8 "Must Have" Features for a Basement Remodel

If you’re looking for a way to add useable living space to your DeKalb-area home without expanding your home’s physical footprint, the answer may lie right beneath your feet. When completed properly a basement remodel can open up all kinds of options to enhance your lifestyle (and provide some room to stretch out). But great basement remodels don’t just happen. They require thoughtful planning. So let’s take a look at 8 “Must Have” features for a basement remodel.


Begin With the Basics

When you hear “must-have” features, your mind may immediately go to certain fun finishes and amenities that will make your basement look great—and bring you a lot of enjoyment. However, not all essential basement remodel features jump out at you right away. Before you get too wrapped up in plans for a media room, a game room, a sports bar, or a wine cellar, there are some other essentials you need to consider first.


1. Enough Height

You’ll want to make sure you have the vertical space to accomplish what you want. This is particularly an issue if you’re remodeling an older home in DeKalb, Sycamore, or the surrounding area. Many older homes weren’t built with the thought that the basement would eventually be used as living space. You may want to have a professional remodeler look at the situation first—just to be sure.



2. Is It Dry Enough?

We get a fair amount of moisture in this part of northern Illinois. That means some basements can be a little damp and musty. Sometimes that’s not a big deal and can be taken care of with a dehumidifier or ventilation. Other times, it can stop a project in its tracks. Remodeling over a damp basement will only lead to serious problems later.

3. Adequate Exits

If you’re planning to include an extra bedroom in your basement, you need to make sure you’ll be within code regarding exits. Local codes can vary, so you’ll want to make sure any bedroom meets the code for a safe exit route.


4. Proper Drainage

Often homeowners want to put a bathroom in their remodeled basement so that guests don’t have to trudge upstairs. If you’re considering creating a wet bar in your basement, you’ll want to put in a sink. Or, if you want to build a laundry room, you’ll want to be able to hook up a washer and dryer. You may need to connect new waste lines. That requires having enough “fall” in the line to allow wastewater to drain out. If you don’t, you may need to install a sewage ejection pump to accommodate your wastewater.

5. Great Lighting

Unfinished basements aren't known for their great lighting. They're often kind of dim spaces that provide just enough light so that you don't hit your head on a pipe. Great lighting, however, can really make a room—especially in the basement. The solution is not just to make everything bright. You'll want some spot or task lighting for specific areas. And you'll also want general lighting as well as lighting for ambiance. So you'll want to make sure to plan your lighting before construction starts so that all the wiring is in place before new walls go up. And you'll want to make sure your electrical panel can handle the extra load.



6. Noise Reduction

If you have plans to turn your basement into a game room, a home theater, or even a playroom for the kids, you’ll want to think about how the noise level in the basement will impact other rooms in your house. Installing sound insulation into the basement ceiling can mitigate that problem. The flooring you choose can also make a difference. And even the lighting you choose can have an impact. Canned lights have a propensity to transmit noise to the upper levels. You may want to consider surface mounted lights instead.

7. Future Plans

Something homeowners tend to overlook is that a lot of the unseen and (less than sexy) essentials for their home reside in the basement. We’re talking about the furnace, the water heater, and even the electrical panel (circuit breakers). You don’t want to limit access to those essential items. And if you make additional improvements to your home in the future, you’ll want to be sure you can access those things without tearing up work you’ve done to create a great basement.


8. Imagination

You may look at your existing basement and think that there is no way you can make it work to achieve the results you want. Maybe you see posts or beams that get in the way of what you want to accomplish. Maybe the windows don’t seem like they are in the right position. Maybe the way your staircase comes down to the basement makes it seem impossible to do what you want. That’s where a professional remodeler can really help. We look at space a little differently than most people. And we are often able to see beyond what’s there to what could be there.

That’s one of the benefits of working with a full-service design-build remodeling company. At Ken Spears Construction we’ve been proudly serving the Northern Illinois area since 1975. We’ve seen and done a lot of basement remodels in that time. Chances are we can come up with a solution that will meet your needs. Get in touch with us and tell us what your dreams are and we’ll work with you to find just the right solution.

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