If you've ever wished your home had more space, you've probably debated between a finished versus unfinished basement. Finished basements are appealing and attractive, and they add a whole new level to a home. On the flip side, they also take a lot of work to build and maintain.
As a homeowner, you want to envision the process and weigh the benefits against the disadvantages before you make a decision.
There are plenty of advantages to a finished basement — that's what makes them so popular. Whether you're looking for some extra space for your family or seeking out a specific room design, finishing your basement can be an appealing strategy.
Here are some pros of a finished basement:
A finished basement can add value to your home — between 70%-75% of the initial cost. You'll essentially be adding living space to your house, which will be a clear advantage when it comes to selling your home. As potential buyers come to look at your home, they'll be impressed with the new look of your basement. Since it's already finished, this also takes some of the work out of future owners' hands.
One of the most popular reasons to opt for a finished basement is because it adds a whole new livable floor to your home. Unfinished, your basement is usually reserved for storage. Finished, it becomes an extension of your livable home, with new rooms to create however you see fit.
Looking for some space away from the rest of the world? A finished basement gives you that, being a level or two below everyone else in your home. For larger families, finished basements offer a perfect way to create some more space. Family members can entertain guests in the basement while the rest of the family can still enjoy peace on other floors — or vice-versa.
Finished basements also give you safety options. In case of natural disasters, like tornadoes, basements are often the safest place to be. With a redesigned, comfortable living area, you'll be ready if that time ever comes. You'll have couches, TVs, even fridges to stock water and food, creating a safe, comfortable place to hunker down.
Another great aspect of finishing your basement is the design freedom it gives you. Unlike other areas of your home which have designated uses — kitchen, living room, bathroom — the basement is yours to craft any way you'd like. Here are some different ways you can transform your basement:
Though a finished basement is appealing, it also has some potential disadvantages. These aspects are something you'll want to consider in the pre-planning process. For most home projects, there are going to be some challenges to overcome. You can weigh those challenges against the benefits of the completed project.
The cons of a finished basement can include:
Cost is one of the most significant cons of a finished basement. The total cost will differ slightly based on the design you want — a home theatre will likely cost more than a finished room with a couple of couches, carpet and a TV. You'll also have to consider these factors:
The more intricate your design, the higher the price of a basement will be. Electrical, plumbing and other costs can quickly start to add up during the construction process, so it's important to have a good idea of what you want and see if it fits your budget.
Although finishing your basement will boost your home value, you may not recoup a quarter of the project's cost. This is a con that isn't as important to some homeowners, since they're willing to spend the money for the added convenience and living space a finished basement offers.
An unfinished basement requires little upkeep. Maybe you descend once in a while to dust off old belongings and vacuum, but for the most part, it remains of little importance.
After the basement is finished, it becomes just like any other part of the home, subject to routine cleanings and maintenance. Basements are usually high in moisture, so you'll want to have a plan to reduce mold growth. Dehumidifiers are a good option to keep your basement clean and fresh-smelling.
If you do all of the cleaning yourself, this could add some time and energy to your weekly routine.
Although it's a part of your home, your basement remodel will have to follow local building codes in your area. Fail to live up to a certain code, and your construction could have to be halted. It will take a little time to get in contact with the city and unearth those small details about finishing a basement. Electrical outlets, for instance, should be within 6 feet of each other.
Make sure you're adhering to all of these codes so that you can finish your basement and have confidence that it's done the right way.
When it comes to finished basements, there are many myths and assumptions. These range from the actual definition of a finished basement to the impact on home value. Here are some frequently asked questions that address those myths.
In simple terms, a finished basement refers to one that resembles other parts of a home. It will typically include finished floors and walls, an electrical system and furnishings.
Yes, an extra bedroom in the basement will add value to your home. Potential buyers will love the usable space, as it can act as a guest room for college students, relatives, elderly parents or even an extra bedroom for a large family.
While it's true that basements are more prone to flooding than other parts of the home, you can install a waterproofing system that can help defend against excess rainwater or snowmelt.
In most cases, you'll need permits to finish your basement. Check with your local city government to ensure you're following the building codes. You may also need separate permits for electrical and plumbing, depending on your design.
Finishing your basement is a tall task, and one you should thoroughly think over before you make a decision. Weigh the pros and cons of finishing your basement against one another to see if it's the right decision for you.
If you do decide to finish your basement, there are a lot of things you need to consider. Make sure you break down each part of the process into manageable steps so you can put the right amount of focus into each one. It's better to take more time in the planning process instead of having to redo designs later on.
If you want to finish your basement, determine your budget first. Prices can easily rise as you work on your basement project, so it's important to set a range and stick to it. Setting a budget will also help you design your basement, as it will put some frames of reference around the process — you'll know whether you can add walls to create separate rooms or if you need an open plan, for example.
Next comes designing. What are you envisioning it to look like? Consider these factors when crafting your design:
To transform that dark and shadowy basement into something livable, you'll want to pay close attention to your lighting. With the right lighting, you can make your basement into a bright and inviting atmosphere. You may want to add some windows to let some natural light in. LED lights are also a great option for basements, as they can illuminate a large space without wasting too much energy.
Moisture is going to be a huge aspect of the upkeep of your basement. To get a head start on this issue, you should think about how you're going to address humidity during the planning process. You can utilize a few different strategies to keep moisture away:
With proper moisture prevention methods in place, you can reduce any costs associated with mold removal and keep your basement smelling clean.
Cater your flooring type to the characteristics of your basement. Because of moisture, solid wood flooring might not be a good option, as it could start to split and crack. Instead, you could opt for something like tile or vinyl planks. Here are a few of your options:
Many basements are underground, which raises several safety concerns. Most local codes require basements to be built with windows big enough for safety equipment to get through in case of an emergency. Make sure you're installing the proper preventative measures like fire, carbon monoxide and radon detectors.
Checking safety off your list will give you confidence that your basement is a safe place to be.
Maybe you've decided a basement remodel isn't right for you, and you want to start from scratch. If you're looking to buy or build your dream home, SK Builders is here to help, with over 25 years of experience delivering quality work to the upstate South Carolina area.
We're dedicated to providing excellent customer service, professional craftsmanship and beautiful designs to all of our clients. Our partnership with McAlister Realty makes the buying process as seamless as possible. Bring your dream home to life and start working with SK Builders. Contact us today!