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.


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.


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.

Do You Have Low Ceilings in Your Virginia Basement?

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Finishing a Virginia basement with low ceilings presents a variety of challenges. How can you transform a cramped, often dark space into something comfortable? Take your time in the design stage and make the most of this space.

Look Under Your Feet

Maximize ceiling height by looking to the floor first. Many Virginia homeowners assume that a plywood subfloor is required, but other options allow for a more open feeling. Leaving the subfloor out will save an inch or two, which could be the difference in passing and not passing building code.

Your concrete subfloor needs to be fairly level to avoid installing a plywood subfloor. Check from corner to corner and pay special attention to any low lying areas; that is where water will collect should flooding occur. Use concrete leveling products to correct any major discrepancies.

Choose from several types of basement flooring that can be installed on a level concrete subfloor, including:

  • ceramic and natural stone tiles – mortared directly to the concrete
  • engineered wood flooring – floats over a poly barrier and closed cell underpad
  • carpet – laid over a closed cell underpad for protection from mold and other moisture issues

Look Over Your Head

The type of ceiling installed in your Virginia basement also makes a difference to the atmosphere, brightness and comfort of this below-grade living space. Depending on the construction of your home and the space required for lighting fixtures, homeowners have several types of ceilings choices available. Not all will help to maximize the feeling of roominess, and details like color choice serve to enhance the effect.

Wood paneling is one of the cheapest ways to finish off a low ceiling. This thin material can be stapled or nailed directly to the floor joists or wood blocking with light fixtures surface-mounted on the paneling. Consider how you will finish the seams and edges of your ceiling and look for rigid paneling with a decent structure.

Drywall ceilings also provide a low profile ceiling that can be mounted directly onto the floor joists. You’ll need to punch out holes for recessed light fixtures and box around bulk heads, but this type of ceiling can be painted white or off white to help expand the space.

Drop ceilings provide easy access to electrical and mechanical elements, but also cut down on the space available. If your Virginia basement has a low ceiling to begin with, this design makes it worse by dropping down two or three inches. Although you can get white tiles and add sound insulation, drop ceilings work best in basements with full ceiling heights.

Check with your local building department about the minimum ceiling height and stay within that limitation if you want to use the basement for living space. If the existing height is dangerously close to the minimum, talk to your Virginia basement contractor about installing the right types of floors and ceilings to maximize space and create an open, spacious feeling in this living area.

Top Five Virginia Basement Remodeling Tips Most People Forget

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Planning for your Virginia basement remodeling project takes time and careful thought. Make sure that every aspect is covered and each essential element is handled well by considering these top five basement renovation tips that many people forget. It’s time to create a better below-grade living space for your family.

Tip 1 – Rough In for Your Electronics

Many basement plans include an area for home entertainment. Gaming systems, big screen TVs and home computers work well in the casual comfort of a basement remodel, but these systems and set ups require some forethought.

During the framing stage, consider how best to rough in for your electronics – from home theater to WiFi, gaming systems and home networks. Even wireless systems require power. Think about future systems, as well as the electronics your family currently enjoys, and remember to run speaker wires and plan outlet locations well before the drywall stage.

Tip 2 – Use Insulation to Reduce Noise

Noise can be a major problem with basement living areas. Traffic above often resonates through floor joists and into the space, which can be especially annoying with basement-level bedrooms or home offices. A basement renovation provides the ideal time to add insulation and reduce noise.

If your Virginia basement remodeling project involves drop ceilings, consider using an insulated tile especially designed with sound-blocking materials. If you plan to install drywall ceilings, be sure to place fiberglass insulation or batting between the floor joists above. This extra protection will also help to keep the area warm and cozy in winter months.

Tip 3 – Consider Radiant Heating for Basement Bathroom

Basement bathrooms are often colder than those on the ground floor and above. Consider how radiant underfloor heating provides a comfortable surface in your basement bath, especially for those rooms that include a tub or shower.

