Design Tips for Pop Up Northern Virginia Additions

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Pop up additions provide more room than this trailer pop up!

Whether you live in a rambler, bungalow or split-level house, pop up Northern Virginia additions provide much needed, comfortable living space for small lots. What if you need an additional bedroom or family room, but can’t add out due to property limitations? Many Northern Virginia homeowners face this problem and contractors turn to pop up additions for the ideal solution.

Tip # 1 – Redesign the Entire House

You may be tempted to focus your design skills on the new area, and avoid spending money on your existing main floor. This approach results in choppy design and often leaves homeowners unsatisfied with their home addition investment.

Focus instead on the overall flow and feel of your new, larger floor plan. Think about paint colors, traffic areas, flooring and symmetry. Work hard on the design to create balance between the main floor and the pop up, from the larger scope of design to the smallest details. Although this approach increases the cost of your renovation project, it’s money well spent.

Tip # 2 – Decide Which Rooms to Relocate

A typical rambler or bungalow floor plan includes bedrooms on the main floor with limited space for the kitchen and living space. Many pop up Northern Virginia additions move the bedrooms to the new second floor, providing greater areas for the family room, dining and kitchen spaces. Other designs move only the master bedroom, allowing for a spacious master bedroom with an ensuite bath and walk-in closet.

Your home addition contractor will assess the options and ask about your priorities. Are you looking for a larger master bedroom, more bedrooms in total, an additional bathroom or a more spacious kitchen? The final design depends on which rooms are relocated to the new upper floor, and how much area is freed up on the main floor by those changes.

Tip # 3 – Consider Stairway Location

Building a new staircase from the main floor to the pop up requires a substantial amount of room. Be prepared to use an existing small room, hallway or closet space for the stairway, and remember that this vital aspect will also eat up some of the new area upstairs.

If your home currently includes a set of stairs to the basement, this area may be the best location. But renovations on the first floor may require those stairs to move, allowing for a completely new set up for both sets of stairs.

Think about traffic flow. Many two-storey home designs place stairs near the front entrance, but this may not be the optimum location for your family. An addition also allows homeowners to include a second staircase to the second floor, providing direct access from a rear entrance or kitchen. Use your imagination and plan to build the staircase in a prime location that suits your family’s lifestyle.

Tip # 4 – Remember the Exterior Finish

Exterior finishes on your new pop up home addition should either match or complement the existing finish. Siding presents the most economical option for exterior; be sure to choose a color and profile that matches your home’s styling and any existing stonework.

Some homeowners take this opportunity to replace the existing finish, allowing for a more uniform appearance. Upgrade to low maintenance siding and replace all existing trim to match. This work adds to the overall budget, but results in a new home from the inside out.

Pop up Northern Virginia additions provide much needed living space and allow for modern upgrades to suit your family. Consider all of these design tips and speak to your contractor about the best floor plan for your property.

Design and Installation Tips for Virginia Basement Fireplaces

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Smart homeowners know that adding Virginia basement fireplaces to their below-grade living space increases property value and boosts comfort. Choosing the ideal fireplace and planning for proper installation are essential steps. Find out the right way to include a fireplace in your basement renovation plans.

The Best Type of Fireplace for the Basement

Although a traditional wood burning hearth creates an undeniable amount of comfort and romance, it isn’t the ideal choice for a basement fireplace. Pre-fabricated fireplaces operate cleanly and require much less space in terms of chimneys and ventilation. Many Virginia homeowners are updating their existing wood burning fireplaces upstairs and down, opting instead for an efficient, safe pre-fabricated model.

Direct vent natural gas fireplaces are the ideal choice for most homes. Not only do these fireplaces install with minimal hassle and expense, but they also create fewer emissions and require very little maintenance. Natural gas costs the same or less than other fuel options, such as wood pellets.

Stay away from vent-free models, as this type of fireplace may release harmful emissions into your home. Direct vent models require only a small amount of interior space for the pipes and present a non-intrusive vent cover outside.

