So you already asked yourself the 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start Finishing Your Basement now it is time to get started. These steps occur in this general order, although they can overlap.
1) Clean Out Your Basement
Before you begin or bring in experts, you need to remove all the junk from your basement. Clear away all the boxes, bins, trash, and appliances before getting started.
3) Floor Joist
Probe for rot and insect damage in floor joists, rim and header joists, the sill plate, and wood-framed windows. Check to see if floor joists are sagging by climbing a ladder until you’re nearly eye level with the underside of the joists. Look across them, see if any are out of line.
Framing a basement can be a challenge for intermediate level fixer-uppers, you may want to call in a professional to ensure the job is done correctly.
5) Window Wells
Prefab wells made from fiberglass or another faux-stone material are best. Be sure to top them off with a cover for safety, but also make sure the covers can be removed easily by a young child to encase of an emergency.
You want to make sure your stairs down to the basement is to code. Keep heights below code maximum, and make sure they don’t differ in height by more than ⅜ inch.
7) Space Around Mechanicals
Whether you’re moving equipment or boxing it in, make sure people can fit around mechanicals for upkeep, Plan about 2 to 3 feet of clearance.
Yes, you can do your own electrical if you are comfortable in doing so. You may want to get a professional electrician to help you out if you are not too sure what to do.
Recessed lighting is a great option; just remember they will broadcast light in a cone shape that’s wider at the base. If you’re going to use them, space them closer together to avoid dark spots. Note: Divide the ceiling height by 2 to get the maximum distance between light.
Yes, you can do your own plumbing as well. If you are not comfortable, get a professional plumber to help you out. Do not forget to insulate your pipes before boxing them in.
11) Audio & Visual
For very little money, you can pre-wire your basement for your home theater system.
To soundproof your basement ceiling by adding fiberglass batts without a vapor barrier between the joists, then add drywall. This will help eliminate vibration and thus minimizing sound travel. You can also place your mechanical equipment on top of sound-dampening mats.
Drywall can be tricky if you have never done it before so, you may want to hire a contractor. There are not enough savings to make it worth it. If you do wish to do it yourself, try USG’s Sheetrock Brand Mold Tough Gypsum Panels or Georgia-Pacific’s nonpaper-faced DensArmor Plus High-Performance Interior Panels. They both got the highest scores when tested for mold resistance.
This is easy but time-consuming; you want to use waterproof paint on the interior walls. Try cutting down on paint time by getting a bigger 12” roller.
15) Trim and Doors
Give your basement a more finished look by adding trim. You will not regret it when you go to sell your home later on.
Hard materials like tile and concrete tend to outperform soft materials like a carpet in basements. Inorganic materials work also are better in basements than organic materials such as tile, concrete, and vinyl. Inorganic materials may grow mold, but they will not deteriorate like organic materials.
You may need additional HVAC work. Have a pro check fuel-burning equipment and your house’s ventilation system to ensure that you won’t have carbon monoxide buildup below grade.
Need Help or have questions about 17 Steps To Finishing Your Basement? Contact Us online at or give Us a call at 1 (503) 3357-8810. From concept to completion, we provide full remodeling services. Let’s Build It!
Kurt Kopp is a dedicated professional with a commitment to excellence. He is a master builder of over 35 years of experience that strives to deliver the highest quality product to his valued customer.