What to Consider Before Breaking Ground
Water, Water Everywhere
One of the biggest problems for a Milwaukee basement remodel is moisture. From ambient dampness to straight up flooding excess water below grade is going to put a damper on your remodel fun. It’s not as exciting as choosing a brand new TV, but moisture must be addressed before attempting a remodel. The yard should grade in a way that directs water away from the home. If water is pooling near the house, this must be fixed. Seal the foundation to prevent leaks and install a vapor barrier behind the walls and under the flooring. Insulate pipes to prevent condensation and request a mold-resistant drywall. If your basement has a history of actual flooding, a sump pump and a backup generator are a good investment.
Snug As A Bug
Spaces below the grade tend to be cooler than the rest of the home, and extra humidity makes it even cooler. Ask your contractor to ensure all insulation is functional and upgrade if necessary. For full comfort year round, consider baseboard heaters or in-floor radiant heat. You might be tempted to skip this step and hope your existing system gets the job done. Consider that any extra heat created in the basement is only going to help the rest of the home stay warmer, and remember that you want people to be comfortable in your new space. Work with your contractor to ensure your remodeled area will be warm and toasty whenever needed.
Let There Be Light (A Lot of It)
Avoid the dungeon feel of basements by paying close attention to lighting. Windows are a great addition to any basement space, so feature existing units to maximize sunlight. Expand existing windows if possible, or dig below the grade to create egress windows. The upfront scope of new windows can be intimidating but it will go a long way towards making any basement feel airy and comfortable.
If you’ve got higher ceilings, a lower level gives you more freedom to choose something adventurous. Chandelier, pendant, or billiard lights might not do a lot for illumination but will add to the bright and welcoming feel of your new basement. Recessed lighting will compensate for lower ceilings and reflective cans will maximize the wattage. Can lighting will light up the space and ensure that you have enough units to get the illumination you need. Even if you’re installing pendants or a chandelier, can lights will fill in any dark spots.