Location, Location, Location

Consider the best location for your Virginia basement fireplace. A well built natural gas fireplace can effectively heat your entire basement, and since heat rises, this appliance also provides warmth to the rooms above. Look for a location that maximizes this situation.

A central spot in the main downstairs living area makes sense. Think about air flow and traffic; you want the heat to spread evenly throughout your living space. Fireplace fans and ceiling fans may also help to avoid pockets of heat in your finished basement, as well as moving the warm air upstairs.

Remember to think about visual impact when considering the location. Fireplaces make wonderful focal points when placed in the right spot, so be careful to avoid tucking your new fireplace into a far-off corner. Two-sided fireplaces allow for double the impact and corner units make good use of a potentially awkward area.

What About Mantles and Built Ins?

Mantles contribute to the overall look of your basement fireplace. Are you hoping for an old world feel? Use fieldstone veneer or slate tiles to mimic a hearth. Want something more contemporary and slick? Consider tempered glass shelving or mount a floating mantle above the fireplace for that clean appearance. Use recycled barn beams to create a rustic look or painted wood mantles for romantic appeal.

Imagination is important, and the web provides countless images of beautiful fireplace mantels that can be easily adapted for use in your finished basement.

Built ins provide storage and also help to finish off this space with style. Talk to your basement renovation contractor about incorporating built in shelving or cabinets around your new fireplace. Many people mount their flatscreen TV over the fireplace as well, with custom made storage units providing plenty of room for audio equipment.

Complete your Virginia basement renovation with the ideal fireplace in the smartest location and finished with a beautiful mantle and built in storage. This addition creates a timeless focal point that warms up the living space.

Top Three Virginia Deck Design Tips for Small Yards

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Many suburban homes come with limited yard space, but this doesn’t mean homeowners need to forget about their dreams of enjoying a beautiful Virginia deck. With some creativity and these deck design tips, even the smallest yard can be transformed into functional outdoor living space for the whole family.

Tip # 1 – Avoid Stairs Where Possible

Stairs require a significant amount of space. Look over your yard with a sharp eye and consider how you can build a deck without stairs for access. Measure the distance from the ground to your back door sill. Anything less than 24” allows for a basic platform deck just one step down from the door. Simply build up a garden around the deck and you can walk off onto the grass comfortably and safely. If your back door sill sits higher than 24” off the ground, consider limiting the access from your deck to the yard.

Where stairs become necessary, design to maximize space. Run long staircases beside the deck or along the front, butting against the deck. Avoid using landings, as these take up more space than a long run of stairs.

Tip # 2 – Choose Glass Railing or Skip the Railing

Certain types of railing block the view from your deck and can make the area feel cramped and closed in. Tempered glass railing works well to optimize the view and allow natural light to permeate this space. Ask your Virginia deck builder about the different options available using tempered glass panels, including wood frames, aluminum and vinyl framework.

Skip the railing altogether on ground level decks and use landscaping to draw the eye out into your limited yard. Tall posts and decorative beams provide overhead interest and places to hang flower baskets or outdoor décor, but skipping the railing where possible makes for a striking deck design.

Tip # 3 – Make the Most of Simple Patterns

Although busy patterns and multiple colors can look fantastic on larger decks, small deck areas look best with simple design. Consider using a monochromatic scheme on the deck surface. Enlarge the look of your yard by working in the same color tones—choose a natural wood stain or composite decking color to help blend the deck into your yard. If you need to add color, choose areas at or above eye level, such as hanging wall art, mounting flower baskets or installing decorative deck lights.

Avoid installing deck boards in a herringbone pattern or using borders. Instead, opt for simple patterns. Run the deck boards parallel to your house for a traditional look or install deck boards perpendicular to the house to provide visual stretch.

Use deck lighting sparingly or hide the deck lights to avoid breaking up your deck surface. A continuous visual, kept neat and tidy where possible, makes a small deck appear much larger and allows you to optimize your small yard.

