Every homeowner with an unfinished basement will dream about making the subterranean space something better. Who does not want to add another livable floor to their house? Not only does it boost property value, it frees up precious room in the main section of the dwelling, and allows for an array of options as far as purpose is concerned.
However, this is all contingent on the job being done right. Too often, homeowners get in over their heads with do-it-yourself remodeling and less-than-reputable contractors. Costs and complications spiral out of control. Basement finishing projects are no exception. In fact, they can be a particular hassle depending on the local climate and geography.
The Midwest, for example, sees anywhere from 20 to 50 inches of rainfall on average every year. This makes basements in these states especially prone to leaking in the aftermath of heavy storms.
Flooding in a utility-grade, unfinished basement is an annoyance, but leaks making their way into a finished basement are a disaster. Finding reputable safe basement waterproofing experts is key to preventing floods from ruining a finished living space. Otherwise it may only be a matter of time before Mother Nature undoes all the hard work of a basement remodel project.
In some parts of the country, the water table is simply too high to allow for cost-effective basement construction in the first place. Florida, for example, is for all intents and purposes a thin layer of land floating on the ocean, making anything below ground consistently vulnerable to flooding from the bottom up. In fact, to successfully build tunnels under Walt Disney World in Orlando it was necessary to install them at ground-level and elevate the surface by one story.
Now...what to do with basement space once it is for certain there would not be any water damage. This, of course, depends on the wants and needs of the inhabitants/owners of the home. If you have unfinished basement space but lack inspiration for what to do with it, here are the most common uses for subterranean floors of a house:
Men and women who work from home love this option for obvious reasons. It is an ideal choice for a small basement floor plan, or it can be combined with a bedroom, playroom, or other space depending on the square footage available (and the budget.)
Is the family growing? If so then maybe the basement is the perfect place for a playroom? Abide by safe-proofing procedures before proceeding.
More than one household has a treadmill or elliptical in their unfinished basement. Make it a finished basement space and allow for the option to put a TV and shower down there too. Cozy space can have a positive affect on your attempt to stay physically fit, whereas dark and dank unfinished basements are uninspiring.
Sometimes called a “man-cave," finishing a basement with the intent to use it as a place to get away from other humans for a while does not have to be gender exclusive. Home theater setups, pool tables, and poker tables are the go-to options, but what about a home library, or a meditation room?
With the right soundproofing measures, a finished basement can provide the perfect practice space for budding bands and longtime collaborators alike. It is better than a garage, where it is more likely than not the neighbors will be within earshot of the drum solos.
Homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to make money from their real estate, and renting is of course the primary way to go about it. Converting a basement into a spare apartment allows families to rent out what was otherwise mostly unused space, enough to cover half or more of the mortgage payment every month.
Shrinking the apartment option down a little, using the basement for spare bedrooms is the classic choice for most households. Again, if the budget and square footage allows for it, a spare bedroom can be combined with any of the previous options.
Unfinished basements everywhere are just waiting to be turned into useful, lively spaces. First they must be made to be waterproof and safe. Afterwards, it’s up to the homeowner to decide what to do with their basements. The options are many, combinations are possible, and the result is undoubtedly a better living experience for everyone under the roof.