Radiant heating provides energy efficient heat at the ground level, and can be easily installed on concrete subfloors. Whether powered by electricity, solar power or geothermal energy, this type of heating works well for basement applications and increases comfort levels tremendously.

Tip 4 –More Options Exist for Basement Flooring

Carpet has been the traditional choice for basement flooring, providing a soft surface that can be affordably repaired or replaced in case of flooding. Several choices exist in today’s renovation market, including engineered hardwood, cork flooring and high quality tiles.

All of these options require a level, stable subfloor. Some, such as tiling, can be installed directly on concrete subfloors with little fuss to provide excellent performance and durability. Others work well with a plywood subfloor. Always use a water resistant closed cell underlayment to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth due to high moisture levels.

Tip 5 – Eco Friendly Treated Wood or Stainless Steel Combats Mold Growth

Spruce lumber, also known as white wood, is affordable and widely available, as well as commonly used for basement framing. But this organic material contributes to mold growth when exposed to moisture. In order to protect your family from the adverse health effects of mold, think about using eco friendly treated wood (such as Bluwood) or stainless steel framing.

The typical basement contains many other organic substances, but using these alternatives costs almost the same and provides an extra level of protection against the dangers of mold growth.

Make your Virginia basement remodeling project the very best it can be by considering these top five basement renovation tips. From electronics rough-ins to insulated ceilings, radiant heating and mold-free framing, your research and care will help to create a comfortable living space downstairs.

How To Choose Durable Flooring for Virginia Basement Remodeling Projects

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

The location and design of your basement creates a challenge – how do you build a comfortable, durable living space with all of that moisture around? Homeowners planning Virginia basement remodeling projects need to choose building materials with care, ensuring the products are high quality and designed to withstand the unique, below-grade climate. Flooring can be especially important, and you need to invest in reliable brands specially manufactured for use in the basement.

Carpet in the Basement?

Many homeowners still opt for traditional carpet in living areas and bedrooms. Since Virginia basement remodelling projects often include living space and a bedroom or home office, carpeting seems a natural choice. But unless you install the proper underlayment, you may soon face problems with mold and mildew.

Concrete is porous, meaning moisture penetrates your basement foundation naturally. Some homeowners apply concrete sealant to the foundation to block moisture, but condensation is unavoidable given the temperature and location of your lowest floor. Without applying a waterproof barrier between your foundation and carpet, the fabric will quickly become a saturated breeding ground for mold.

Ask your basement renovation contractor to install a layer of plastic vapor barrier on the concrete subfloor. You may also want to plan for a plywood subfloor underneath the carpet, providing additional insulation between cool concrete and your warm basement.

Another option for carpet installations is closed cell underlayment. Providing a dependable moisture barrier and soft cushion, this synthetic product also creates a warmer basement floor. Floating wood floors and laminate can also be installed over closed cell underlayment, and this quality product costs just a few hundred dollars more than standard underlayment (for an average sized basement project).

Wood Flooring in Your Virginia Basement Remodeling Project?

Many people assume that wood flooring is a bad choice for the basement. Although hardwood flooring works better on rooms above grade, floating wood floors (otherwise known as engineered wood floors) and laminate products can be installed in the basement for a warm, classic atmosphere.

Proper underlayment must be used to protect the wood from moisture – either poly and foam underpadding combinations or closed cell underlayment products are best. Floating flooring comes in click lock or glue down designs. Your basement contractor will most likely recommend click lock products, since glue down wood floors tend to be messier and more difficult to repair. Click lock floating wood floors go in fast, reducing labor costs.

Laminate flooring floats over your subfloor as well, and may stand up better to moisture and cooler temperatures typically found in basements. If long term durability is a concern, invest in a high quality engineered wood floor and closed cell underlayment, since the thickness and wear layer of this flooring lasts longer than standard laminate products.

Install the most durable flooring available and your Virginia basement remodeling project will deliver maximum returns in terms of comfort and value. Whether you use the basement for additional living space, bedrooms, home entertainment or a home office, high quality flooring creates an area where you can truly relax.