We just purchased a house with an unfinished lower level and would like to finish the basement. We have already installed some new windows to meet code, but what should I do next? Do I start on the flooring first since it is a slab or start on the walls first? What about trim?
Brandon ~ Richland, Washington
Brandon, as is usual with most basement remodels, your new flooring should be installed towards the end of your project. Due to the mess that is created when taping, texturing and painting sheet rock, it's usually best to have the ceiling and all of the walls finished prior to installing your floors. If by chance your basement slab is going to be the finished floor, then make sure to completely cover it with a protective covering of plastic sheeting, cardboard, and sheets of OSB, as this can keep the slab clean and undamaged until it can be stained, painted or sealed.
If you have not already selected the type of flooring that will be installed in your home's basement, then you should do so sooner rather than later. The type of flooring that you choose will determine whether or not you need some sort of underlayment installed on top of the cement slab, which in turn can effect the ultimate placement of your baseboard trim and door jambs. If you are going to install carpeting and a pad, then you may be able to install all of the baseboard trim prior to carpet installation (confirm with your installer), but if you are installing tile or wood laminate flooring, then you should install the baseboard trim after the finished floor is in place.
The best way for you to proceed with your basement remodel is to make a list of all the tasks that need to be accomplished, then review that list with any contractors that you have hired to help with the project. With their input, you should be able to create an orderly timeline and work schedule that will help keep your project moving along until completion. Good luck!