Even though you’re no longer officially stuck at home, the crazy real estate market might mean the idea of moving is moot. Perhaps your family has grown, or what you thought was a temporary work-from-home situation now looks permanent. You’re considering a redesign, but what you really need is more space.
“In so many houses, what’s right below your feet offers untapped potential,” says Jessica Dingle of John’s Waterproofing. “We’re spending more time in our homes than ever before. Converting a basement into a home office, children’s play space or extra bedrooms is not only doable but transforms how much more utility you can get from your current home.”
Is Your Basement Suitable For Remodeling?
If you have a traditional, unfinished basement, chances are you can reclaim it for comfortable living space. Even more subterranean and crawl spaces have the potential to be usable square footage in your home. To determine whether your basement can be retrofitted for office or play space, check for the following:
- Your basement must have a properly sealed door or window egress to the outside. You’ll need a way to safely exit in case of an emergency.
- A bonus space (office, playroom, TV room or workout space) needs to have an average height of 6 feet, 5 inches ceiling height. If you have beams or a sloped roof, don’t worry! The elevation is average across your basement.
- If you don’t have enough ceiling height, consider whether you have the terrain and budget to dig down to lower the floor. If possible, a basement refinishing expert like John’s Waterproofing can go down 3 feet.
- Basement bedrooms and bathrooms have specific window egress and ceiling height requirements, so check your local codes.
How Do You Know if You Have a Water Issue in Your Basement?
The key to a successful basement remodel is proper cleanup and preparation. You don't want to find out the hard way that all that new drywall and flooring were installed over a water-intrusion issue. Living in the rainy Pacific Northwest means most older homes with basements or crawl spaces experience some kind of moisture-related problem. You probably have too much moisture in your basement if:
- You see standing water (that’s a dead giveaway!).
- Foundation cement or brick looks damp or weeping.
- Your house or basement (or both) have mold, damp carpet or wet walls.
- You’ve got sticky doors or windows, cracked concrete floors or drywall, gaps in the floor or bowed walls.
- You’re experiencing high heating bills, musty smells and poor indoor air quality.
- A professional with a hygrometer reads too much humidity.
A Holistic Approach to Reclaiming Basement Space for Living
The bottom line: Before you can make beautiful, new, usable rooms out of your basement, you’ll need to address any water or moisture issues. Mold and moisture, especially, will come back to haunt you if they aren’t stopped at their source.
“We are frequently called in to repair and properly redo poorly done basement remodeling work,” says Dingle. “Even slow leaks can result in rotting, warping and ultimately mold, releasing harmful toxins into the air to be circulated throughout your home.”
To keep your basement remodel as simple and cost-effective as possible, John’s Waterproofing offers a state-of-the-art total basement finishing program. Since 1974 John’s has been helping Oregon homeowners seal and remediate water and mold issues creating a long-term safe environment — before making it beautiful. Their system is backed up by a 50-year guarantee.
“The way we can take a plain cement or brick basement and turn it into a beautiful living space — including bathrooms and kitchens — is incredible,” Dingle says. “At John’s we offer the whole package, from the waterproofing and insulation to flooring, molding and trim. We can transform your basement into something truly wonderful. Not only will you no longer need to move — you won’t want to.”