Basement Reno 101

In many homes, basements tend to become that forgotten space. A place where odds and ends are stored and no real use is ever determined. And while this has become the norm for the sad existence that is the unfinished basement, homeowners may be surprised of the great potential in this “wasted” space. Basements are essentially a blank canvas, ready and willing to become something great. Let’s explore what to keep in mind when renovating a basement.

Exit strategy

In the event of an emergency, building codes require you have options when exiting a bedroom in the basement. Stairs are an obvious exit route and egress windows are usually the second option. You may have one or two of these located in your basement already. The word egress is defined as a “path out,” and in the basement, an egress window is essentially a well of a particular size dug next to the foundation.

Bright ideas

Natural light tends to be in short supply in the basement. Egress windows also act as a source of light. If you choose to add more windows to the space, ensure they include proper locks and installation is air tight. Pot lights, track lighting and decorative lamps are also popular options when lighting a liveable basement space.

Look up

The inner workings of your home are usually found in the basement, so determining how to mask things tastefully and properly can be a challenge. Drop ceilings, flooring materials and ceiling materials that maximize low ceiling space are all things to consider when renovating a basement. Keep in mind that building codes also come into play, as a minimum ceiling height is required.


Before tackling a basement renovation, walls should be checked for any moisture or mold. A professional contractor can check for damp walls, deal with unruly drainage if need be, and seal any existing cracks. Flooding is a common issue in basements, so be proactive and ensure you’ve done all you can to ensure a dry living space.

Step safety

Besides the actual space itself, the stairs leading to your basement may also need a revamp. In an unfinished basement, stairs are usually not top of mind. They may be old, loose, and not structurally sound. Along with following necessary building codes, careful measurements are required when constructing a staircase. Have peace of mind when you or your loved ones enter and exit the basement by ensuring the staircase is done right the first time.

Heating and cooling

While a cool basement may be a welcome refresher in the summer, it can be unbearably chilly during the winter months. If you already have an HVAC system and insulation in place, a contractor will be able to determine if it can adequately provide for the space or if an additional heating and cooling system is required. Other creative options for heating a basement include electric baseboards, radiant heat, a gas fireplace or a wood-burning stove.

When it comes to basement renovations, there are several factors to consider. Hire an expert to ensure work is done safely and properly. Once complete, that once dingy, forgotten space may become the go-to room your whole family will enjoy.

Check out for more tips and tricks and call 902-488-5683 for all of your basement renovation needs.

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