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7 Top Things to Know When Finishing a Basement

Finishing out your basement is a wonderful way to add much-needed square footage to your home and to dramatically increase property value at the same time. You can use the extra space from your home addition for everything from additional bedrooms and bathrooms to more living space, a home office, a home fitness room, game room or something else altogether. As you prepare to renovate your basement, keep these seven valuable tips in mind for the best results.

Seal the Basement

Basements are notorious for leaking, and the last thing you want is to spend tens of thousands of dollars finishing out this space and furnishing it beautifully only to have it flood a short time later. There are many steps you can take to seal the basement, but you also need to inspect it thoroughly for cracks and signs of moisture. Working with a professional to ensure that the basement is watertight is a great idea.

Use a Vapor Barrier

Using a vapor barrier is like placing a plastic bag around the interior of your basement, and its purpose is to alert you to signs of moisture leaking into the basement. While you may have taken numerous steps to seal the area from moisture, some moisture may still be present. Leave the barrier in place for several days before you begin your construction work. If you notice any signs of moisture on the barrier after a few days, you can then go back and reseal the area for improved results.

Remember the Windows

There are some laws in place regarding finished basements, and one of them that may in effect in your local area is to have window wells in the basement. A skilled contractor can review your basement to determine if your windows and other features are up to code, and he can make recommendations to help you finish your project so that it meets all current codes and regulations.

Buy the Right Tools and Supplies

If your basement is like most, it has a concrete shell surrounding it. This means that you need to invest in fasteners that are designed to be used with this type of material. In addition, some drill bits and drills are designed to work well with concrete. Using the right fasteners and tools will ensure that the work is completed properly and as quickly as possible.

Install Insulation With a Moisture Barrier

Some homeowners will finish out their basement without thought to insulation, but there are two reasons why you need insulation. The first reason is to keep exterior temperatures from affecting your indoor climate. The second reason is because some insulation has a moisture barrier, and this can further prevent moisture from affecting your finished basement.

Think About Your Ceiling

Your basement ceiling serves the important purpose of adding a decorative facade to the top of your basement rooms, but it also conceals wires, pipes and more. Some homeowners prefer to use a dropped ceiling in the basement so that they have easy access to the pipes and other features that run across the top of the room when needed. There are now more attractive styles of dropped ceilings than many are familiar with, so take a closer look at the options before you finalize your ceiling plans.

Focus on Lighting

Another factor to think about when finishing out a basement is lighting. Lighting influences functionality, ambiance and even energy efficiency in your basement. Many prefer to use recessed lighting in this space because of the typically low ceiling height. Regardless of the type of light fixtures you use, you may consider using a dimmer switch to control the ambiance.


Finishing a basement can be a major undertaking. Some homeowners have the DIY knowledge to complete at least some of the work on their own, and this can help save you money with your efforts. However, you may need to contact a home improvement contractor like Eagle Building Solutions to do at least some of the work for you. This will result in faster and more thorough completion of some of the more complicated aspects of remodeling your basement space.

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