Making the Most of your Basement
There’s never been a better time to transform a damp, drab basement into comfortable and useful living space.
These days, it’s not easy for homeowners to spend money on home improvements. “Should I really be spending money on my house in a down real estate market? Will this investment make a difference in how much I enjoy my house? Will I get a good return on investment when it’s time to sell the house?”
Questions like these can easily turn out to be major stumbling blocks. But there’s one area where it really pays to solve problems and make improvements. If you have a basement that you’re not using because it’s simply to dark, damp and drab, consider the following four reasons to invest in basement waterproofing, basement finishing, or both.
4 Reasons to Finish your Basement
1. Protect your home from extreme weather.
The first step in any basement finishing project is to make sure the space will stay dry. With meteorologists and other experts predicting an increase in extreme weather, basement waterproofing is more important than ever before. The best basement waterproofing systems include perimeter drain systems connected to a sump pump that can be powered by standard 115 volt current or by a backup battery that operates the pump when the power goes out.
2. Make better use of space you already own.
A basement has the potential to provide another floor’s-worth of living space, but nobody wants to use a space that’s damp, moldy, dark and dull. Whether you simply need more storage space or are dreaming about an extra bedroom, a workshop, wine cellar, game room or home gym, finishing your basement is the most cost-effective way to gain this extra space.
3. Improve your home’s resale value.
Ask any real estate agent about the prospects of selling a house with a basement water problem. In today’s challenging real estate market, problems like a wet or moldy basement are likely to scare off home buyers as well as mortgage brokers. That’s why it’s important to waterproof your basement. Better yet, choose a company who will provide a transferable dry basement warranty such as a contractor in the Basement Systems network. When it comes to finishing the basement, this turns out to be one of the most effective ways to improve a home’s resale value, according to research done by Remodeling magazine.
4. Protect your home from mold, moisture damage and mites.
A damp basement has an adverse effect on human health and on the longevity of building materials and items stored in the basement. Standing water and damp air in a basement will attract mold and dust mites. Mold reproduces by emitting airborne spores that create a telltale musty smell. Ingesting mold spores and microscopic dust mite feces triggers allergic reactions and respiratory ailments in many individuals. Mold also destroys the material it inhabits, causing wood to rot and other organic materials (paper, fabric, leather) to deteriorate. The good news is that these undesirable outcomes can be prevented by effective waterproofing and de-humidification techniques, and by using mold-resistant finishing products in the basement. Mold and dust mites like moisture; they are unlikely to be a problem in a dry basement where the humidity level remains below 60%.
An important rule: Do it right so you don’t have to do it over.
If you’ve decided to spend money improving your basement, it’s important to go with a contractor who specializes in basements rather than a general remodeling contractor who occasionally does basement projects. Basement Systems is a good example of a specialized contractor. Apart from their extensive experience in basement waterproofing and basement finishing across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, Basement Systems has access to over 20 patented products designed specifically for basement applications. Whether you are looking for waterproof flooring, basement insulation, high-performance sump pump systems or mold-proof wallboard that never needs painting, Basement Systems has some of the most innovative products available.
Tim Snyder is a journalist specializing in sustainability, energy efficiency and home building topics. Tim writes frequently for Basement Systems, a nationwide network of basement waterproofing contractors.