How to Start Thinking About a Basement Renovation

An unfinished basement can be so much fun. It is the perfect blank canvas to play with! A basement renovation can start with something as basic as just hanging and painting simple sheetrock walls and installing plywood floors, all of which is relatively inexpensive. Of course, the sky’s the limit on remodeling and design projects in your home; and setting a budget for design is a bit easier than setting a budget for needed repairs.

Remember, even for the simplest remodeling projects, you may need a permit in addition to an inspection. This will ensure whatever you do is legal – especially if you are adding a bedroom or bathroom. For your remodel, you may have to place a special emphasis on lighting choices. Since basement spaces are generally darker than other above-ground spaces, you’ll need to either install extra lighting or find a way (perhaps with egress windows) to open up and lighten the space with natural light.

How Big?

Clearly, the size of the basement will be a factor. Labor costs make up the bulk of the project’s cost, so you might decide to tackle a small basement by yourself. You will still need to call an electrician and/or a plumber if adding any of those amenities. The costs below do not include these contractors.

How fast?

If time is of the essence, you might consider a basement finishing kit. A finishing kit has insulated wall panels, and some include a walkable flooring surface and ceiling material that you install yourself. Depending on the size of your basement, these kits can be installed in as little as a weekend. However, “finished” does not mean “furnished”. The floor won’t be carpeted, the walls won’t be painted, and there will be no electrical or plumbing. Other features such as doors, rooms, etc., will still be up to you.

Rooms & Features

How your basement will be used will determine a lot of things. For example, if it will be a living space such as a bedroom, egress windows are required. Here are some other uses and features to consider:

  • Playroom – A playroom for the kids (especially younger children) should have plenty of kid-friendly features like soft carpeting, bright colors, and storage for toys. Open floor space will give them room to run around and for larger toys like playhouses.
  • Entertainment – Many people turn their basements into home theaters. Plenty of seating centered around a large TV or a projection TV aimed at a large screen makes a trip to the movies as easy as going downstairs.
  • Rec Room – For older children, a rec room with a video game system and other games creates a safe hangout. Stereo systems and a small fridge and microwave for snacks will finish the space nicely.
  • Home Office/Workshop – A place to get away from the noise of a full house so you can get things done is the perfect use for a basement. You don’t need much space, but you will need to have electrical systems run for your computer, lighting, and other features.


Remodeling is a good time to have your foundation inspected. If you notice that metal items such as pipes are rusting, the problem may be humidity instead of a leak, but it can be just as damaging. Waterproofing your basement and using a dehumidifier can help keep dampness from wreaking havoc.

Water Leakage

Definitely be careful around water pipes in the basement (or wherever you are working!) Water leakage in a basement can cause serious long -term problems for a homeowner. Standing water can lead to mold and mildew growth. It’s also a haven for bugs and other pests. Over time, concrete blocks and foundations can sustain hairline cracks. While they may appear small on the surface, they can be the start of an enormous problem, so early repair is key. The only way to rectify a water problem in your basement is to remove the water and seal the leaks. This may involve removing existing paint or wall coverings. It may involve replacing soggy beams.

In Conclusion

A finished basement can add valuable living space to your home, and your design is limited only by your budget and your imagination. Have fun with this project – when going underground, the sky’s the limit! Contact us here at Sunrise Cleaning and Restoration in Idaho Falls to get you started.

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