Smartland Guest Blog by Stephanie Jerry A lot of people live in homes with unfinished basements.33-1 These parts of the house are usually given the least attention. According to the Survey of Construction (SoC) by the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of homes with finished basements are as low as 0.05% in some parts of the USA. Fortunately, the ratio of finished basements to houses with basements has increased over the past decade.

Finishing a basement is not that simple. It must be carefully evaluated just like the other parts of the house. Before you do so, here are 5 things that you should avoid:

1. Avoid Poor Design

Before you start anything else, the first thing to do is to have a good design. You may choose to hire a professional designer to bring out the best in your basement. The design will be based primarily on what its purpose will be. You can make it into any kind of room or space such as a living room, guest bedroom, home office, basement bar, home gym, home theater, and etc.

The purpose of the basement depends entirely on you and only when that purpose is clear will a good floor plan be made. A good floor plan makes proper use of available spaces. The layout should be optimized for efficiency of space without sacrificing entertainment quality and recreation potential.

The basement should also have adequate ventilation, particularly for warmer times of the year. Ventilation and lighting must be considered and properly evaluated in designing the layout. You should also have egress windows installed in cases of emergency.

2. Avoid Neglecting Moisture Problems

Water problems are obnoxious, especially when they get more severe later on. It is critical to pay close attention to the possibilities of moisture problems in your basement and perform needed actions. It is better to prevent moisture problems in the first place than to just deal with them later on.

Every square inch of your basement (walls, ceiling, and floor) should be thoroughly checked for cracks. Check for any formation of mildew or mold to help find possible moisture leaks. Cracks that are less than half an inch can still be fixed with hydraulic cement or concrete-patching compounds. Larger cracks are more problematic and must be repaired immediately.

You should also search for water leaks from pipes. Undetected leaks spell disaster for your basement. They can form mold in the walls and cause an unpleasant odor. It is also recommended that you use waterproof paint to help prevent the formation of moisture. If you have extra cash you can also buy a dehumidifier.

3. Avoid Using Plastic Sheeting on Walls

You should never use plastic for your basement wall. Plastic sheeting traps moisture and prevents it from drying. Basement walls will always be partly wet because of their location. Moisture will not be able to escape and dry out to the wall exterior of your basement because it is below ground level. The only direction for it to dry is inwards.

There are other alternatives for framing the walls of your basement. You can use wood studs for framing concrete walls but make sure that you also install proper insulation materials.

If you are unsure of what to do or what materials to use, you can hire professionals to do it for you. Hiring professionals for basement framing costs some money, but you can plan and manage your budget based on CostFreak’s estimates to minimize your expenses.

4. Avoid Using Wood for Flooring

Aside from using plastic sheeting for wall framing, another thing to avoid is having wood-based flooring. Wood is naturally hygroscopic – it readily absorbs moisture from its surroundings. Wood flooring cannot tolerate moisture and will eventually show formations of mold and mildew.

It is better that you use synthetic fibers that are resistant to mold and mildew. You can try Vinyl flooring which is waterproof and flood-resistant.

5. Avoid Using Fiberglass Insulation

As we have mentioned several times before, one of the most important considerations in designing your basement is the issue of moisture. Fiberglass, similar to wood, is susceptible to hosting mold and mildew formations when exposed to moisture. It is better that you use foam technology for insulation because it is immune to mold and mildew (by having no organic components) and it acts as a better vapor barrier.

Final Points

Your basement is an extension of your home and therefore needs just as much attention as the other parts of the house. Deciding what to do with one is different from deciding how to do it. It is better that you avoid these 5 things and try to research further to avoid critical mistakes that you may later regret.

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