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.

Realizing the Greatest Resale Value in Northern Virginia Basement Remodeling

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Are you planning a Northern Virginia basement remodeling project? Finishing the basement requires a fair bit of investment, both in time and money. Wise homeowners look for features that work well with their tastes and lifestyle, as well as those that realize the greatest resale value over the long term. Get smart and include these valuable features in your basement reno to score big now and make some of your money back later.

Bathrooms

Adding a bathroom in the basement makes sense. All family members can appreciate the convenience, and this room provides extra space for a growing family and privacy for overnight guests. Consider designing at least a three-piece bath in the basement for top resale value dollars. Tuck a corner shower into the space or include a tub-shower combo and this bathroom takes your home to a whole new level.

Remember to have your plumber obtain the proper building permits and design this space with safety and building codes in mind. The last thing you need is a basement flood caused by faulty installation or inaccurate design. Protect your investment today and long into the future by ensuring your new basement bathroom is built well.

Wood Flooring

Many Virginia homeowners assume that wood flooring works best on above grade applications. But modern lines of engineered wood flooring and laminates made to mimic woof floors can brighten a below grade space and add spark to the design.

Research the best types of wood flooring for your Northern Virginia basement remodeling budget. Have a professional install the planks as a floating floor, a process which requires no nails or glue. Click lock flooring makes installation easy and floating the underlayment and planks allows for installation on the concrete foundation floor. Capture the warmth of wood floors and realize greater value from your basement renovation.

Insulation

Adding insulation to the basement walls pays off in many different ways. The right amount of insulation helps to lower your heating and cooling bills, and investing in insulation creates a more comfortable atmosphere in the basement living space.

Talk to your basement contractor about the ideal type of insulation for your house. Fiberglass batting is the most commonly used, but rigid insulation panels may also be used in certain homes. Blown-in products add insulation to your attic, but this type doesn’t often work in basement applications.

Insulation doesn’t create an immediate impression or provide an attractive viewpoint, but including insulating products improves the entire space and makes it more appealing to your family and potential buyers.

Gas Fireplace

Add some style and drama to your basement with a gas fireplace. Opt for a built-in corner unit or install a double- or triple-sided model to form a wall between two areas of your basement space. Gas fireplaces don’t cost a fortune and they can transform a space from blah to spectacular in no time.

Be sure to have a professional gas fitter run the plumbing for this unit and think about including several switches or remote controls into your basement space for convenience.

Installing a bathroom, wood flooring, insulation and gas fireplace in your home helps to enhance the living space. Whether you realize the gains now or not, adding these features to your Northern Virginia basement remodeling project helps to enhance resale value.

Top Four Northern Virginia Basement Remodeling Challenges to Conquer

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Wise investors gaze into the future and assess bumps and bends in the road. Your home improvement investment should be no different, and understanding the top four Northern Virginia basement remodeling challenges allows you to prepare for reality and navigate the renovation process well.

Get ready to tackle this home reno and come out with a fabulous, comfortable and valuable basement living space.

Challenge # 1 – Lighting

The proper lighting ensures your below grade living space is welcoming and functional. But the structural design of a basement often limits the location of your preferred light fixtures and may dictate the size and type of fixture.

Recessed lighting provides good coverage without eating up valuable space at the ceiling. Wall sconces reflect light up a smooth wall and into the room, and many fixtures appear almost flush to the wall, making them ideal for hallways and stairways.

New and larger windows help to enhance natural light in this area. Talk to your Virginia basement renovation contractor about the possibility of adding windows or enlarging the existing window frames.

Choose bulbs and fixtures that deliver excellent coverage with minimal fuss. This is not the place for a showpiece or chandelier. Focus on durable, low profile lighting fitted with long lasting bulbs. Add a floor lamp or table lamp for visual interest and pizzazz, if you feel the space needs it.

Challenge # 2 – Air Quality

Moisture and mold cause serious problems in the basement and lower the air quality in your entire home, which in turn affects the health of your family. Take care of any moisture issues before the Northern Virginia basement remodeling project starts.

Have your home assessed for mold and inspect the property both inside and out for moisture problems. Repairs and waterproofing solutions may push the cost of your home improvement project higher, but you do not want to deal with water damage in your brand new basement living space. Be proactive and take care of moisture problems beforehand.

