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Basement Remodeling Ideas & Tips

For your basement projects, like any remodel, you will want to asses your own priorities and budgetary requirements prior to making commitments on remodeling.


A typical drywall ceiling is always an option but given the special conditions of the basement you may want to consider having a T-bar ceiling installed (also called 'drop' or 'suspended' ceilings). Sheet rocking the ceiling does involve installed framing for backing if it's not already there.

This will be needed notably around ductwork and other obstructions, and can be work-intensive. Also, since wiring and plumbing is almost always run through floor joists above, it just makes sense to have access for these areas with easily-replaceable ceiling panels. In the event of a plumbing break or even if the portion of the ceiling is dampened, a ceiling panel can then simply be popped back in place - whereas drywall replacement involves cut-out, reinstalling, repeated patching, sanding, refinishing the drywall section and repainting usually the entire ceiling if a match is desired. This is not to mention the dust and inconvenience factor. For those eager, however drywall ceiling repair is undertaken as a skilled drywall process. It is seldom that first timers manage to arrive at a match, against the textured surfaces, to near original.


With the advent of the basement movie room, or media center, homeowners today are looking to inside their wall cavity for the purposes of deadening the ambient sound. So from a functional standpoint, when either re-opening entire existing walls, or erecting new walls for new borders - this may be an option to consider (along with wiring for future purposes).

One of the biggest challenges for many basement remodels is the apparent ceiling height, since the framing is already fixed in place. If the ceiling height seems low, one way to combat this is aesthetically is with wallpaper borders, as a way to raise the eye level away from “lower down”. Another way is a vertical lined paint scheme, printed wall coverings, or even pre-finished or raw beadboard panels to match the existing color-scheme. The darker shades or decorative schemes explained among interior paint ideas often give more outward depth.

There are so many choices of flooring given today’s selections. Hopefully this will help narrow your search. The following applies if your basement is on slab (as most are, with exception of screed flooring)

The primary concern in the basement is normally the element of moisture/infiltration by water. If it is, one option (as well as correcting the problem) may be a decorative or painting solution on the floor. Some higher grade laminates will afford some some degree of protection against wetness and moisture (to a point anyway, as will tile) and some laminates offer many options as far as appearing convincingly similar to the actual surface being mimicked, and, ease of maintenance, and cleanliness.

However, from an acoustic perspective, with the tendency of sound to travel across hard surfaces you may want to keep in mind the advantages of carpet over any hard surface flooring, as a sound deadener. Though again, moisture can be problem. At the minimum, you may want to seal unfinished concrete surfaces to help keep them clean and any spills from penetrating the pores.

Windows & Lighting

With common poured foundation walls, choices of replacement windows may be limited indeed. (though not impossible, cutting out window openings can be done).

For many new home builders, custom home builders included, this is an item where costs are preferably cut. Some of the cheaper hopper style windows that many of the new homes are equipped with are downright flimsy, and actually easily penetrated by a would-be intruder. Here glass block usually serves an alternative. Block generally provides a stronger solution while emitting scattered light. Biut, if do-able, casement style windows that open outward can create yet another way to soften the basement wall borders, provide increased air circulation (screens) & natural light.

If the outer grade will allow, there may be the option of adding a dug out window well that could receive protection in the way of a clear plastic pane.


To reduce the levels of moisture it may help to investigate the possibility of a dehumidifier. When properly used they can help maintain the proper moisture content in your walls, trim and furniture throughout the basement living area.

In dealing with your contractor(s), taking the proactive approach of planning an organized progress schedule for the remodeling of your basement is important. Taking the time before the start of project and working in cooperation with your remodeler will likely make a key difference in the time the project takes, and the manner in which it progresses, finishes and completes. Maybe enjoying your basement sooner than expected.


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