Finishing your basement is much different than remodeling the upper levels of your home. The basement finishing mistakes happen because the environment is much damper and humid, creating issues with moisture. Your basement is also where all of the mechanicals of your home is located, such as your water heater, furnace, sump pump, and more, which all take up space in the basement as well as create obstacles such as wiring and piping that you need to workaround.
The combination of all of these obstacles makes finishing your basement a more difficult process when compared to the rest of your home. To avoid damage to your home, as well as to protect your financial investment, here are our top 5 things to avoid when finishing your basement.
Wood materials when mixed into the moist environment of a basement begin to rot, warp, and grow mold. Wood studs in the walls of your basement are not designed to handle the moist and humid air. Working with products designed for basements such as metal studs will minimize the possibility of mold and water damage.
Fiberglass insulation gets moldy because cold air and sometimes moist air leaks into your basement and condensates, especially in Michigan homes. With this condensation and food sources in the area (such as wood and fiberglass insulation) mold grows very quickly.
To rectify this problem, we remove fiberglass basement insulation and install our Integrity Wall. The most important component of our Integrity Wall is that it has no organic material and therefore mold can’t grow on it. This material is EPS foam infused with graphite which increases the R-value. There is also a built-in radiant barrier to reflect the heat back into the basement.
No wood materials in the basement! Products such as hardwood, laminate, and carpeting will not withstand the moisture and will begin to show signs of mold after being exposed to moisture. Vinyl flooring is created to be completely waterproof and can withstand major flooding. Vinyl flooring doesn’t have to look like grandmas; you can have the look and feel of hardwood or ceramic tile while being waterproof, mold-proof, and long-lasting.
With so many different types of flooring available it can be difficult to decide which is best for your new lower level. The most important thing when choosing basement flooring is what will happen if the basement has an issue with water or flooding. Keep in mind that the basement is already more moist and humid than the rest of your home, and choosing a material designed for such an environment is crucial.
Before starting a basement finishing project, every square inch of the walls should be reviewed for cracks and leaks. Obviously, you will want to repair any structural problems with the foundation walls prior to covering them up. You will also want to repair any water leaks. But what about cracks in the wall?
A poured foundation wall crack may or may not go all the way through the wall. Even if the crack does go all the way through the wall, it may still be dry.
If a foundation wall crack continues to move and the waterproofing seal on the outside is broken, water can enter. This could be disastrous for a finished basement wall. The leak may go undetected for a period of time which can cause damage to materials and possibly mold.
Knowing what type of spaces you want in your basement is one thing, knowing where to put it all is another story. Nothing is worse than spending time and money to finish your basement for it to end up being choppy with a poor floor plan and design. Spend the time to think about which spaces you would like in your lower level and then consult with a designer to find the best layout for your new space. A lower level with a good floor plan and design can make a space feel larger and more usable.