Gone are the days when the basement was considered to be housing scary secrets and evil monsters. These sub surface areas are turning into a goldmine for most people. Not only do these provide an additional floor area, but also a more thermally comfortable interior environment. Besides being used for storage or office space, there are numerous ways in which the basements can be utilised — from being an extra bedroom to play areas for children to a home theatre or a games room. The possibilities are endless! However, one must bear in mind that various cities and towns have different bylaws regarding the utilisation of basements, so one must be aware of these before initiating any changes in this space.
Before carrying out any kind of conversion or renovation of basements, certain key factors need to be considered. These include::
Waterproofing: Being an underground room adequate waterproofing solutions must be installed in the walls and floor in order to prevent seepage of water inside the building. In case of construction of a new basement, be sure to have a membrane on the external side of basement wall which drains the moisture into a sump.
Ventilation: Due to being underground, some basement areas require mechanical means of ventilation in order to maintain a healthy air quality within the spaces. Use of exhaust fans, ceiling and wall-mounted fans and air conditioners help to achieve the required air change rate in these spaces.
Lighting: The main reason why most people are not keen on properly utilising their basements is due to the fact that these are usually dark and dingy. Lighting, day-lighting and artificial lighting should be given a lot of thought in these spaces. Skylights, clerestory lighting, light tubes, use of glass blocks in the roof, are just a few ways in which daylight can be introduced in these areas.
Besides the regular home spaces such as bedrooms and living areas, basements may be used to add extra space to your home. Here are some suggestions to give your basement a makeover and bring out the ‘wow’ factor:
Home Gym: Make your own gym at home rather than going out to exercise. Use the funds that you would spend on a gym membership to purchase some equipment and exercise in the comfort of your own home.
Children’s play and study area: Couples with young children know what a challenge it is to keep them occupied and out of the way especially when there are guests around. Making a play area for them in the basement ensures that they are not in your way and gives them complete licence to make as much noise as they want without disturbing the other members of the household. Basement spaces also make for great study areas as they insulate sound and are free from any kind of distractions.
Home office: Most people who work from home find it difficult to maintain the routine and work schedule of a regular office as they get embroiled in matters of the home or have to face unwanted disturbances. A basement office ensures a private area within the home where one can work in a secluded environment.
Home theatre: Make the most of the inherent soundproofing qualities of your basement by installing a projector or a large LCD screen and a surround sound system. Add a few loungers and sofas and kick back and enjoy your favourite movies or tournaments in the comfort of your own home. For hardcore gaming buffs, this is the best place to have your X-box so that you can make the most of your gaming experience. This application also helps one make the most of the lack of natural daylight in the basement.
Recreation room: An ideal place to create the perfect recreational domain. Placing a pool table or a cards table or any other game apparatus will provide a great area for spending time with one’s friends. Adding a little mini bar or a small pantry slab to the space makes it easy to keep the gathering supplied with drinks and snacks without having to constantly run to your kitchen.
Use wood and stone to give an inviting feel to your basement. It is not necessary to use slabs of stone or planks of wood. Instead, veneers, laminates and tiles can be used to provide the same ambience.
In case of a small basement, add large mirrors to give the illusion of a bigger space.
Scale your furniture according to the size of your basement.
Use concealed and cove lighting to give the feel of natural daylight.
Add a fireplace to give a cosy feeling to your basement.
A basement can be a multi-purpose and flexible space and can serve various purposes depending on the requirement.
The basement is an ideal venue for a party as there is complete privacy and the neighbours are not disturbed even if you have loud music playing. This gives the licence to continue the party till as late as one wants. This space is also flexible as seating may be added or removed depending on the requirements of the gathering. A bar can also be installed which adds to the atmosphere of the party.
I totally agree with you that before carrying out any kind of conversion or renovation of basements, certain key factors need to be considered like its base,rooms,washrooms,gyming area,porch,garden,Lighting,Water proofing,Home theater,kitchen area,guest area,etc..
In older houses it was common practice to bring the foundation perimeter drains, sometimes even roof downspouts, inward to the sump pit, which either drained by gravity or pump to a municipal storm sewer catch basin.