Your Virginia deck builder has plenty of experience in dealing with properties of all sizes. Ask them to help you create the ideal deck design for your small yard, utilizing the tips above to realize that outdoor living you’ve always dreamed of.

Top Five Problems With DIY Virginia Bathroom Renovations

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Many homeowners aim to achieve the best looking Virginia bathroom renovation at the lowest price, and just as many assume that DIY bathroom renos are the best way to go. While the DIY route makes sense in some areas of home improvement, you may quickly encounter expensive and complicated problems when opting for a DIY bathroom project.

Find out the top five problems and consider how to deal with them.

# 1 – Not Investing in a Licensed Plumber

As with any specialty or skilled trade, plumbing work requires the knowledge and experience of a licensed professional. Although you may be able to change out a faucet or install a showerhead, the extensive plumbing work required in a bathroom renovation goes well beyond the average person’s skill set. And hiring a licensed plumber also provides greater peace of mind in terms of warranty and durability.

# 2 – Missing Valuable Elements of Bathroom Design

You know what you want the bathroom remodel to look like and you understand the basics of bathroom design, but most homeowners miss at least one important bathroom element when tackling this room with DIY enthusiasm. Consider safety elements like floor drains or septic pumps in basement bathrooms. Remember to include adequately sized exhaust fans and a diverter valve.

# 3 – Skipping Underlayment on the Floor

Whether your Virginia bathroom renovation is located on the main floor, second floor, loft or basement, installing waterproof underlayment makes sense. Protect the structure of your home, including subfloor and floor joists, from expensive moisture damage. You may hesitate at the added investment, especially if you’re planning to install ceramic tiles, but this wise bathroom addition provides an unmatched level of assurance and years of reliability.

# 4 – Extending the Project Length Far Beyond the Norm

Renovating the bathroom upsets your daily life and can cause major inconveniences. DIY projects tend to require a longer period of upheaval before the finished product comes through. Some families never see the room completely finished. Not only do contractors finish the project in a shorter period of time, but they generally attend to service issues within a reasonable timeframe.

# 5 – Extending Tile Too Far

Tiles work in the bathroom and are fairly easy to install, making them a popular option with DIY fans. But extended tiled areas create bigger problems than many people anticipate. Installing shower tiles up to the ceiling often exposes uneven ceiling lines and requires a wet tile saw and a sharp eye. Bringing floor tiles up the wall creates difficult seams and corners, and some DIY renovators use inexpensive caulking in an effort to finish the job. Instead, design your bathroom to include limited areas of tile and be sure to plan out the project very well to avoid awkward installations.

Saving money on your Virginia bathroom renovation is possible by hiring an experienced contractor. DIY may be the ideal route for you, but remember to consider these common problems and work hard to create a comfortable, attractive living space.

Comparing the Cost of Virginia Additions Vs Selling Your Home

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

As life changes and families expand, homeowners face an important decision about their living space—move or improve. Examining the cost of Virginia additions and comparing those figures to total moving expenses often helps to make the decision clear.

Are you looking at moving to a larger home? Have you considered the costs of building an addition and compared the potential finished product against available housing? Consider the options.

Option # 1 – Building Virginia Home Additions

Overall costs vary from contractor to contractor, and depend on your design. Here is a list of typical expenses associated with building Virginia additions:

  • Design Fees – preparation of detailed drawings outlining the structural, electrical, plumbing and mechanical elements
  • Demolition – labor, haulage and dumping charges
  • Materials – all of the building materials required to complete the project
  • Installation Labor – contractor and subcontractor wages for the installation of each element
  • Project Management Fee – applicable for those who hire a general contractor to oversee the project, typically a percentage of the total cost
  • Permit and Administration Fees – building departments typically charge registration fees for building permits, inspections and other administrative tasks associated with Virginia home renovations
  • Relocation Costs – renting another home for the interim or hotel costs for the odd nights away

All of these costs do add up, and a typical Virginia home addition runs anywhere from $50,000 to over $100,000 depending on the project scope. What you need to remember is the additional living space created. Compare overall costs of the addition to the total expenses incurred when moving to a larger home.

