Basement Refinishing

Danny Lipford with Matt Cook in remodeled basement.

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In this episode we go underground to the basement, and look at ways to add more living area to your home. After all, in newer homes a basement can account for one-third of the home’s total square footage.

We found a contractor who specializes in basement refinishing from The Finished Basement Company, who showed us several great basement remodels and shared his insights into the design process as well as common problems encountered when finishing a basement. From playrooms and home theater rooms to bedrooms and entertainment areas with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances – we see a little bit of everything.

Topics of discussion included issues with ceiling height, structural posts as eye sores versus becoming an architectural feature of the home, basement bathrooms and plumbing issues, dealing with egress and more.

Producer's Notes from Allen Lyle

Even though I am southern born and bred, I have lived in various parts of the country, including a few short months in Granville, Ohio. Our townhouse had a basement, but I remember it as being a dark, cramped space that I rarely visited. It was home solely to the washer/dryer and water heater. One small well window was in it and, as I recall, a single pull-string light bulb. Not very inviting.

Keep in mind this was 1969 and a lot of improvements have been made in the building industry since then. While the projects we looked at in the Minneapolis area were some amazing renovations, you may have one of those older basements; and I just wanted to dwell on a couple of concerns before you tackle any kind of basement remodeling job.

Without a doubt, the first and foremost concern when remodeling a basement is moisture. I forget where I read this, but a basement lets in an average of 18 gallons of moisture every single day! Moisture, as you are probably aware, encourages mold and mildew, unwelcome guests in any home. So, how do you know for certain if moisture is a problem in your basement? Look for these telltale signs:

  1. The obvious growth of mold and mildew
  2. A white, powdery substance on the walls
  3. Paint that keeps peeling
  4. Discolorations on the walls or ceiling
  5. Cracks in walls
  6. Musty odors
  7. Rust on metal surfaces, such as appliances

Typically, there will be a combination of the above mentioned items, not just one. If you do spot these signs, contact your local Home Builder’s Association for a recommendation of contractors who specialize in waterproofing methods.

Once the waterproofing has taken place, don’t relax. You need to incorporate some moisture control problems. Since the slab is the greatest source of moisture, consider installing radiant flooring. The heat will keep the slab dry, which virtually eliminates moisture from rising condensation. An extra benefit is that by getting rid of the moisture, you can also control the added nuisance of dust mites!

Finally, make sure you provide adequate insulation. The ground surrounding your basement walls is always going to be cooler than the inside living space. If the air inside is warmer, when those two temperatures meet, condensation forms. Proper insulation will help keep those cooler temperatures from seeping into the walls, which, in turn, keeps condensation away.

Once the moisture problem is properly addressed and solved, the rest of the job is much easier.

Other Tips From This Episode

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Open Stud Bay Storage

Open Stud Bay Storage

Finding new storage space in a garage or work shop is always a challenge. If you have an exposed stud wall there are several ways you can create storage. To store small things such as paint cans, create a shelf by simply nailing a 1×4 in between the studs. For larger items such as brooms, pipes, etc., create a swing gate between two studs. To do so, cut a 1×4 so it’s slightly longer than the distance between two studs. Hold it in place with drywall screws. On one end attach two 1×2 cleats, screw them in place to create a space for the horizontal 1×4 to rest. This way you can swing the 1×4 out of the way when you need to move items in and out of storage. At the very bottom, close to the floor, attach a piece of ¼” lathe so items can’t slip out. (Watch This Video)

Best New Products with Danny Lipford:
Bali Blinds with Remote Control

Bali Blinds with Remote Control

When you’re in a hurry, you’re hands are full or even if you’ve got a hard-to-reach window – tilting your window blinds open or closed can be a hassle. With a remote, controlling your blinds is convenient whether you’ve got your hands full or are relaxing with a book. The ControlMate option from Bali is easy to use. You just press the button like any other remote and the slats tilt open or closed from up to 50-feet away. The motor is pre-installed in the head rail so it operates as soon as you hang the blinds. Bali remote control blinds are available at The Home Depot.

Around the Yard with Tricia Craven Worley:
Leaf Blower Tips

Leaf Blower Tips

When using a leaf blower there are several to keep in mind. First, remember to keep the wind at your back so you’re not fighting against the wind or stuck with flying debris coming at you. Secondly, use safety glasses and ear protection. The frequency at which a leaf blower operates can cause damage to the ears over time. Clothing also needs to be appropriate to cover your skin from flying debris. – closed toe shoes, long pants, etc. (Watch This Video)

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Basement Refinishing