So you’re starting to think about developing your basement? There are a lot of things to consider in order to make the space work as well as it can for you and your family.
Do you need a full-time bedroom or just a room for a few guests each year? Do you want space for an office, or room for gym equipment?
It is often practical to use the extra “bedroom” as more of a flex room that can double as an office or workout room.
The most common flooring choices in our basements are carpet, laminate and vinyl plank.
Carpet is the most common because it is affordable and cozy.
Hard surfaces such as laminate and vinyl can be easier to clean and some feel they have a better look. They can also be colder to the feet, so adding a subfloor is a good idea but also an additional cost.
Vinyl plank is more durable and water resistant than laminate but will add between $1.50-$2.50/sf to the product cost.
Looking for something different? We have started adding concrete epoxy flooring as an option for our basements.
Subfloors can add warmth to your floor and also have waterproofing properties. They work by allowing a layer of insulation between the concrete and your flooring of choice. This can avoid that cold, hard feel that the flooring in many basements have.
Wet-bars, dry-bars and kitchenettes are all common basement options. Wet-bars are the most common request and are very nice to have. However, depending on how your plumbing is set up, they may not be the best option as it can be expensive breaking concrete to connect the drain for a wet-bar.
With that in mind, a dry-bar makes more sense for many clients because it doesn’t have the added plumbing costs which can sometimes get into the $1500-$2500 range including groundwork, fixtures, GFCI receptacles and more. Another advantage of a dry-bar is that it offers more countertop space than a wet-bar which can be nice especially when entertaining.
Adding soundproofing insulation to basement ceilings or partition walls is an excellent way to minimize sound travelling from your main-floor to basement and vice versa. It helps a lot, but isn’t perfect. If soundproofing is a major concern, you can consider additional steps of resilient channel (sound bar) and sound dampening drywall.
Many of our clients are surprised to find out that a shower is actually more expensive than a bathtub. The difference in the cost really comes down to the glass doors. The cost of a standard bathtub or acrylic shower base is roughly the same, but the glass doors do add to the price.
We have learned that the standard kit doors that can be purchased at the big-box stores can often present recurring warranty problems. With that in mind, we choose to have every shower door we install custom fabricated for your space. The cost difference is small, but the quality difference is immense.
Further to that, the size and thickness of your shower door can also affect the price. Our standard door is a 7mil, but many clients will opt to upgrade to a 10mil door which is the type of glass you would likely find in a spa. The shower glass will typically run between $1000-2500 depending on size and thickness.
The last thing you want is a cold basement! Building code requires a hot air supply for every room over 25sf and requires a cold-air return in the space.
It is critical to bring at least one cold-air return down to ground level to allow for proper circulation. With larger basements it is a good idea to add a second return.
Fireplaces are popular for additional heating, but can be expensive. If budget doesn’t allow for a fireplace, a great option is an electric baseboard heater. Electric baseboard heaters can take the edge off your basement on the coldest days.
Also, basement tile can be very cold to the feet. A heated tile system can help make your bathroom space more comfortable.
Fireplaces make the basement wish list for most of our clients, but often don’t make the final cut due to space.
Gas fireplaces are a convenient and stylish option, however they can run between $4000-7000 depending on the model and the finishing around it. Another downside is that they can take up useful space.
Electric fireplaces are much more economical, ranging from between $500-1500. They give off more heat than most people expect, but some don’t like the look of them.
Another option that many people don’t know about are bio-flame fireplaces. Bio-flame fireplaces use an ethanol based fluid that can be lit with a standard log lighter. They have the advantage of a true flame but are less expensive and take up less space than gas fireplaces. They generally range from around $1500-3500 and are a great option for a basement.
Storage space is one of the most overlooked components in most basements. Having extra storage in your basement will make your entire home feel bigger and allow you and your family to grow into your home as the years roll by.
When it comes to your basement, it is a good idea to consider using some of the space for storage. The most common storage space is the crawl-space underneath your stairs, but this usually isn’t enough. It is often a good idea to extend the mechanical room or add a dedicated storage room as well.
You should also consider whether any additional storage space you want to build should be finished or unfinished space. Unfinished space can be advantageous because it costs less and provides flexibility.
It is important to think about what you want to do with regards to your television area prior to starting your project. For some, it’s just that – a place to put a TV and maybe a few couches; but even then it is important to consider where you want the TV to go and whether you will hang it on the wall (and want a conduit to hide the wires) or put it on a stand or in a cabinet.
Some of our clients have more ambitious home theatre ideas, such as a dedicated screening room with an overhead projector or multiple TV locations. You will want to think this through so we can assess outlet locations and pricing.
As for speakers, it is often a good idea to at least wire for them, in case you want to add them in the future. We can also install in-ceiling and in-wall speakers to maximize space.
If you are interested in one of our basement packages, tell us more about your project and one of our team members will be in touch to set up a quote.