Option # 2 – Moving to a Larger Home

House prices fluctuate, but buyers in any market spend more to move up into a larger home. A typical two-bedroom detached home in Fairfax lists around $350,000, while a four-bedroom detached house in a similar neighborhood climbs to over $450,000. Talk to a realtor about specific properties and compare the purchase price to the expected selling price of your existing property. Look for homes that offer comparable features to those included in your home addition plans.

Homeowners incur additional expenses when buying a larger home, including these common costs:

  • Lender Fees – different institutions work on different fee structures, but typically include broker fees, processing charges, application fees, taxes and underwriting charges
  • Third-Party Fees – depending on the type of purchase, this includes appraisals, inspections, title searches, insurance, surveying costs, preparation of credit reports and attorney fees
  • Listing Costs – real estate agents charge to list your home and represent your interests in the selling process
  • Moving Costs – truck rentals, fuel, etc.

The web provides fairly accurate and up-to-date estimates on these typical costs of moving to a larger home.

Building Virginia additions makes more financial sense than moving in many cases. If your property allows for the space, home additions provide greater flexibility and customization without inflated closing costs and the frustration of moving. Assess the shape of your current home and consider how an experienced Virginia contractor can help you achieve your dream home without the need to move out.

How to Plan a Northern Virginia Basement Remodeling in Ten Easy Steps

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Are you dreaming of a Northern Virginia basement remodeling project? Read through these ten easy steps and see how straightforward this house renovation project can be.

Inspect the Existing Structure

Check the stability of the existing framing and structure. Use a simple awl to poke at wood ceiling joists, wall studs and sills to discover any pockets of rot or decay. Watch for insect damage as well, and be sure to check sensitive areas such as window wells, any exterior doors and foundation seams. Plan to replace or repair any areas that require attention.

Test for Moisture Issues

Virginia residents can perform a simple moisture test without the help of a contractor. Cut several plastic sheets to about 2 foot by 2 foot square and tape them to various areas on the foundation walls and floor. After ten to fourteen days, inspect the sheets for moisture. If condensation forms under the plastic sheets, you may be dealing with a foundation leak. If condensation forms on the top surface of the plastic sheet, you need to consider adjusting existing humidity levels.

Schedule a Professional Inspection of the HVAC System

Hire a local pro to inspect your heating system and ductwork. A plumbing inspection is also important if your Northern Virginia basement remodeling plans include a bathroom. Budget for any recommended repairs you feel necessary and rest easier knowing that carbon monoxide leaks and other dangerous HVAC issues will not be a problem.

Measure for Ceiling Height

One of the most important initial steps in finishing a basement involves headroom. Check with the county office for local building code requirements, but most specify a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet. Discuss the situation with your Virginia basement renovation contractor to decide between digging out the foundation floor and moving any existing ductwork that limits ceiling height.

Tackle Foundation Cracks and Waterproofing Projects

Homeowners can handle small cracks and minor waterproofing projects, while others require the attention of a professional contractor. Take the time to carefully inspect your foundation and the surrounding grade, keeping an eye out for water problems. You may be able to correct grading with minor excavation, and use hydraulic cement to fill small cracks and chips in the foundation. A basement waterproofing contractor may also recommend installing a membrane or other waterproofing solution before your basement renovation project begins.

Invest in a Second Sump Pump

Homes that include a sump pit require a backup sump pump to avoid basement flooding. If you’re investing thousands of dollars in your finished basement, adding a few hundred dollars for a battery-operated back up sump pump makes sense.

Layout the Space

As in the balance of your home, furniture and room layout make a difference in a finished basement. Consider the natural lighting and place your main gathering area nearby. Be sure any bedrooms on this level have a properly sized window and situate furniture away from the main traffic flow.

