Home Remodeling’s Bottom Line

July 12th, 2011

By Jacques Bouchard There’s no doubt about it- the housing market is in terrible shape, and there’s no end in sight for the near future. Fannie Mae predicts a drop in the housing market of an average of 5-7% nationwide in the next year alone! Wall Street Analyst Ivy Zelman predicts that housing value is expected to drop an additional 20-25%, and homeowners who are hoping to sell their home have found that their house sitting stale on the market. As price tags plummet, sellers find themselves also competing with widespread foreclosures, as buyers become increasingly cautious in the low economy. Middle market homes especially are difficult to sell, with many homes being sold far below their assessed value. The best thing to do in times like these is to sit back for a few years and make the most of the valuable home you have. Eventually, the housing market will level out, and the value of your home will be restored once more. In the meantime, if you have an expanding family and increased demands for space, remodeling the basement may be the solution. However, to many, the idea of transforming a rough, unsightly, and cavernous area into an attractive living space can see intimidating, if not impossible. Lighting the space, working around support beams, improvising around water heaters and utilities and finding the best materials to use on foundation concrete can really make your work cut out for you! However, there’s no need to take the largest room in the house and doom it to be a dark, damp, and ugly pit. A basement is useful space in the home that’s easy to cool and easy to finish. If having a home with a basement is worth it, then it’s also worth finishing the space.

Basement Walls

When finishing a basement, the largest and most daunting task is dealing with the basement walls and basement floor. The concrete and mortar that is used in construction of walls made of concrete, block, stone, and tile will allow water vapor to seep through to the basement environment from the wet earth around the foundation. This moisture collects on the basement finishing materials- if they’re not completely organic, they can be ruined by water, grow mold, and rot. And unfortunately, even mold-resistant drywall is not the answer for these problems. No drywall product has a long-term warranty against mold and moisture, and even these brief warranties will not hold if the basement floods from a plumbing or foundation leak. These panels need to be able to stand up not just to moisture but also fire and daily wear and tear. Installing a solid, inorganic hardboard basement wall panel will allow for resistant to mold and moisture and allows for the construction of a closet, basement bathroom, basement bedroom, or any other partitioned room you can think of! Total Basement Finishing‘s basement wall panels are warranted for 50 years against mold and moisture- even if the basement experiences a flood- and are strong enough to support the weight of shelves, pictures, and even a plasma TV with no need for the homeowner to locate a stud! Built with foam insulation, they install without wood, and they come equipped with an industry-leading R-13 insulation rating!

Basement Floors

When carpet is laid on a basement floor, it inevitably leads to rot, mold, and odors. When wood absorbs moisture, it will rot, swell with moisture, and buckle. However, installing a reliably inorganic sub floor on the basement will prevent moisture from invading the basement air space. Total Basement Finishing’s ThermalDry basement flooring takes inorganic basement sub floors a step farther. Lasting twice as long as a normal flooring material, they sit on raised pegs that add insulation and raise the temperature of the floor by 8-10 degrees! Even if there’s a plumbing leak or water entering in from the foundation, this waterproof material will not be ruined by the moisture. ThermalDry comes in carpeted, tiled, and an unfinished designs. If you’ve set your heart on having the beauty of wood finish on your basement floor, however, Total Basement Finishing also offers MillCreek Wood Finish Basement Flooring. This special inorganic flooring protects your home from water vapor from the basement floor while providing stain resistant and durable flooring for the family!

Basement Ceilings

The best basement ceilings can offer easy access to the wires, pipes, ducts, and other utility lines above while being both attractive and water-resistant for water leaks. While drywall ceilings can be installed with access points to the ceiling, they cannot offer allow a maintenance worker to reach the utilities at any point, and when these materials sag, they give the basement a uncouth, ugly appearance. Alternatively, a basement drop ceiling can add a bright, white appearance while being fully compatible with florescent, can, and suspended lighting. Additionally, drop ceiling tiles are easy to work around pipes and ducts and will conveniently conform to fit the unique shape of the basement. If you’re looking for a basement drop ceiling that will act as a reliable sound barrier between the basement and upper floors, drop ceilings are very convenient for muffling the sounds of steps from above and sounds from below, creating an effective acoustic barrier. A homeowner who opts for a drop ceiling should find one that’s formed of inorganic material that is also warranted against sagging.

Basement Windows and Window Wells

Nothing is better than sunshine for great lighting and natural beauty in a basement. Double-paned vinyl basement windows and top quality basement window wells are a perfect combination for reflecting as much beautiful sunlight into the basement as possible. Windows using a Low-E rating are highly recommended for keeping winter cold from the outside and the summer heat from working its way into your basement.

Basement Dehumidifier

A basement is much more comfortable and well-maintained if the basement air is kept dry. Dry basements are easier and less expensive to heat and cool, are more consistently conditioned, and much more resistant tot he growth of health-damaging mold spores and dust mite waste. An effective basement dehumidifier will also be able to filter the air for particles and odors such as mold spores and dust mite feces. When possible, purchase an Energy Star rated basement dehumidifier. While difficult to find, they’re worth the search for the savings and increased performance they provide for the home.

Finish the Basement the Best Way!

Whether you decide to add a basement bathroom, home gym, personal office, basement entertainment room, wine cellar, children’s play area, basement wet bar, or any other basement finishing plan, remodel the basement the best way. The additional space you gain in the home is a great way to make a safe investment that will add space to your home and will allow you to ride out the housing slump with a new, exciting area that will stay beautiful for many decades to come!

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