What is Included in a Basement Finish?

Here’s what is included in a basic basement finish. 

Some people list a basement as one of their must-have features when looking for a home. Fortunately, the majority of homes in most states, especially in Illinois and Missouri, have basements. The purchaser must then choose between an “unfinished” and a “finished” basement. But what is a finished basement? And what is included in one?

Keep reading to find out!

What is basement finishing?

What exactly qualifies as a finished basement, then? When the entire level is finished and resembles the upstairs living spaces, the basement is finished. Usually, it has a heating system, an accessible entrance/stairway, finished floors, level ceilings and finished walls. If there is a bedroom, it must have an egress window and a closet.

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What are its components?

Typically, a finished basement can be identified by its appearance alone. That isn’t always the case, though. To determine whether a basement is finished, these are the aspects to look out for.

  • Heating & cooling system: The basement must have a heating and cooling system to be deemed finished. An HVAC system should be used, just like the rest of the house. Space heaters and window air conditioners are not considered to be a part of a “finished” basement. This is because they are not long-term installations like baseboard and wall heating systems.
  • Flooring: The floor should have a covering and be the same type of flooring as the rest of the house. Wood, laminate, tile and carpet are a few examples. However, given that carpet can become moldy and that a basement can flood, tile is a great suggestion. Flooding also destroys wood and laminate flooring. A basement cannot be finished by simply removing the plywood or concrete from the floors.
  • Walls & ceiling: In a house, the ceilings and walls must be finished with drywall. The basement should also be accessible from other parts of the house and flow with the rest of the house. A staircase leading from the upstairs to the basement is one illustration.
  • Stairs: Stairs that lead to the basement and are built to stay there are requirements for a finished basement. The basement is not a permanent structure if it can be accessed by a ladder or a loft. As long as there are stairs inside the house that lead to the basement, it is acceptable if the basement has stairs leading to the outside.

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What are some additional things to consider?

If your house doesn’t already have a finished basement and you’re thinking about adding one, take these things into account:

  • Matching the rest of the house: Does the rest of the house have carpet, vinyl, wood, tile, etc., while the basement has concrete walls and floors? This is a clear indication that it is not complete. The installed cover must completely enclose the floors. Plywood or exposed concrete are not regarded as finished floors. The walls and ceiling would be another clue. It is unfinished if there is no drywall and the walls are simply painted concrete. The basement is also considered incomplete if the ceiling has exposed poles or beams.
  • Radon: As radon can be common in basements, you should test for it. You can have a qualified home inspector take care of this.
  • Outside entrance: Some basements like a walk-out basement require a door that leads to the outside. Make sure this door is inviting and add some plants to the area around it. It’s crucial to use high-quality doors that can fend off bugs and the elements. For the winter, you might need to make sure the door is insulated.
  • Egress window: All basements used for entertainment or living, not just storage, must have an egress window. Why? There must be an escape route in case of an emergency. 
  • In-law suites: This extra room in the house is a wonderful addition. More space is available for guests or even a sick family member. If a kitchenette is added, it may also be an Airbnb, a place for visitors or a loved one who is elderly.

Everyone has different ideas about how they want to use the space; some want to entertain, while others want to use it for storage or other purposes. Edwardsville, O’Fallon, Belleville, and the Metro East regions can take advantage of Valor Home Services’ full-service basement remodeling and finishing services. Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions about basement finishing or if you need expert assistance.