Research Industry Innovations to Combat Common Basement Issues

New products come on the market regularly, often addressing common basement issues like mold or mildew. Find out more about these products before investing in them, paying special attention to unbiased consumer ratings and the opinions of industry professionals. Gypsum panels and specially manufactured interior panels are the most popular products to combat mold growth.

Create a Budget and Pad It

Sketch out a preliminary budget for your basement remodeling project. This should include any demolition required, as well as materials and labor cost to renovate. Remember to include furnishings and extraneous costs like permits and inspections. Once you have this initial budget, add ten to fifteen percent for incidentals and costly surprises. Use that padded figure to arrange for financing.

Get Ready for an Adventure!

Every Northern Virginia basement remodeling project is different and homeowners face a myriad of unique challenges. But one thing is for sure—each project is an adventure and adds valuable, comfortable space to your home.

Deck Design Tips for the Modern Family from Expert Deck Builders

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Modern families thrive in a versatile, low-maintenance living space, and this concept covers both indoor and outdoor areas. Deck builders encourage families of all shapes and sizes to examine their lifestyle and preferences when looking for that ideal deck design.

What types of deck features and options make for a perfect modern deck design? Consider the makeup of your family and choose things to suit.

Deck Designs for Young Families

If you’re newly married or just at the opening stages of building your family, flexibility plays a vital role in living space design. Children need safe spaces to play, but parents need to create an area adaptable enough for their own relaxation. Think about this contrast when building a deck.

Consider low maintenance decking materials, like composite or vinyl. These materials come at a premium cost, but they also clean quickly and eliminate the risk of splinters. Be aware that some vinyl decking products squeak and composite can become hot in the summer months.

Young families may also want to add railing gates near stair landings to enhance safety. Avoid placing furniture too close to the railing, where toddlers and young kids may be tempted to climb up and over the deck railing.

Deck Designs for Empty Nesters

Entertaining is a popular pastime for empty nesters, and your Virginia deck design can accommodate that lifestyle in a big way. Build a deck with multiple layers, including a main stage for patio furniture (minimum 12 feet by 12 feet in size), a separate area for the grill or outdoor kitchen and wide stairs for easy traffic flow.

Think about adding a shade feature, such as a shade sail, pergola or fully covered roof. Retractable awnings can also be added after deck construction, and may offer good value for your money. More permanent structures affect the deck framing and should be constructed at the same time as your dream deck.

Consider built-ins throughout the deck design. Professional deck builders can incorporate benches directly into the deck, either as railing or standing alone. Flowerpots and storage areas can also be easily built into your Virginia deck to optimize space and allow for maximum function.

Deck Designs for Transitional Families

There is a very long stage between parenting young children and launching adult children into the real world. Commonly referred to as a transitional family, this often includes school-aged kids, preteens and teenagers. It can be difficult to come up with a deck design that suits everyone. Look beyond each family member’s individual needs and create something that transcends stages and ages.

The trick for designing a deck that suits this family stage is versatility. Aim for something large and open, with plenty of no-nonsense features like tempered glass railing (allowing a cramped space to appear bright), low maintenance decking materials (composite or vinyl) and durable outdoor lighting. Make every portion of the deck inviting and it will quickly become a space for the whole family to spend time together.

Expert deck builders take the time to assess your family’s needs and should come up with a deck design that fits your lifestyle. Whether your modern family is young or transitional, just starting or enjoying an empty nest, you can design the perfect deck to extend your living space.

Top Five Modern Tile Choices for Virginia Bathrooms

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Tile options have evolved from the bright ceramic choices of the 1970’s. Virginia bathrooms are now fitted with modern tile choices for the walls, shower stall and flooring, offering durability and a hard-to-match sense of luxury. What are the hottest bathroom tile trends of today? Find out and choose your favorite.

Mosaic Bathroom Tiles

This style of tile blends a myriad of colors with smaller tile shapes and a wide range of textures to create a visual masterpiece. Consider all of the bathroom mosaic tile options, including glass tiles, porcelain or even metal. And then have your contractor or designer draw up a mosaic pattern that suits your decor and style.

