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.

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