Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 3, 2020

Finding more space by remodeling your basement

If you’re like most Chattanooga-area residents, you’ve been spending a lot of time at home lately, and you might be especially motivated to find extra space in the house for your family to spread out a bit.

Expanding your home’s square footage could provide a playroom for your children, a place for extended family to stay during visits, a media room the whole family can use or even a space to rent out for some extra income.

A finished basement can be a valuable addition to your home and the perfect space for your expansion. However, depending on the current condition of your basement, it can also be a pretty daunting project to take on.

Follow these four guidelines to feel more confident transforming your basement into your home’s newest space.

First things first

Before you start renovations, look into any laws and building codes that might affect your project. Codes can change depending on your county, so make sure you’re reading the right regulations for your area. Make note of any egress requirements and plan for adequate windows and fire exits.

Next, get a professional to come in and check for any health and safety concerns that need to be addressed. Basements can often hide things like mold, asbestos and radon, so make sure that if anything is lurking, you’re taking care of it before starting renovations.

Set master plan

Will you primarily be using your extra space for guests? A playroom? A family movie room?

If you’re planning on renting the space, consider if a small kitchen will fit comfortably in your budget. A bathroom can go a long way toward making a space comfortable for guests, and if there’s no room for a full tub and shower, a half-bath will still add value to the space.

Set budget, stick to it

Basement remodels can be one of the most expensive home renovation projects, so it’s a good idea to sit down with a professional remodeler and set a realistic budget.

Allow for some wiggle room in case unexpected problems arise, and don’t be stingy when it comes to dealing with things like leaks and water damage.

Have a professional check out the foundation, and put some money toward solving any potential water problems first and foremost.

Remember that you can always put more money toward finessing the decor later on when your budget allows. Put the bulk of your budget into making sure it’s a safe, comfortable, functional space before splitting hairs over furnishings or small decorative touches.

Eliminate basement feel

Basements are often not built with everyday use in mind, but there are a lot of creative ways to liven up the space and take away that underground basement feel.

Start with good insulation to control both temperature and sound. You don’t want your footsteps echoing loudly in your guests’ ears, and you also don’t need unwanted noise floating up into the main part of the house.

For decor, think about using warm color and gentle lighting. Add softness with curtains or carpet.

Basements will often have low ceilings that can make the space feel a bit unwelcoming, so think creatively and see if a professional can reroute the ductwork, wiring, or piping so you can free up some space to allow for higher ceilings.

To find professionals who can help you get started on your basement remodel, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga online directory at HBAGC.net.