Nothing stirs the imagination like the untapped potential of an unfinished basement. For some, the large, concrete area beneath their home represents a future home entertainment or media room. For others, it represents a future home gym. However, in spite of dreams like these, the reality is that most unfinished basements resemble dungeons more than anything else. So, what if you want to turn that dark, dank smelly room where you do your laundry into a study, a family room, or just your personal “man cave?” Before you hire someone to turn this proverbial caterpillar into a butterfly, you should know that there are different ways to go about basement remodeling. Each varies both in cost and in quality, but knowing what your options are can help you make a wise choice that can turn your dream into reality.
Remodeling an unfinished basement is no easy task. Whether you are on a budget or have money to spend, it takes time to create a quality finished product. And, when you hire someone to do the job, you need to know what you want. Luckily there are choices available to both high-rollers and pinchers of pennies alike.
Let’s start with the ceilings and walls. There are mainly two routes you can go here. One of the most common is to hire a contractor to hang sheet rock. The idea here is to make the basement look like any other room in the house. This is typically the most expensive way to go in that it will require the most labor and raw materials. A contractor will need to first hang sheet rock, then tape and bed the seems. Next you’ll have to have a painting contractor texture the walls and then apply two coats of paint. This type of basement remodeling can cost a pretty penny, but it does create a great look. If you’re really looking to make your basement the place to be, you can even have a bathroom installed. If you do choose this avenue of basement remodeling, make sure you don’t get overcharged. One way contractors try to do this is by hanging unneeded insulation in the ceiling. Since the basement ceiling is really the actual floor of the home, there is no need for this.
A cheaper way to remodel your basement ceilings and walls is to forego the sheet rock and just go straight to the painting contractor. Yes, concrete walls can be painted provided a layer of primer is applied first. Make sure the contractor you hire does this; because if he doesn’t, the paint will peel in just a short time. A lot of people really enjoy the look of a painted basement. The texture of the concrete can give the room a great urban look. One negative is that many concrete basement walls have a lot of holes in them. So, make sure your contractor plans to spray the surface with two coats of paint. A brush and roller probably won’t be able to fill all the holes. So, if your contractor uses this technique, you’re liable to end up with Swiss-cheese type walls.
Another negative to this type of basement remodeling has to do with the ceiling. Yes, you can spray the ceiling with primer and paint, however, if you choose to have this done, try to use a dark color. This will keep the joyces from standing out so much. Otherwise you can choose to have only the ceiling sheet rocked, but the painter will then probably have to apply either texture or acoustic prior to painting and this can add cost to the remodeling project.
The last thing to consider when remodeling a basement is the floor. Once again there are different ways to approach this. If you have the money, you can have either wood, tile or carpet laid down. The positives to this are obvious. It provides a warm “homey” look and even a bit of class. The negative is that it can be expensive. If you don’t think you can afford this type of flooring but you still want to remodel your basement, there is an alternative. A good contractor can apply a floor paint or stain that will do the job. It may sound tacky, but floor paint and stain applied properly can provide a great look to a dark dingy basement. However, before you hire a contractor for this, you need to know a few things. First, concrete basement floors have to be treated with an acid etch prior to painting. Most horizontal concrete surfaces need to be neutralized with this procedure or else the paint with peel rather quickly. So, before you hire a contractor for this job make sure to ask them if they plan to treat the floor with an acid wash beforehand.
With the variety or basement remodeling techniques available, there’s no reason why anyone’s basement should like a medieval dungeon. Even if you can’t afford to make your basement look like the rest of the rooms in your home, you can still have a quality upgrade for a reasonable price if you know your options.