Steps to Remodeling the Basement

July 26th, 2011

By Jacques Bouchard

A Monster in your Basement

Imagine this:  Your floor upstairs experiences leaking each time it rains.  Water flows from every crack and crevice in the walls and puddles all over the floor.  Even when there’s no rain at all, it always seems to be damp, humid, and musty up there.  if you store something in the area, you can count on it to grow mold.  If you’ve laid a wood floor and/or carpet in the area, then it’s growing mold and rot while the wood buckles.  All the windows on the floor are rusted and filled with spider webs, and they’re impossible to open.  The floor is cold and clammy underfoot, and the ceiling is sagging and moldy.  In a nutshell, it’s an ugly, smelly, uncomfortable and unhealthy space that you and your family avoid whenever possible.  Could this ever be acceptable?  Of course not!

If it’s unacceptable upstairs, then why would you ever allow it DOWNstairs?

There’s no reason to.  Having an area like that in the home isn’t acceptable.  Your basement is an entire floor’s worth of space, and it’s far too much room to let go to waste.  With the housing market as it currently is, this is a fantastic time to think about how you can take full advantage of every piece of your home you can!  Whether you have a growing family, visiting friends and relatives, or you’re just tired of having a gloomy, dark space in your home, drying and finishing a basement is a great idea.

Make the Most of What You’ve Got!

At about 50% of the cost of building an addition to the home, a basement finishing is the best way to gain new living space without the need to sacrifice lawn space or endure the hassles of building upwards.  Even with the current poor housing market, Remodeling Online reports that the resale value of a home with a basement finishing increases by as much as 97% of

the cost of the installation! Click here to go to Remodeling Online’s web site and view the full report.

Even barring all numbers, a basement finishing is a great idea.  If your basement is leaking, you have the opportunity to take a significant problem in your home and turn it around completely.  Here’s just a few of the problems a damp or wet basement can cause:

1. Water is able to collect around foundation walls in the loose backfilled earth around the outside walls.  As this water soaks concrete, grout, and mortar, it will make its way into the basement air.  Even when the walls look dry, you can be sure that moisture is still seeping through and being pulled into the air, much like dirt in a flower pot is dry even when the pot is heavy with moisture.

2. When a basement is humid, it creates a perfect environment for mold growth. If the moisture is allowed to remain, there’s nothing stopping mold and dust mites from living, thriving, and surviving on all things containing organic material in your basement, including drywall, carpet, fiberglass, and hardwood floors.


When a basement has a musty, moldy smell, it comes from mold spores and the airborne fecal material created by dust mites in your basement.  This basement air moves upwards in your home in the same way that air moves through the hose like in a chimney.  Because this air travels upwards in your house, the airborne materials within the air will also rise into the main home where you breathe.  This can agitate asthma, allergies, and create a variety of other health disadvantages.

4. When a basement leaks, it ceases to be an acceptable area for storage.   Christmas ornaments, books, wedding memorabilia, seasonal clothing, unused furniture, and valuables will not be able to be safely stored in these flooding conditions.

A Beautiful Finished Basement


If you’ve decided to keep the basement a moldy, wet, and smelly space, then the basement will have little potential for improvement.  However, this is what a dry, healthy basement could become:

  • A beautiful basement living room with couches, a TV and a game table
  • A peaceful, private home office
  • A family game room with a basement wet bar for entertaining guests
  • A home gym with weights, mats, and exercise equipment
  • A safe, secure children’s play area
  • A beautiful and convenient wine cellar

If you’re finishing the basement, it’s wise to use basement remodeling materials that can create a safe and sound vapor barrier between your living space and the cold, damp basement walls and floor.  On the walls, a solid, free-standing cement board with hard-foam insulation with an R-13 rating is best.  With solid materials like this, you’ll be able to attach shelves, cupboards, pictures, a plasma TV, sports memorabilia, or any of countless other decorations and accessories with confidence. The windows in the basement should be installed with double-paned glass and a vinyl frame for the best options for insulation and soundproofing.  The basement ceiling is best installed with a drop ceiling that can absorb noise from both the basement and the  floors above.  The basement floor should be installed with water resistant vinyl tiles that block vapor barrier from the floor while creating a thermal break that allows the surface of the floor to be as much as ten degrees warmer than the floor below.  All surfaces of the basement should be inorganic to prevent mold and able to resist water in case of a flood.

Even if the basement has the best waterproofing products in the market and a vapor barrier is installed on all surfaces, the basement can still be affected by leaks from water heaters, bursting pipes, overflowing sinks, bathtubs, toilets, dishwashers, and countless other things in the home that hold water that can flow downhill into the basement.

Basement Waterproofing Basement Remodeling Contractors in your Town


Not all basement waterproofing and basement remodeling contractors are created equally.  When searching for the best one for your home, it’s best to find a well-established contractor who you can count on to still be in business if you need to service your installation or have warranty work done.  The small business administration reports that 50%

of contractors have their business fail in the first year, with over

96% closing shop within the first five years.  There’s a good chance that you’ll want the company someday in the future to modify, add on to, or service the job.  Find a company that can still be there when you need them most.

Basement Systems has been in basement waterproofing business for more than 20 years and is ready, willing, and able to help you with your basement waterproofing,

foundation repair, dehumidification, and crawlspace encapsulation

needs. Their basement waterproofing system can prevent the basement from leaking while keeping the basement dry and safe for furniture and organic materials.

Once your basement is dry, it’s ready to be finished.  Total Basement Finishing’s EverLast basement wall panels are solid, mold-resistant, and able to hold a

weight of up to 300 pounds per foot, making them perfect for mounting heavy

shelving, large pictures, cabinets, or whatever your heart desires. Their basement windows are created with long-lasting vinyl framing and beautiful crystal clear

double thermopane glass, combining to make a basement window that is twice as long-lasting

and almost three times better at insulating when compared to single paned steel

basement windows. None of Total Basement Finishing’s products can support mold growth, and they’ve all been designed with potential flooding and the unique basement environment in mind. Each of Total Basement Finishing’s basement remodeling contractors offers a written warranty, the service of a well-established business, and the

international support of the Total Basement Finishing network. There’s no doubt that we’ll be

here if you need us.  Call or contact us for a free basement remodeling estimate today!

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