Ventilation is another important issue in your basement remodel. Talk to a heating and cooling expert about how to ensure adequate air flow throughout each season. Both your heating and cooling systems should include the basement, although some people opt for alternative heating solutions such as a gas fireplace or wood stove to keep the basement cozy in winter. Consider all of the possibilities and assess how each one affects the overall air quality in your space.

Challenge # 3 – Energy Efficiency

Adding living space in the basement will increase your electrical and utility bills, mainly due to the additional lighting, outlets, and area. But you can ensure these costs are limited and create a more energy efficient home by taking some things into consideration during the planning stages.

Insulate the basement against heat loss. Ask your contractor about the different types of insulation available, and consider the structural elements of your space when deciding which to use. Blow-in products make sense for attic spaces, but may be a messy solution for the basement. Some pre-manufactured basement panels include insulation that reaches the required R-value for residential living spaces. Find out about all of your options and choose the type that provides optimum efficiency and reliability. It will provide a better payback than the option with the lowest initial price tag.

Challenge # 4 – Security

Your basement renovation design may add another entrance point into your home. Installing expensive entertainment systems and computer equipment in the basement also presents a temptation for burglars. Ensure your home remains secure by investing in good quality window treatments to keep your valuables out of casual viewing.

Install commercial grade locks on any patio doors or entrance doors and consider putting wood blocks in the windows for added security. Treat your basement as a part of your home and take the necessary precautions to maintain security.

Prepare to deal with many challenges while planning your Northern Virginia basement remodeling project. Cover all the details and depend on the expert advice of your Virginia contractor to ensure your new living space turns out well.

Tips on Insulating in Your Northern Virginia Basement Remodeling Project

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Insulation plays an important role in your Northern Virginia basement remodeling project, creating a cozy and comfortable living space downstairs. But this component needs to be done right, with the proper materials installed in the correct way. Make sure your basement contractor follows these tips on insulating to get the most from your below-grade living area.

Repair Any Leaks

Be sure to have all leaks repaired and any excess water cleaned up before insulating the basement. Have a close look around the base of your walls and windows for any moisture. Caulking around wooden or plastic frames and applying concrete repair kits will help make this job quick and effective.

Inspect the Existing Wall

The steps to insulation depend on the make up of the existing wall. Rigid foam insulation is used in basements with cinder block walls, whereas fiberglass insulation can be installed between 2x4s on a standard studded wall. Vapor barrier is used in both cases, but the construction of the existing wall dictates which type of insulation to use.

Will you be hanging drywall in your finished basement? Your contractor must use furring strips or studs to hang that drywall, and insulation must be fitted behind the strips or between the studs. The idea is that insulation is installed close to the building envelope, with drywall acting as the inside layer.

Role of Vapor Barrier

This thick plastic sheet hangs between the insulation and outer wall, which tends to be either cinder block or concrete. Most foundation walls are porous, and the vapor barrier keeps excess moisture and condensation away from the insulation.

Without this important component in your basement remodeling project your insulation can become soggy and subject to mold and mildew. Although the plastic will not block heat, it does act as a preliminary barrier and is taped at the seams to create a solid obstruction for moisture.

Between the Joists

Insulating the walls of your Northern Virginia basement remodeling project is necessary, but you must also cover the space between the main floor joists in order to complete the task. It helps to do this portion before installing the main insulation—either just before or just after the vapor barrier goes up.

Fiberglass insulation tends to work best, as it can be cut to fit and slides easily into place. Remember not to compress the product, as insulation loses value when compressed.

Ceiling Insulation

Installing insulation in the ceiling cuts down on sound, as well as adding warmth to this space. Check out the different types of ceiling insulation, including products that work with drywall ceilings or drop ceilings.

Also consider insulating the pipes in your basement, improving the efficiency of your hot water system. Little things like this will come together to make your finished basement a more integral part of your home, enhancing your lifestyle.

Your contractor will invest a decent amount of time insulating the basement. Be sure that each step is well taken care of during your Northern Virginia basement remodeling project and you can expect a more comfortable, livable space downstairs.