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Winter is the peak season for basement remodelling projects. Many people turn their sights indoors, and invest in a project that extends their comfortable, even recreational, living space. However, there are a number of important differences to consider when planning for a basement remodel compared to any other space in your home. The investment in cost and time can quickly escalate if simple yet critical factors are overlooked.
Here are three important considerations to plan for before getting knee deep into your basement remodelling project:
Most basements are partially or fully submerged below ground level which makes it difficult to bring in substantial natural lighting. A dark basement can quickly feel cold and uninviting.
That's why it’s so important to strike a balance between artificial and natural lighting solutions. Find ways to allow sunlight to enter, this might require opening up the layout of the entire space. Another solution is to maximize the amount of light from even half-sized windows by installing window wells to funnel in extra natural lighting. Artificial lighting sources will work to balance any brightness deficiencies–particularly during darker periods of the day.
In an underground setting, proper material selection is a critically important component. Basements are traditionally drafty and damp spaces–flooring and wall/ceiling materials need to be sourced and installed with that in mind. Combat the cold ground temperatures and moisture with ample insulation in the walls, ceiling and, in particular, floors. Keeping the heat in and the cold out, will also help with energy costs. Consider durability factors first and foremost, some materials, although aesthetically pleasing, aren’t always appropriate for a basement (i.e. certain types of flooring, woods, paint, etc.)
It’s common for basements to be fairly open concept, unless there was a previous renovation where walls were built. In any case, layout is important to plan in the early stages of design and construction. Do you want to separate the space into rooms (i.e. an extra bedroom, a gym/workout area, hobby spaces, etc.), or keep it open concept? Your preference will impact the entire remodel from materials to build and budget considerations. Remember, adding walls will affect the circulation of heat and light. Your lifestyle and purpose for the remodel will be the determining factor when it comes to choosing a layout.
Keep these design and construction factors at the fore as you plan your next basement remodel–the success of any project hinges on the details.