3 Steps to Create a Space You’ll Love
Many Bowie homeowners want to turn the basement into a cool place for fun. Here’s how to get a bright, fresh space you’ll enjoy for years.
Step 1: Nobody Likes A Smelly Basement — Stop Any Leaks
Are you starting with bare foundation walls? Look for water leaks. You have to fix those before you remodel. Otherwise, even the smallest leak will make your room unpleasant.
If water comes in under your basement door when it rains, you need to prevent that first. If you have an outside stairwell, consider having a drain system or sump pump to re-direct rainwater and keep it outside.
If you don’t fix water problems, and then you put up studs, drywall and flooring, your leak will make them damp. This dampness will cause mold and a musty smell that nobody will enjoy. Avoid wasting your money and fix leaks first. As a contractor, I can refer to you good waterproofing companies if you need advice.
Step #2: Stop Water Vapor — Get Vapor Barriers On Walls and Floor
Next you have to deal with water vapor. Basement floor and walls are naturally porous. A tiny bit of air always passes through brick, concrete and cinder block. Some water vapor comes in just because of the contact between your basement and the ground outside. You can’t help it.
For Bowie homeowners, I install a vapor barrier when refinishing your basement. The vapor barrier may look like a plastic sheet, like trash bag material. It’s used as a layer right against your walls, and then the studs and insulation go in front. Finally, your drywall goes over that. This combination of vapor barrier, insulation, then drywall is the best way to keep your space warm and dry.
On your floor, your vapor barrier depends on the type of floor you are using. Under carpet, you may have a sheet of plastic. If you have a glue-down wood floor, you may need glue designed to block water vapor.
If you plan to use vinyl or ceramic tiles, these will be set directly onto the concrete. You can keep mold from this type of flooring with cleaning products that kill mold.
Step #3: Refinish! Tips for Lighting, Layout and Finishing Your Basement
Now comes the fun part. Lay out your space. It’s time to put in walls for a bedroom or laundry room. I often find that homeowners in Bowie want to remodel the basement for a home theater or wall-mounted big screen. This is a great reason to refinish your basement. For the best time on game day, I make sure you have all the electricity and plumbing you need for an outstanding time with family and friends.
For lighting, consider recessed ceiling lights with dimmer switches. They can softly brighten a space that’s otherwise much darker than the rest of your house.
A warm neutral wall color helps your basement feel more inviting and cozy also. You can enjoy a warm yellow color that might be too much for an upstairs room, but is just right for a basement.
What Will All This Cost?
There is no one fixed price for remodeling your basement. It helps to think in terms of a range. Your cost may range between $10 and $50 per square foot, depending on the amount of work and materials you need.
I like to use your free consultation with me to help plan your budget. We look at options for material and labor to find the best price for you.
About the Author
Brandon Sewell lives and works in Bowie, MD where he owns and operates Qualis Construction. He enjoys home remodeling, family life, running, and going to football games in Washington, DC.