9 Steps To Finish Your Basement

February 17, 2021

Whether you’re looking to add living space to your home or spruce up what you’ve currently got, a basement renovation is a high-value project.

Perhaps the lower level of the house is sitting unused, full of boxes piled on a concrete floor. It’s better to finish the basement than add on the main floor of the house, or build another storey.

Your basement may have been finished in the 1970s, ideal for the last homeowners but not for your family. Or, you may have purchased a new home with an unfinished lower level, ready for you to renovate the basement. 

Adding usable space is a great idea, so let’s explore 9 steps to doing a proper basement renovation.

1. Design Your Floor Plan

Start by figuring out what you want your basement to look like by determining goals for the space, or what uses you want out of the basement. 

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • A large, open family room
  • A home theater setup
  • A wet bar
  • A games room 
  • A bedroom (or two)
  • A bathroom
  • A laundry room
  • A playroom, crafts or sewing room
  • A workshop

You need to keep the mechanical space open, with items like the furnace and water heater easily accessible, so include that in the design as well. If you want a specialty item like a sauna, hot tub or steam shower, there will be specific design, plumbing and electrical considerations too.

In the end, you will probably combine a few ideas to make the ideal space for you and your family.

2. Find the Right Tradespeople

Even if you can do some aspects of the work yourself, you want to hire qualified tradespeople for the big jobs. A basement renovation is a big investment of time and money, so you want the end result to be high quality.

In particular, complex work like plumbing and electrical needs to be done by trained, qualified individuals. Then the work will be done following local building codes, ensuring you have insurance coverage and that your family will be safe in the new space. Professionals can also handle other steps, including painting and flooring. 

If it sounds like a daunting job to find the right contractors, there are tools to help. The website Bidmii allows you to post your project, and qualified tradespeople bid on the work. Contractors provide you with quotes, ask you questions, and you can even check their past reviews and completed projects before making your selection.

You can also use the site to get inspiration for your design, by viewing other projects. When you’re ready to find a contractor, the app automates bidding, payments and more. Choose the contractor, and your payment is held in trust until twenty four hours after the project is fully completed, ensuring you’re satisfied before contractors get paid.

3. Complete the Plumbing

The next step to finish a basement is to get the plumbing done.The plumber will rough the toilet, shower and sink in a bathroom. There will be plumbing installation done in the laundry room, and maybe you want to include a laundry sink while you’re at it. Plumbing is essential for a wet bar, too.

You should get the advice of your local plumber when it comes to moisture control as well. You may want to add a sump pump, for instance, helping to keep the basement dry. 

Your plumber may also have advice on a heating system, which could be as simple as baseboard heaters, but some homes are large enough to require a second furnace. An electric or natural gas fireplace will provide ambiance and throw some heat, without the hassle of cleaning ashes.

4. Electrical Work Is Next 

Along with plumbing, electrical is a specialized field that requires training and knowledge to ensure it’s done properly. Bidmii can help hire either, by posting a project such as “Electrician for a basement renovation.” You can get multiple quotes from electricians and then choose the one you want.

Plans for an entertainment system may require specific electrical installation. Maybe you want speakers mounted in the ceiling, along with recessed lights. You may want special lighting in a crafts room or workshop, to create a bright enough space to do detailed work. 

A bar can have specialised lighting, you’ll need electrical work done in the bathroom and laundry room, and be sure to include lots of plug-ins, so you can add floor lighting as well. In a basement in particular, lots of lighting opens the space and makes it warmer and more inviting.

5. Erect the Walls

A professional can help with walls, which includes preparing the space behind the walls. Get advice on whether you need to include a vapor barrier, for instance. Insulation is key to keeping the basement warm in winter and cool in summer. Then your contractor can frame the walls and put up drywall.

6. Raise The Roof

Well, the ceiling anyway. Some contractors will handle the ceiling and walls. A drop ceiling, also called a suspended ceiling, is a good idea in a basement. 

Here’s why.

It includes a frame with moveable tiles, which conceal the plumbing and electrical lines. Just as important, the tiles also allow access to those components, which is key as you complete the renovation, but even more vital in coming years, to make changes or enhancements. 

7. Paint and wallcovering 

If you’ve ever painted, particularly with your spouse, you know the value of having a professional do it for you. They have the right equipment, they know what they’re doing, and they can often get the paint at a contractors’ rate, which will be cheaper than you buying enough paint for an entire basement,

Other wallcovering may be part of your design, whether that’s paneling, textured walls, wallpaper, or other design concept.

8. Flooring

Once again, a professional contractor will do the best job when it comes to installing flooring. You may want carpet in the family room, tile in the bathroom and linoleum in the laundry room. Cork or rubber flooring is great in a playroom or workshop, where you want something that’s spill-proof and can handle wear and tear, like dropping heavy objects. 

You can also have your electrician install heated flooring, particularly under tiles in the bathroom.

9. Finishing Touches

Now that the hard work is done, it’s time for your finishing touches. Furniture, accessories, paintings, and some glasses to line the bar are the fun, final steps to getting a basement you want to live in.

The Bottom Line

Adding extra living space in a basement is a solid investment when it comes to your home. The work is worth it, as you end up with a lot more living space while increasing the value of your home.

If finding the right professionals is stressful, the Bidmii app can help. Whether you want a tradesperson or a handyman, or you need landscaping or window cleaning, you can hire the right contractor easily and quickly. Bidmii automates any home improvement project, including the bidding process, secure payments, and project closeout.

And with our 9 steps to a proper basement renovation, you’ll be relaxing in your new entertainment room (games room, sewing room, etc) in no time.