7 Steps to Finished Basement

Schaumburg home renovation

3D Basement design made by IK Home Pros, 2020

Basement remodeling is a responsible business. This place is believed to be one of the most important areas in the whole house. The plumbing system, air conditioning, and central heating starting points are located here. So, while remodeling or renovation you have to follow the rules in order to save your money and time. That’s why, whether you just want to fresh up your dwelling or increase the value of your house you need to find out how to do this in the right way.

Basement remodeling project guide

Step 1 – Permission

For those who plan to make an additional living space in your basement, it’s extremely important to have a building license. Without that document, you won’t be able to start any remodeling project that includes plumbing or electric works. The cost of the permit fluctuates between $1 300 and $2 000. It depends on the project scope and the size of your cellar itself. So, you definitely should worry about legalizing your renovation plan since otherwise, you could get a fine that’ll be probably bigger than the permit cost! For more details about the basement, building license check your local government website.

Step 2 – Waterproofing

The basement is more often affected by mold than any other part of the house. There are several reasons for that. Firstly, because of the initial building decisions which weren’t taken into consideration forthcoming renovation costs or mold growing possibility. The second reason is moister non-resistant finishing materials which are cheaper. For example, a polyethylene vapor barrier inside the cellar prevents the complete dying of the concrete that may cause a fungus issue in the future.
So, before starting your renovation think out the dehumidifying plan. You could buy a dehumidifier after you’ll finish your basement. This will be the cheapest decision, though not the most productive one. Freestanding dehumidifiers cover smaller areas and get out of order quickly due to frequent use. Built-in dehumidifiers are more beneficial. They cover the whole-house area and turn on whenever the humidity level rises above the set value. However, you should fit the dehumidifier system before the drywall installation.

Step 3 – Framing

Framing your walls is a crucial step. This process aims to construct your future walls “skeleton” to make them durable and stable. Let’s mug up the framing instruction!
Mark lines where you’ll install the frame. It shouldn’t be closer than 4 inches from the wall. Keep the 90-degree angle.
Set down the wooden plates along the previously marked lines on the floor. Then screw them to make the construction firm.
It’s extremely important to choose high-quality pressure-treated wood. Cut 2*4 inches planks which will be used to make a frame. Put the bottom and top planks together and measure 16 inches from one end. Take into account that the 16-inches sign is the center of the vertical board.
Fix the top plank to the ceiling joints. Pay attention that the installation of the top boards differs with horizontal and vertical ceiling joints. If you have vertical ceiling joints simply screw the top plank to them or use blocking boards. Attaching the top frame plank to the horizontal ceiling joints requires more preparation. So, to make this construction steady screw small blocking links (2*4”) between the ceiling joints 16 inches apart and attach the top plank to them. Remember that in both cases top and bottom planks should be directly above each other.
Install the vertical planks. This type of board could be 2*4 inches as well as 2*6 inches and they are used to boost the drywall. These planks should fit tightly both to the horizontal planks. So, cut them carefully. Also, a good idea would be to use a nail gun to insert 3 inches nails from the sides of every vertical plank.
Attach blocking boards between the vertical planks. These boards serve as additional support to the furniture and the frame construction itself. The blocking boards are made of the same type of 2*4 inches wooden planks. Set them about 4 feet up from the end of the studs using 3-inch nails.

Step 4 – Before you cover the frame…

When you’ll finish the frame construction don’t rush to cover it with drywall. That’s the best time to solve all the issues with plumbing and electricity. Though, this part of the project shouldn’t be definitely DIYed. To make everything according to the law you should hire certified professionals.

Step 5 – Drywall

Drywall is the most popular material for wall construction. It’s relatively cheap and easy to install on your own. Below you’ll find a simple drywall fixing guide.
Don’t leave any imperfections under the drywall. Moister, old drywall pieces, termites, or even small cracks could spoil your renovation in the future. That’s why inspect the background thoroughly and seal gaps with waterproof permanent foam.
Measure the ceiling and walls. The drywall sheet shouldn’t be left without support. Make sure that it ends on the strapping piece or joint. Also, while measuring you need to find out how you’ll slide the panel. It’s possible to set drywall both vertically and horizontally, though, professionals recommend horizontal drywall installation.
The setting should be started from the ceiling. Every drywall sheet should be reinforced with 5 screws attached to every plank. When the installation would be finished cut off the extra pieces that may be left over door frames and windows. Continue to install drywall panels on the walls starting from the top as well. It’s important to leave at least 0,5-inch space between walls and floor.
Don’t forget to cover seams and screws with a swipe coat. They shouldn’t be visible on the painted wall. Though, previously remove dust from the sheets using a wet cloth. In the end, you could use a drywall sander to make sure your walls are perfectly smooth. However, don’t get carried away much, as active sanding could damage the drywall panel.

Step 6 – Flooring

If you are creating a basement living space from the ground-up, you can’t skip this step. The flooring installation includes two main phases: subflooring and flooring fixing.
Normally, basements aren’t stocked with a floor covering, and often the only thing on the floor is uneven and cold concrete. So, to make your living area warm and dry professionals suggest putting subflooring material before you’ll install carpet or laminate. Start the procedure by filling craters. The self-leveling compound helps to flatten the concrete surface. After the compound dries glue polystyrene insulation and then drill the sheets of the plywood on top.
The mechanism of flooring installation entirely depends on the type of flooring you’ll choose. Finished cellars could be used for a different purpose, that’s why flooring selection is quite subjective. Nevertheless, according to the statistics first place among the various flooring types takes carpet (35%) and then goes laminate (22%). Hardwood being the most popular in rooms is chosen only by 5% of respondents. Actually, it’s happened because this material isn’t moister resistant while being expensive. Carpet, though, is the cheapest and easily DIYed. Laminate is more expensive, however much easier to clean.

Step 7 – Painting

If you followed previous instructions and your drywall is already sanded, you need to prime the walls. This procedure will help the paint to set better. Plus, priming improves color saturation. Apply primer from bottom to top and don’t leave blank spaces. The primer dries for about 4 hours.
Painting is always about patience. First of all, mix paint carefully as it’s made of oil and pigment that tends to separate. Secondly, start painting with the outer perimeter. Watch the amount of paint you take on the brush. Remember, that smooth lines will be in the case if you remove the painting excess every time. The roller is used for the middle part of the wall. Normally, it takes 2-3 layers to finish the wall and about 36 hours for the paint to dry.


What tools to buy for basement renovation?
Sometimes people start to buy every tool they meet in the hardware store. Though, it’s a wrong tactic that will waste your money. Here is the short list of tools you’ll really need for basement remodeling:
Tape measure;
3-inch nails;
Circular saw;
Caulk gun;
Insulation adhesive;
Utility knife;
Brush/brush for corners;
Painter’s tape;
Drywall panel lift;
Masonry drill.
Does the finished basement increase value?
Yes. According to experts, you return about 75% you’ve spent on basement remodeling. Though, it’s determined by the region you live, type of the basement, and renovation quality. The best idea would be to contact a real estate agency if you plan to sell the house.
Do I need a basement dehumidifier?
Sure! A basement dehumidifier will save your health and money as neglected problems with mold in the cellar always affects the whole house.
How much does it cost to finish a basement?
The finished basement price depends on its size, building license price, and tasks you are going to perform. The average cost of the finished basement is about $18 000. However, if you want less expensive you can DIY some tasks using the instructions given above.