5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Finishing Your Home’s Basement

Are you avoiding these five common mistakes when finishing your home’s basement?

Things are done a little differently in the basement than they are in other parts of the house. This is because it is a very different atmosphere most of the time and can be more humid. It’s also where a lot of your home’s electrical and mechanical equipment is, which adds to the difficulty. But don’t worry, Valor Home Services’ basement finishing contractors have assisted hundreds of customers and have developed a useful list of five typical mistakes you should avoid while completing your basement!

Keep scrolling to see the full list. 

Avoid Creating a Maze of Small Rooms

Consider yourself fortunate if your current basement is only one large open space. That openness unlocks a universe of possibilities. If the furnace is visible, or if there are open plumbing lines or electrical panels, you can remodel your area to hide these eyesores—for example, by separating these pieces into a different room or closet. Because a cluster of small rooms can feel restrictive, keep your basement floor plan as open as possible. Even if you’re constructing an “apartment” in the basement, keeping the main living room as open as possible will keep the space from feeling tight or claustrophobic. Consider half walls, movable partitions, pocket doors or sliding “barn doors” to separate regions in a multi-functional space, or use furniture configurations to identify specialty functions.

Stay Away from Wood Everything

Another thing to keep an eye out for while finishing your basement is wood studs, which should be avoided whenever feasible. This is because wood is significantly more prone to rot and wear and tear in humid environments. To avoid costly problems in the future, use metal studs instead. Avoiding wood fixtures and flooring as much as possible will help guarantee that your basement looks fantastic and lasts for many years. As a result, avoid installing wood flooring. Use another material, such as vinyl flooring or ceramic tile, which are both waterproof and moisture-resistant.

Don’t Ignore Moisture

Even a small amount of moisture in a finished basement can cause major problems. The issue is that both homeowners and contractors can be impatient to get started on finishing work. This impatience frequently leads to a failure to study a basement long enough to see that it does leak on occasion. It may take years to know for certain, so don’t rush. Always start with a question: Is my basement consistently and fully dry all year? There’s no wishful thinking going on here, either. Just the facts, and give yourself plenty of time to collect them. More time is preferable.

During an August drought, every hole in the ground is dry. The true test occurs during a wet fall or a quick spring thaw. Instead of hoping your basement is as dry as it appears, monitor it for at least a few years through all seasons to guarantee there is no liquid water leakage through walls or floors. Liquid water isn’t the only source of moisture. With plastic sheets pasted over concrete, assess airborne moisture vapor migration into the basement. If water enters the basement as a vapor (which is rather common), the plastic will allow it to appear as condensation.

Don’t Forget That the Basement is Still Part of Your Home

The most common error people make in a basement is not treating it like the rest of the house and not giving it the same level of care. Elevate the space to avoid the traditional scary atmosphere. Create discrete rooms, such as a crafting nook, a TV corner and a cozy office, to make the floor plan feel more purposeful. You don’t even need to put up walls to separate the basement: open bookshelves or folding room dividers let light flow in.

Basements are naturally full of yin energy—damp, dark and cold, so you want to offset those vibes with yang energy. Brighten up your basement with bright, cheerful décor. Choose throw pillows in bright colors, light furniture, and natural textures and materials. Also, do whatever you can to improve the windows. The majority of basement windows are small and tall. Light and views of nature are essential for a sense of well-being. Installing egress windows in each room will allow for significantly more light.

Not Adding Enough Lighting

Take advantage of existing windows or light wells on perimeter walls if your basement has them, but always plan to add enough electrical lighting to keep the new space well-illuminated. Plan for three types of room lighting: general illumination, task lighting and accent lighting. Don’t skimp on electrical connections. Recessed can lighting is a great choice for rooms with low ceilings. Make sure to use IC-rated fixtures that are not fire hazards. Consider alternative lighting options, such as track lighting, mood lighting and wall sconces, in your design concept for both utilitarian and aesthetic reasons. Lighting stairwells and filling in dark spaces with table lamps or specialized job lighting is essential. For more basement lighting inspiration, check out our basement lighting guide

You’re only one simple step away from having the basement remodel of your dreams, thanks to the pros at Valor Home Services. Take a peek at our basement renovation project portfolio to get a sense of what fun, loving, and compassionate professionals can do for you. Subscribe to our free and informative newsletter to stay up to date on design trends and remodeling ideas, as well as to see our most recent work. Call us today for additional information on how we can help you go all-out with your basement remodel.