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7 Crucial Things to Do Before Finishing a Basement

Basement remodeling projects are exciting! Once you decide to finish a basement, you want to advance as quickly as possible from the dream stage to the reality stage so you can start enjoying your newly renovated home space. But wait! Before jumping into a basement finishing project, it’s important to plan carefully and consider some essential steps you must take beforehand. Miller Home Group has been helping homeowners across the country transform their basements into stunning and functional hideaways. With our knowledge and experience from working on countless basement remodeling projects, we’ve come up with this helpful list of 7 things you should do before finishing a basement.

1 – Defining Your Purpose

One of the most important things you will need to do before finishing a basement is to determine what you want the space to be used for. The room’s purpose can have a huge impact on design and structural choices as well as your budget. Will it be an open space for exercising or a serene yoga room? Will it be a man cave with a home theater or a craft area with storage for sewing supplies and fabric bolts? Do you want a multipurpose entertainment and family area, or do you need to add extra bedrooms and bathrooms? Defining your purpose will directly impact other considerations, such as the locations for lighting and electrical outlets, where you might need to extend plumbing lines or upgrade your electrical system, or where you need to add egress windows to comply with any local safety regulations. 

2 – Budgeting and Planning

Once you know your purpose for the remodel, the next most important thing to do before finishing a basement is to estimate costs and set a budget. Having detailed plans and researching prices can give you a better idea of your project’s cost and allow you to adjust your plans as needed to fit your budget.

Setting aside a portion of your budget to cover unexpected expenses for any home remodeling project is always a good idea. After the renovation gets underway, new ideas or technical issues may arise that can adjust your original plan. While it is difficult to predict every potential problem that could occur, setting aside around 10% to 20% of your overall renovation budget for contingencies is generally a prudent approach. Unforeseen challenges such as hidden structural damage, plumbing or electrical issues, or the need for additional materials can quickly add up and strain your finances if you haven’t accounted for them. Having a contingency fund set aside allows you to adapt to any unforeseen circumstances without compromising the quality of your basement remodeling project. 

3 – Selecting Your Flooring

When it comes to basement flooring options, there are several choices to consider, each with its own advantages and considerations. However, you should select one that complements your finished basement design and is suitable for your basement and intended use.

  • Laminate and vinyl flooring are popular choices due to their affordability, durability, and moisture resistance. They are available in a wide range of styles and can mimic the look of hardwood or tile. 
  • Concrete flooring is a practical option for an industrial or modern aesthetic, as it is durable and easy to maintain. 
  • Engineered wood flooring provides the beauty of hardwood while offering better moisture resistance, making it suitable for some basements. 
  • Carpeting provides warmth and comfort but may require extra moisture protection and regular cleaning. 
  • Rubber flooring is a resilient and slip-resistant option, often chosen for exercise or play areas. 
  • Ceramic tiles are moisture-resistant and come in various designs, offering versatility in creating a unique basement space. 
  • Hardwood flooring, while visually appealing, lacks strong moisture resistance and may not be suitable for every basement. It’s essential to consider the moisture levels in your basement before choosing hardwood, as excessive moisture can cause warping and damage.

Miller Home Group’s contractors are experts at basement flooring installation in Lancaster, PA, and the surrounding areas. We can guide you in selecting a beautiful flooring option that is the most suitable for your basement. 

4 – Waterproofing and Moisture Control

If your basement has a history of flooding or shows any signs of moisture issues, you’ll want to address those issues before starting your renovation. Depending on how much water and moisture gets into your basement, you may have to include waterproofing and moisture control as the first step of your renovation. Not addressing water and moisture issues can lead to mold, mildew, odors, and damage to your finished basement’s walls and floors. Ensuring that water and moisture issues are mediated first can save you from spending money fixing a basement you just spent time and money to finish. Any existing mold and mildew should also be removed before renovations. Simply covering up mold and mildew issues won’t make them go away. 

Miller Home Group offers several strategies to stop leaks and waterproof a basement based on your specific circumstances. Contact us today to schedule an inspection. We can find the source of leaks or moisture and devise a comprehensive plan to stop them.

5 – Addressing Structural Issues

Any structural issues in your basement, like bowed walls or significant cracks, must also be dealt with before finishing your basement. Bowed walls and cracks could indicate foundation issues in your home. If that’s the case, those issues should be repaired before finishing your basement because they can either cause damage to your renovation or require the newly renovated walls to be removed to address the bowed balls and cracks later on. It’s better to ensure your basement is structurally sound before proceeding with any basement remodeling. 

Miller Home Group provides comprehensive basement structural repair services. We excel in addressing common basement issues such as bowed walls, cracks, and foundation problems. Our skilled team utilizes industry-leading techniques and materials to fix structural deficiencies efficiently, ensuring the stability and safety of your basement. From filling patches and holes to sealing gaps and cracks, we pay meticulous attention to detail, preventing further damage. Our experienced professionals are also equipped to handle floor repairs, providing solutions that restore the integrity of your basement’s foundation. By working with us, you can be sure any structural issues are considered when we develop a plan for finishing your basement.

6 – Assessing HVAC and Ventilation Needs

Another important thing to do before finishing a basement is to assess your needs for heating and cooling in the new space and determine if your current HVAC system is capable of handling it or if the HVAC system needs to be adjusted or replaced. If your HVAC system is not designed to handle the additional space, you might overwork it and reduce its life expectancy. You’ll want to think about proper insulation and ventilation and decide if alternative heating and cooling systems need to be installed during your basement remodeling project to make sure your finished basement stays comfortable throughout the year. 

7 – Checking for Radon

Before finishing your basement, having it checked for radon is highly advisable. Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas that can seep into your home through cracks in the foundation, floor, or walls. It is a leading cause of lung cancer and poses a serious health risk if present in high concentrations. Since basements often have limited airflow and can be poorly ventilated, they can become a potential hotspot for radon accumulation. By conducting a radon test before finishing your basement, you can identify any elevated radon levels and take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk. This may involve sealing foundation cracks, improving ventilation, or installing a radon mitigation system. 

If you have radon in your basement, a basement radon mitigation system installation by Miller Group can resolve the problem. Ensuring that your basement has safe radon levels before finishing it not only protects your health and the well-being of your family but also provides you with peace of mind knowing that you are creating a safe and healthy living environment.

Let Us Make Your Dream Basement a Reality

A basement remodeled by Miller Home Group in Lancaster, PA

Miller Home Group specializes in all aspects of basement finishing. When you decide you want to remodel your basement into a fun or functional space in your home, we can work with your from beginning to end to make sure all crucial considerations are covered, including:

  • Coming up with a comprehensive design plan
  • Fixing cracks, holes, and bowed walls
  • Remediating mold and mildew
  • Stopping water leaks and waterproofing
  • Sealing gaps
  • Choosing the right flooring
  • Repairing basement floors
  • Installation of radon mitigation systems
  • And much more!

Start your renovation by scheduling a Creativity Session with our team to brainstorm ideas for your finished basement design. Together, we can devise a plan to realize your vision that considers all the things you need to do before finishing your basement. Worried about finances getting in the way of your dream basement? We work with Lightstream Financing to provide affordable loans. With our expertise and focus on putting the customer first, we can make any dream basement a reality, whether it requires building a custom basement kitchen or providing home theater installation in Philadelphia, PA, and nearby areas. 

We serve the following counties in PA: 

Contact us today for a free quote or to schedule your Creativity Session!