Authored by Douglas Mefford in Home Improvement
Published on 11-08-2009
In standard home construction the basement is usually left as an unfinished storage area. While this is adequate for many families, the basement area can be completed as a welcome addition to the livable space within a home. One popular idea is to turn the basement into an extra bedroom for guests or a family member.
There is more involved in this process than just throwing a bed in the corner. It will save time and money as well as minimizing disappointment if you decide just what you want in the new basement bedroom and draw up a detailed plan. Designing what you want included in the new room will let you know just what space you do have and what things need to be prioritized and what materials you will need to purchase. Some areas of the country will first require building permits before work can begin.
There are also several safety features that will need to be incorporated in the remodeling plan. There should be at least two points of egress from the basement. As well as the door, a window to the outside should be built or enlarged to about 5-6 square feet in size. Since basement windows are usually high on the wall, a ladder should be built in to make it easy to access the window rapidly in case of an emergency. At least one smoke alarm per finished basement room will also help prevent loss of life in case of a disaster.
Basements tend to accumulate moisture, especially along the concrete flooring. For a drier room and to prevent mold development, a raised “false floor” should be constructed over the area to prevent moisture seepage into the carpet or floor covering. There are several types of floating floor methods that can be used. A drop ceiling is also usually required so as to cover exposed pipes and vents that service the other areas of the home.
Insetting the walls will also help prevent moisture problems as well as give a more comfortable appearance to the room. Standard 2×4 framework should be constructed and finished with either drywall or paneling as preferred. Basements are not generally provided with many electrical outlets. It will probably be necessary to also extend the electrical network throughout the wall framework. Extra lighting should be provided whether standard ceiling lights or strategically placed track lighting is preferred. Unless one is proficient with such work, it is best to hire professional electricians to run these lines and hook into the electrical fuse box.
A final consideration when turning your basement into an extra bedroom is whether you will also be installing a bathroom, or at least toilet facilities, into the area. Again, installing this plumbing may require the services of professional craftsmen to provide the best possible connections into the rest of the household systems. If the new room is large enough, one can also furnish an area as a small kitchenette for further self-sufficiency for the room’s occupant.
The new basement bedroom you have created will add both extra flexibility and greater value to your home.