Finishing an underutilized basement makes financial sense in certain situations, and may add to your home’s resale value. “For a family who has outgrown their current space and wants to avoid buying a more expensive, larger home, finishing the basement can be worthwhile,” says Alan Stewart, broker-manager with Royal LePage Sussex in North Vancouver. “Yet, there are considerations to ensure your project will be worth the time, effort and expense.
Stewart offers these guidelines to determine if your basement is a good candidate for a renovation and will deliver an adequate return on your investment:
- Is there enough headroom? A finished floor-to-ceiling height of at least 7.5 feet is required. Include in your calculation 2.5 inches for flooring and ceiling finishing materials. If you own an older home with insufficient floor-to-ceiling space, you may need to consider additional costs to lower and underpin the foundation to create sufficient headroom.
- Is your basement wet? You’ll want to address any moisture problems before you begin. In older homes, moisture issues can be severe. In some cases, you’ll need to waterproof the foundation from the outside. Waterproofing can add substantially to the cost as excavation, waterproofing, weeping tile and backfill may be required.
- Are your windows adequate? The outside bottom edges of all basement windows should be at least six inches above the soil. Consider the size and condition of the windows. Are any large enough for a fire escape? Are they operable, damage-free, airtight and energy-efficient? Be sure to calculate the cost of any needed window upgrades when estimating your costs.
Finished basements provide a myriad of possibilities including guest rooms, nanny suites, playrooms and home theatres. Whether you’re looking to increase the value of your home, or enhance your living space, do your research to ensure a successful project.
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