Do you want to accent an area of the bathroom, such as the shower wall or vanity backsplash? Mosaics can become overwhelming on large walls, but when combined with the proper paint, furniture and fixtures, even an expansive wall can be done in mosaic bathroom tiles with stunning effect.

Concrete Bathroom Tiles

No longer just for the vanity countertops, concrete has gained popularity on the floor and even across bathroom walls. Concrete bathroom tiles come in several different textures, sizes and tints, but most create a contemporary atmosphere in Virginia bathrooms.

Are you aiming to capture the peaceful balance of Zen in your Virginia bathroom remodeling project? Concrete tiles work well to visually expand the space and offer a calming tone. Consider products with a convex side—this shape tends to soften the look and feel of concrete.

Manufactured Stone Bathroom Tiles

Natural stone tiles create an incredible appearance, but tend to come with high maintenance requirements and inflated costs. Manufactured stone bathroom tiles have come a long way and now achieve virtually the same look and feel, without the uncertainty. Manufactured stone tends to be stronger and should cost less per square inch than the comparable natural stone.

Do you love the rough and unique look of stone, but dread the tasks associated with installing this material in your bathroom? Take a look at the various types of manufactured stone and choose something that mimics your preferred natural stone. You’ll find marble, slate, granite, cobblestone and many other styles available.

Light Tiles

These products combine LED lights with ceramic tiles to provide warm, dependable lighting in the shower, along the walls or around the vanity. Use white ceramic light tiles as an accent with nearly any other type of bathroom tiles. Manufacturers claim these products offer about one decade of use—plenty of time to enjoy your renovated Virginia bathroom.

Do you want to soften the bath or add a touch of modern appeal in your new bathroom? Research the brands of light tiles available and hire an experienced Virginia contractor to install this unique electrical system in your home.

Pebble Bathroom Tiles

Ideal for use around the tub and near the sink, pebble tiles are simply tiny pebbles attached to a mesh backing. This sheet of rocks is grouted to the wall in the same way as standard bathroom tile. Pebble tiles soften surfaces and create a natural appeal perfect for casual bathrooms.

Are you planning a DIY bathroom renovation and appreciate the beauty and texture of stone? Pebble stones go up easier than natural stone, but they also come with maintenance challenges. Make sure you want the unique look of these bathroom tiles before installation.

Any of these tile options work in Virginia bathrooms. Choose your favorite of these bathroom tile trends.

Top Five Costly Mistakes Made on DIY Virginia Additions

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

The substantial cost of Virginia additions often leads homeowners to consider DIY as a money-saving option. But many of the mistakes commonly made on DIY home additions can add to the final cost, pushing it well beyond the price of a reputable, experienced contractor. Think about how these mistakes make DIY an unwise option for home additions in Virginia.

Purchasing Cheap Materials

The temptation to purchase cheap materials looms large in DIY projects. A home addition involves many different components, and it may make sense initially to purchase products at bargain prices. Problems show up over time. When these poorly made materials wear out or fail, replacement materials cost even more money.

Weigh the initial cost savings against the future expense of replacement and repairs. Choosing to install cheap materials often costs more in the end.

Avoiding the Prep Work

As in many home renovation projects, prep work plays a vital role with home additions. DIY enthusiasts may not know about these requirements, or may simply be impatient to get to the fun stuff and skip over preparation entirely. This omission bumps up the cost of Virginia additions in several different ways, including:

  • Missed preparation often results in a poor finish, which may need to be redone or repaired for an additional cost
  • Missed preparation may mean that important structural or foundational elements were also missed, which must be corrected for safety and building code compliance
  • Missed preparation could result in damage to building materials and other areas of the home, again requiring costly repairs and/or replacement.

Ripping Out More Than Necessary

Home additions require a certain amount of tear down. Industry experts and experienced contractors understand how much to rip out and what components to leave as is in order to properly build the home addition. Many DIY fans find the tear down portion of the project easy and rewarding, and they may end up tearing down much more than anticipated and even required.

