Who hasn’t dreamed of converting their basement to make it a more welcoming room? A great opportunity to transform a space that’s currently unloved – even unused – into a place to share, to play… in short, a place dedicated to your favourite pastimes. It’s also an opportunity to enhance your property by giving it a touch of originality and a larger living area.
Let your imagination run wild, but keep the constraints of the space in mind to make your project successful. Here are a few tips.
Humidity and air quality
It’s essential to verify the impermeability of your foundations and the absence of cracks in order to prevent any water infiltration, which could ruin your work. The basement should be completely protected, or else mold or bad odours could invade the space.
In addition, basements are often poorly ventilated areas where the air quality leaves much to be desired. A window, of course, is the answer. If this isn’t possible, an insufflation-based ventilation system is essential to reject the heated clean air in your basement.
You should also check the radon levels, since this colourless, odourless gas can seep into the basement and cause lung cancer. Pick up a radon detection kit or have your levels checked by a professional.
On average, the basement is responsible for 30% of a house’s heat loss. Finishing your basement is, therefore, the perfect time to improve the overall insulation of your home. Prioritize wall and floor insulation with polystyrene panels rather than fibreglass, which is less resistant to mold. Don’t forget pipes to fight condensation.
The lack – even absence – of natural light in a basement can create an intimate atmosphere, but more often than not, we want to make our spaces brighter. If possible, it’s best to create a window or expand an existing opening. You can also paint the walls and ceilings white for more brightness. Don’t neglect the quality and quantity of the lighting you’re installing; privilege white lights that are more natural, and use the necessary power. Finally, use materials that reflect light: aluminum, metal, mirrors, etc.
For the basement to be considered livable, and so that a building permit can be issued, the ceilings must be at least 6 feet high, sometimes even 6.8 feet in some municipalities. If this isn’t the case, you can’t legally begin a development project, under penalty of sanction and a lack of insurance in the event of a disaster.
If you have enough height (around 8 feet), we recommend a suspended ceiling, since it’s elegant, easy to maintain, and gives you easy access to the pipes and electrical wires of the upper floor. It also lets you install recessed lighting, for an even more attractive look.
Polished concrete can be a good solution. Easy to maintain, it can also be painted, integrating patterns to give it the appropriate style.
If you want to give it a more classical look, try a floating or engineered floor. It’s not worth it to invest in solid wood, which is more expensive, considering the risks of humidity in this room. Whichever style you choose, a subfloor remains essential to enhance the insulation quality and prevent moisture.
You’ll definitely need a general contractor for a basement finishing project, no matter what your needs are, since this is often a complex project. Surround yourself with the right partners to make it a success!
SmartReno can help you find the right contractor for your Interior renovation project