BASEMENTS

Should I convert my basement? Yes!

Facts about basement conversions or basement remodels:

Basements are to store junk or other things we don’t want to look at or deal with, right? When we think of a basement, we get the idea of a dark dingy wet creepy dirty place, right?

Well, what if you could turn your basement into livable space? What if you could add a very livable extra square footage to your home!

Daylight Basement Remodel/Conversion to a Game Room

Imagine your basement as a new living space with a Home Theatre or Entertainment Room with Bar. How about an extra bedroom or two, a playroom for your children, or a home office space. Depending on the size of your basement, the square footage could be half again as much as your house. This could not only be a wise investment but also a pleasant addition to your home and lifestyle.

There are many ways you can utilize your basement space.  If you don’t have much daylight, consider making your basement a Home Theatre, where you can entertain guests or enjoy a movie with your family on a rainy night, without leaving your home. Your basement could be converted into Guest Bedroom or a Second Apartment.  The Second Apartment can be rented for extra income.

How to Remodel My Basement:

Lets get started!

Damp Basement or Leaky Basement?

Ensure your basement is dry all year long. The first thing to do is to make sure your basement is free from leakage. A wet basement being home for mold and mildew can lead to moisture problems in the house and even into the attic.

Bad drainage can cause problems.  In some circumstances water leading toward the house eventually causes the concrete slab or block to buckle inward and crack.  Dry clay contracts forming crevices between the foundation wall and the soil.  These cracks fill up with more dirt being blown in or washed in by light rains.  When the seasonal rains come the clay and dirt swells back to it’s original size along with the extra increments of soil expanding.  Over time the wall is pushed inward from this process and buckles. This occurs a bit below grade or at the window sills. It can also occur below the basement floor.

How to pinpoint Basement moisture problems:

Walk around the house and check the gutters to ensure they are not clogged.  Rainwater can overflow the clogged gutters causing ground to settle.  A small crater then can develop leaving its contents nowhere to drain but down and into the cellar.  Make sure the down spouts are not clogged so the flow is away from the house foundation.

Do you have a patio?  Check the patio slab for depressions next to the edge where water can collect and run off.  If the concrete slab is on sand or gravel, the water will take the least resistance which would be through the gravel under the patio and down the foundation wall.  What about the sewer line?  The water can be running into the foundation wall through the sand in which the sewer line is laid.  If the leaking occurs right after the rain the problem is surface water.  If it is a day or so after the rain, a rising water table could be the problem.

Getting a copy of the county-soil survey can give you the type of soil you have and the time it takes the soil to saturate.  This is helpful in knowing how well the soil drains and how long it takes the soil to saturate.  Making sure every angle is covered regarding draining the water away from the foundation is the first priority in handling leaks.  Damp proofing is done as a second measure but it cannot keep the water from coming through cracks.

If your home is built on the lowest part of the lot, professional consultation is advised as to how to direct the water away from the foundation of the house. The correct drainage away from the foundation is the first most important step to ensure your basement stays dry now and after the basement remodeling project.  Footing drains should be installed even though most of the trouble will be caused by surface water.  They will help keep down a potential high water table.  If you have a sump pump installed, you can actively pump the water out of your house. This reduces the need for a natural downhill incline and ensures that the water is being removed.

Summary of Moisture Basics for Basement Remodeling

An effective drainage system consist of two distinct systems: a subsurface drain to carry away the flow of ground or subsurface water, and a surface drain to convey rain or snowmelt away from the building.