. Omitting a vapor barrier, which prevents accumulation of moisture between the batting and the underside of the roof or wall.
4. Puncturing the vapor barrier unnecessarily, or neglecting to puncture the vapor barrier of the top batt when installing two layers.
5. Distorting, compressing, or squeezing the fiberglass batt insulation out of shape.
6. Using paper-faced batting against a heat source like a chimney, a heating duct, etc.
7. Neglecting to get into all of the small spaces and corners with the insulation.
8. Covering eaves vents with insulation, thereby cutting off ventilation.
9. Making unnecessary trips up and down the attic stairs during installation. Assemble all tools and equipment in your work area prior to beginning the job.
10. Not using closed-cell (waterproof), rigid foam insulation panels on below grade installations
Basement Finishing Techniques
Use plush carpets and drapes sparingly, if at all. Surfaces that don't absorb moisture are best. For floors, area rugs are ideal because they can be removed, cleaned and dried. If you must have wall-to-wall carpeting, consider a low pile commercial or indoor/outdoor type. If you decide to install carpet on your basement floor, consider spending a little extra on the thickest carpet pad you can get. It helps smooth out the small irregularities in the concrete, especially around the walls and jackposts.
When you remove carpet in order to replace it with laminate flooring, it is tempting to use the carpet pad instead of the correct pad for the new floor. Resist the temptation. Carpet pad is too thick and too soft to work correctly. If you do leave the carpet pad, the new floor will be mushy.
Home Theaters Are HOT in Basements
Americans love to be entertained, so it should come as no surprise that home theaters are one of the biggest home improvement trends of the last few years. With all the sophisticated consumer electronics equipment now available, homeowners need a well-designed space where they can use and enjoy it all.
Most people spend a lot of time picking out the perfect sound system, a cutting-edge plasma TV and all the other accessories needed to create a great home theater. But the furniture and the way you will set it up in your basement is usually an afterthought -- and this can be a mistake.
“How well your technical components work together depends in large part on the kind of furniture you have to support them,” says Keith Pribyl of Sanus Systems, a supplier of specially-designed A/V furniture based in St. Paul, Minn. “Traditional furniture is not designed to work with electronic equipment.”
The dilemma for style-conscious consumers is that most high-end furniture can’t accommodate electronics, and the cheap alternatives can make your living room or den resemble a dorm room.
“All those cords look really ugly” says Pribyl. “Most people want the benefits of great A/V equipment, but they want it tucked away out of sight.”
Interested in transforming your basement in a home theather room? Find the appropriate furniture:
- Extra deep shelves. Most components are too deep for ordinary shelves; a minimum of 22 inches is usually necessary.
- Units that can accommodate “wire management.”Dangling wires are not only unattractive, they can also be dangerous. Your furniture should have an enclosed channel at the back so that wires can be safely arranged and tucked out of site.
- A ventilation system. “All high-end electronic gear gets really hot,” says Pribyl, “but most people want it hidden away inside a cabinet.” To solve this problem, Sanus’ Woodbrook line of furniture includes a convection cooling system that sucks cool air from vents at the bottom and releases hot air out the top. This system, unlike most anything else now on the market, protects the equipment and prevents the cabinet from getting too hot. “It works like a chimney,” adds Pribyl.
- Is Flat screen wall mount the right option? The last few years have seen an explosion in sales of flat screen plasma TVs, but most consumers don’t think about the tricky task of mounting the unit on the wall safely. Look for a universal wall mount -- one that will work with any flat screen TV -- that can also be adjusted easily. A Sanus-designed wall mount can accommodate virtually all types of flat screens and the viewing angle can be easily changed with just a touch of the finger. Many of the other wall mounts out there are intended only for a specific brand of television and require tools and often two people for adjustments. In basements, however, space is often not an issue, and there's no need to invest the extra dollar for a flat screen equipment.
Bringing the bar to your basement
Designed in a contemporary style, Sanus Systems’ Woodbrook line of furniture is available with solid maple or cherry hardwood. Sanus products are available at thousands of retailers nationwide. For more information and to locate a dealer in your area, go to www.sanus.com
It's every man's wish to one day have an area that he can call his own, give him some time away from the wife and kids, time to sit back, relax, maybe watch some sports and drink some brew.
It's always important to have an idea of scale before you begin your project, are you aiming for a small bar with a few drinks on offer in your basement for personal use or are you looking to go the whole hog and have a bonefide bar in your basement suitable for hosting parties. Make sure your expectations are realistic, picture your perfect end result and make sure to keep that in mind whilst you go through the following sections.
This is a big decision for you right off the bat and one that will likely shape the personality of your basement bar, the most popular option is the classic wood look. Whether it be imported English Oak or treated pine from your local home supplies store, the dark wood bar will give an authentic, distinguished, professional look to your room, careful though as it can make or break the whole vibe that you're trying to convey. An excellent resource for both looking at different bar designs and for giving yourself some personalized ideas is the Wallace & Hinz site
. Other, less popular bar surfaces include tile, granite and stone. In recent years chrome and steel finishes have also become popular surfaces amongst younger, trendier bars.
Finally when considering the bar surface alway make allowances for a draught fountain, a sink or any other appliances that may take up space in your bar area.
There's lots of things to consider when choosing the seating arrangements for your bar. First and foremost you need to know the exact height and color of your bar as this will obviously effect the color and height that your stools should be, speaking of stools, will they have back rests or not? Will the have the ability to swivel? Footrests? Also you may wish to consider the length of your bar in order to ascertain how many of these stools you'll need and how large a gap you will have between each.
This maybe isn't the most exciting aspect of planning your bar (don't worry, that will come next) but it may be the most important. Once more it brings up the question of whether or not you intend to have beer taps for draught. If thats a little too much for you then you may wish to look into buying a mini fridge-freezer that can fit nicely behind your bar and keep your ales and soft drinks chilled. Your may also want to invest in a mini-dishwasher that will ensure that you're never that guy who serves his beer in dirty pint glasses. If you do want to shot for draft taps that does complicate things somewhat, for starters you'll need an area to store the kegs. This area should be between 11ºc-13ºc. Next you may want to consider underbar cooling, as this is likely a bar to be used by small amounts of people, a shelf cooler
Furnishings / Themes
Ah, now this is where the fun really begins, decisions your make here will shape your bar/pub and effect how others will view it in the great scheme of things. Popular choices include the Sports bar's multiple televisions, the American style bar featuring plenty of neon lights, the British pub with lots of dark oak, a dartboard and a snooker table, or the Irish look, similar to that of the British pub with the dark wood but with an array of Guinness signs.
Those are the most popular but there are many others that you can choose from, a sophisticated wine bar or cocktail bar, or perhaps to steer away from the alcohol driven themes, a coffee bar may be more to your taste. No doubt you already have a look and style in mind as your read this but a good piece of advice would be to always keep an open mind to new ideas, you might find inspiration for your bar at the most unexpected moments.