Ripping out walls, structure, electrical and/or mechanical components that could have stayed in obviously adds to the overall cost. Proper planning and a detailed design help to limit demolition, but there’s always a risk that inexperienced DIY workers will get overly enthusiastic with a crow bar, jack hammer or other demolition tool.

Misunderstanding the Scope of This Project

Virginia additions take a long period of time and require an immense amount of work. For those DIY fans that haven’t tackled a project of this size, building a home addition seems overwhelming. Misunderstanding the scope leads to unrealistic schedules, costly delays and poor decisions.

A Virginia family completing a DIY home addition may plan to hire out for the electrical and mechanical components. But when they get behind on framing and need to delay these contractors, they risk alienating the contractors and needing to hire another one. Getting a grip on the scope of the project helps to avoid these and many other potential added costs.

Focusing on the Latest Trend

Designing to the current trends makes homeowners happy for the moment. It may not cost anymore to install trend-setting flooring and fixtures, but those costs will sky rocket when you need to spend the money to renovate in a few years.

Choose neutral colors, shapes and forms for the main design elements, and bring those trends in with accessories. These are much easier to change out and cost less over time to adjust.

You may be considering DIY Virginia additions. Before you assume that DIY saves big money, consider these common mistakes and gather a few quotations from experts in the industry. What you come up will surprise you.

How Water Issues Destroy Your Virginia Basement Renovation Dreams

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Renovating your Virginia basement adds valuable living space and comfort to your home. Water issues can quickly devalue the investment and create various health problems now and far into the future. Homeowners need to assess the condition of their basement and attend to any moisture damage before renovations begin.

What type of things should you look for? And how much will you need to invest in order to get your basement ready for the finishing steps?

Signs of Water Issues

You may already be aware of moisture problems in your lower level. Standing water, excessive condensation, mold or mildew marks and musty odors all point to water issues. But a thorough inspection also involves forgotten areas of the basement, such as:

  • Window Sills – Water often runs around or under decayed or broken window sills, possibly even soaking into the wood. Be sure to check the seals around your windows, as well as the locking mechanisms. Plan to replace any rotted building materials or damaged portions of the window.
  • Pipes and Plumbing – Un-insulated pipes create condensation, which can quickly build up and cause water issues. Have a look at the existing condition of your pipes and note any rust or other signs of moisture. Consider insulating all the pipes during your Virginia basement renovation. Check plumbing fixtures for leaks and wear. Many times you can detect the problem early and avoid a major leak or plumbing issue.
  • Behind Insulation – Is your basement insulated or partially finished? Moisture collects between fiberglass or rigid insulation and concrete foundation walls. Your basement renovation plans should include replacing any wet insulation and putting up the proper moisture protection, such as a vapor barrier.
  • Exterior Grading – Assess the grading around your home to ensure that the ground slopes away from the foundation. Standing water, soggy ground and previous basement flooding indicate a possible grading problem. Hire a landscape company to regrade the property and consider investing in a basement waterproofing system to further protect your living space.
  • Foundation Walls and Floor – Look for cracks or crumbling in the concrete. Even if you do not detect any evidence of water, these gaps allow for the passage of moisture. Use crack filler products and sealers or consider an interior waterproofing system that covers the concrete.

How Much Does It Cost to Protect Your Basement From Water Damage?

Depending on the work required, these steps of preparation may cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousands. Insulating the pipes and replacing a window sill are fairly inexpensive, while you can expect to pay big dollars to install a basement waterproofing system and correct a grading issue. It is important to remember that these repairs and replacements protect your basement renovation investment.

Moisture damage results in significant expenses. It can also change the atmosphere in your basement, making it less comfortable for living. Investing in the repairs mentioned above allows you to realize your Virginia basement renovation dreams. Remember to fully assess the basement before construction begins and attend to any problems right away. The final result is worth the extra effort.