As temperatures drop in Bucks County, everyone will be spending a lot more time indoors over the next few months. It can be a welcome excuse to huddle up with the family, but it can also make your home feel smaller and more cramped than it did before! If you’re looking for ways to make the most out of the square footage in your home, a finished basement can be an incredibly valuable space. Do you typically think cold instead of cozy when picturing a basement? That’s where contractors Milex Residential can help.
Run day-to-day by owners Mike DeMaio and Steve Bohn, Milex Residential's experienced team brings expertise, quality, and warm customer service to every project. Whatever you're looking to achieve with your home renovation, they’ll help make that dream a reality.
When it comes to finishing a basement, the sky is the limit. As Steve Bohn described it, they can range from “mild to wild.” But the biggest issue that almost everyone wants to remedy is how to make their basement space feel like part of the home. Milex will make it happen.
Here are 10 tips to consider when planning your basement renovation:
1. Know Your End Goal
There are two main questions to ask whenever starting a home renovation. The first being, “What’s your end goal?” In this case, what do you want the space to be used for? According to Steve, “95% of the time, gaining more living space is the goal.” This could mean a family room, a playroom, an in-law suite, or it could be something completely customized to your interests. Milex has done everything from arcade and billiard rooms and home theaters with stadium seating to golf simulator and multi sport rooms or temperature and humidity controlled wine rooms and cigar smoking lounges. (Yes, really!)
3. Moisture and Temperature Are Key
Addressing the moisture level is where Milex starts and something that people usually overlook. Moisture is what gives basements their typical cold, damp, musty feeling. There’s no hope of having your finished space feel like it’s part of the rest of your home without fixing the moisture and temperature problem.
The Milex Team will evaluate the situation and then remedy the problem. This could mean adding a French drain, doing an epoxy coating, excavating and even waterproofing the foundation from the outside. Adding an epoxy coating to the floor will also keep any moisture from seeping up through the concrete. And adding close cell spray foam insulation will help with temperature control.
4. Choose Comfortable Flooring
You might think you’re limited in a basement space, but once the moisture has been controlled, you can choose flooring that’s comfortable and warm. Steve suggests carpet or hardwood flooring to make it flow with the rest of your home, but you can also go with tiles or wood substitutes.
5. Finish the Ceilings
When you’re working with a basement space, you typically have to deal with joists, pipes and ductwork overhead. Oftentimes, people opt for a drop ceiling with paneling to conceal it all. But whenever possible, Steve recommends going with drywall. The addition of drywall on the ceiling is going to bring the polish of the main-level rooms down to the basement. If ceiling heights are standing in the way of achieving what you’re looking for, Milex can even lower the basement floor to create higher ceilings. And don’t forget to consider the ceiling for decorative accents that can really up the “wow” factor.
6. Do It to Code
If you’re putting in the effort to have your basement finished, you want to do it right. This means making sure that everything is done to code. Not only is this in the best interest of your family for your own safety, but it’s also necessary if you want to add this space to the overall square footage of your home in the event that you’re selling.
The main factor here is emergency egress openings. By code, you need an egress window. If there’s a bedroom, it needs its own window or walkout.
7. Include a Bathroom (and other plumbing considerations)
Steve Bohn from Milex states that adding a bathroom is one of the best things you can do for a basement remodel. “Ideally, you have at least a powder room on every floor of the home.” Not only is this obviously more comfortable for those using the space, it also does a lot to increase the value of the basement if you’re ever selling your home.
Beyond a bathroom, Milex’s expertise in below-ground plumbing can allow you to add features like a full-service wet bar or even a mini kitchen or laundry room.
8. Vary Your Light Sources
Basements don’t often get a lot of natural light, so you need to rely on good lighting to banish the potential for harsh shadows and gloom. Make your basement an inviting space by using a lot of recessed can lights for even overall lighting. (Dimmers are your friends!) But then layer in decorative lighting in the form of table lamps, floors lamps, wall sconces and pendants. Mirrors are also a great way to bounce around light and make a space feel bigger!
9. Design a Safe and Attractive Staircase
The steps to a basement are another spot where it can be a dead giveaway – you’re now going down into the basement! To make the space feel seamless with the rest of your home, you want to address the staircase. Open it up. Add a banister. If possible, remove the door at the top of the steps and stack them with the stairs to the second floor.
10. Details Are Key
Make this new space a favorite part of your home by choosing details that add warmth and character. Depending on the scope of your project, Milex will also bring in architects and an interior designer. Some things to consider are comfortable, inviting furniture, architectural details like molding and wall treatments, and practical (yet attractive!) storage options.