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Basement Components

Roger Diez | Improvement Center Columnist | December 14, 2011

Finishing your basement can transform a dank, dingy storage area into livable space, while adding to your home's value. A basement remodel takes some imagination, ingenuity and hard work, but the end result is well worth it.

11 basic steps of a basement remodel

There are unique challenges to converting a basement: They include waterproofing, heating and cooling, plumbing, lighting and more. Each component requires careful planning and attention-to-detail in order to complete the project. Each part of the project builds upon the last, and it is important to complete each step in order.

  1. Measure your space and determine the layout
  2. Calculate materials cost
  3. Get required permits
  4. Clear out everything stored in the basement
  5. Moisture-proof the walls and floors
  6. Install sub-floor, if needed, and frame the walls
  7. Rough in heating and cooling ducts, plumbing pipes and electrical wiring
  8. Install insulation and drywall
  9. Install flooring
  10. Finish HVAC, plumbing and electrical
  11. Paint walls and install baseboards

Basement remodeling costs

According to Remodeling Magazine's annual survey, the average cost of a basement remodel in the United States was $62,067 in 2009-2010. The return on investment averaged 75.4 percent, or $46,825. Your final cost will depend on the size of your basement and what basement components you choose to include. If you want a kitchen and/or bathroom, the cost will be higher than if you are just finishing a recreation room. If your heating and air conditioning equipment doesn't have enough capacity, then you will need to install a bigger unit, or an auxiliary heat pump. Material choices will also effect the cost. For instance, asphalt tile flooring applied directly to the existing concrete floor is less expensive than a sub-floor and wood flooring. Also, doing as much of the work as possible yourself will save on labor costs.

When to use a basement remodeling contractor

Even if you are reasonably handy at carpentry, plumbing and other skills, there are reasons to use a professional. The contractor can determine whether you need special coatings, treated lumber, or a sump pump to keep your basement dry. He can advise you on materials, such as flooring and paint, and help design a proper heating and ventilation system. Make sure you select a basement remodeling contractor who has references. Check them out with the Better Business Bureau and the contractors' board. A good contractor can save you time and money in the long run.