Remodeling an unfinished basement

Answered by Brett ~ January 13, 2012 ~ No Comments

We recently bought a new house and want to remodel the unfinished walkout basement. If we act as our own general contractor, which is a logical order to do the needed work. Also, what features are most desirable for resale (gym, home theater, office,etc)?

Carol T. ~ Portland, OR

Brett Kulina

Carol, obviously the necessary steps to complete your basement remodel are going to vary depending on the layout and features that you choose for the remodeled space. In general, additional bedrooms increase the value of a home more than basement bars, home theaters, or exercise rooms, all of which are fun features to use, but may not necessarily be desirable to the future buyers of your home. Just remember that basement bedrooms require code compliant windows that allow for proper ingress and egress, so check the local codes in Portland to see what size windows and exterior window wells would be needed.

When remodeling your basement, you could follow these steps for general construction:

1. Make sure that the interior side of the cement walls are sealed and waterproofed so that no moisture problems occur down the road. If your basement has had major water issues in the past, then you may need to also seal the exterior side of the walls or install a drain system, which adequately moves water away from your homes foundation.

2. Frame the walls, making sure that pressure treated lumber is used in any area where the wood has direct contact with cement.

3. Have a licensed plumber install all of the rough plumbing pipes, vents, and water lines.

4.Work with an HVAC contractor to extend heating and cooling systems to the remodeled space.

5. Hire an electrician to install all of the rough wiring, making sure that all applicable codes are followed and future electrical needs anticipated. If you want a home theater or office, then this is also the time to install all phone, Internet, cable, TV, and speaker wires.

6. Insulate the walls once all of the framing, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work is complete.

7. Following the installation of the insulation, you can then finish the interior walls and ceiling with sheet rock or wood paneling.

8. Bring in the painters to complete the finish on the interior walls.

9. Once the mess from the painters is cleaned up, then you can install window and door trim, hang doors, and install the finished flooring.

10. Have the electrician and plumber return to the job site to install the finishes, wall plates, fixtures, lighting, etc..

If you are going to act as your own general contractor, then make sure to communicate with your hired subs so that the construction schedule flows smoothly and so that all the work gets done properly. It often helps to have a pre-construction meeting with all the subs so that several sets of eyes can anticipate any problems or offer worthwhile suggestions for the remodel. Good luck.

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