4 Features for a Better Basement Reno
The overwhelming majority of our basement finishing projects are for clients with young children who want to increase their living space to accommodate their growing family.
Whether you’re finishing your basement to add a playroom for your kids and a guest room for your in-laws, or it’s somewhere for you to hide from your children and your in-laws, here are some features to consider based on what our clients find the most value in.
As a technical starting point, in basements it’s more sound reducing than sound proofing because your ductwork runs from your basement through your house it’s hard to eliminate how sound travels without overspending to truly sound proof.
That being said, the basic impact of soundproofing insulation is that sound from the basement to the upper floors will be dampened but not eliminated. The sound from up to down will be somewhat reduced but it will not soften the sound of footsteps on the floor above.
We currently use Quietzone soundproofing insulation from Fiberglass for basement soundproofing. It has the same rating for soundproofing as Rockwool and is more cost friendly.
However, we are moving to using Rockwool going forward because the real life results are better than Quietzone in our experience.
Soundproofing is also very DIY-friendly. Be sure to wear long sleeves and a mask or you will be coughing and itchy for a few hours.
Basements are commonly cool or even cold and the main reason is that basement floors are not insulated. Concrete is porous and, loves moisture which is going to bleed the cold in through your basement floor. Adding a subfloor will make your basement floor less cold.
To clarify, a subfloor won’t make your basement floor warm, only less cold and for a lot of our clients they are glad they put it in.
A product like Dricore, which is a 2×2 panel that fits together in a tongue and groove system, is very DIY-friendly (YouTube it). You can get it in non-insulated and insulated panels to add a little more R-value to your basement floor.
A subfloor also allows you to install whatever flooring on top of it that you would like to install. Depending on flooring you choose, you may have to fasten the panels to the concrete slab using tapcon screws.
The main thing to consider when installing a subfloor as a construction feature for your renovation is overall basement ceiling height. Your houses ductwork is in the basement and sits lower than the ceiling.
By adding a subfloor, ceiling height decreases. In Ontario, you have minimum ceiling heights dictated by building code. Adding a subfloor may not be viable because of existing circumstances so double check your local building code before installing.
A Murphy bed , also called a wall bed, is a bed that is hinged at one end to store vertically against the wall, or inside a closet or cabinet. (Thank you Wikipedia)
Not every basement is big enough to add a bedroom. A Murphy bed is a great idea to turn your basement into a temporary bedroom for when your friends/family/in-laws come to visit.
You can buy them in kits or fully assembled. A simple Google search will bring up results for your local area.
My Mom built one in our basement when I was growing up and it was in there for almost 15 years until they moved. When someone came to visit, the basement became a temporary bedroom. When the visit was over, it went back to being my Dad’s hideout.
If your are able to add a bathroom to your basement please do not over invest in the tub surround or shower unit. This is not advocating for you to cheap out in finishing your basement bathroom. It is to keep in mind that your basement bathroom should not be nicer than your main bathroom.
We use the Sterling Kohler line of shower kits and tub surround units with Moen fixtures. They are much nicer than the shower kits and tub surround kits and are made of Vikrell, not acrylic, making them more durable. We stay away from using the neo-angle corner showers but sometimes, space is limited and the only option is to use a neo-angle corner shower.
Buyer beware: Installing any type of shower kit or tub surround with glue on walls is to be done with the understanding that the walls will leak and fall apart in the short-term to mid-term. Water, glue and humidity in a small space puts that application has a short life span.
Finishing your basement is a great way to increase your living space without having to buy a bigger house and move. Investing in the right features will make sure your finished underground living space is money spent that makes your life better.