A well-planned basement finishing project will provide for great family enjoyment as well as being a sound investment. Poorly planned and improperly finished basements may satisfy immediate needs but could negatively impact on the sale value of your home. When planning your basement renovation, take into consideration the below fundamentals of basement construction.
8 Fundamentals of Basement Construction to Consider
All of the new partition walls and bulkheads will be non-structural. Therefore, you may consider using metal studs or wooden 2”x 3” to save space and expense.
2. Insulation / vapor barrier / air leakage
Extra insulation will no doubt be required. However, emphasis should be placed on improved vapor barrier and air leakage controls to maximize on comfort.
3. Electrical Considerations
You may require a sub-panel to accommodate the new electrical demands. Consider locating the sub-panel in another location in the basement, the furnace room for example. This allows for greater flexibility and ease when adding electrical fixtures in the future.
Room location in relation to the main panel. Do not place a bathroom or laundry room in the same location as your main electrical panel. Additionally, do not construct a clothing closet in front of the main panel. Ultimately, 30” of clear access is required in front of all electrical panels. Design your basement accordingly.
Any alterations or additions to the electrical system will require a permit application/inspection with the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA).
4. Furnace and Air Ducts (HVAC)
Return Air System. The return air unit in an unfinished basement will require an important change when finishing a basement. The new return air trunk/inlet should be located low, on an inside wall, in a central location.
Supply ducts & outlet. There should be a supply outlet, with volume damper and adjustable registers installed in all finished rooms in the basement. The ideal location will be at the ceiling level, two feet away from an outside wall.
Furnace. When constructing the partitions forming the utility room provide for proper clearance around the furnace. Most furnaces require 6” space at sides and rear. Ensure that 24” clearance allowance is at the front of the furnace for servicing.
The best flooring for a basement is resilient material that is non-absorbent. Ceramic and stone tile, vinyl and PVC flooring products should be considered above all other choices. Avoid flooring that can be permanently damaged by water leakage.
6. Comfort is Key when Considering Basement Construction
For large spaces the installation of a factory-built gas fireplace will provide much needed extra warmth for those cold winter days. At the very least, rough-in a gas line where you would want to locate a future fireplace.
7. Plumbing Facilities and Access
Ensure to provide access to the following items:
- The main water meter and shut off valve
- Inside shut-off valves to winterize your garden hose tap
- The shut-off valve for the water line to the fridge/ice maker
- The base of all vertical drain lines.
All valves/drains can be finished with manufactured access panels which are readily available at your local building supply store.
8. Accessible Ceiling
It is wise to consider alternative ceiling finishes to drywall, especially under your kitchen. Ceilings can be finished with attractive t-bar tiles or screwed in decorative wood panelling. The rationale for removable style ceilings is to provide you with access under the rooms and spaces you will want to renovate in the future.
Produced by Baker Street Home Inspection Services Inc. and RenoLogic.
Baker Street Home Inspection Services Inc. has been in business since 1985, conducting over 50,000 home inspections. RenoLogic offers homeowners impartial, expert advice on their home renovations and repairs.
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