Unfinished basement ideas

qdognjFebruary 10, 2007

The town where we live recently instituted a new ordinance whereas if you plan to finish your basement, you need to have an exterior egress..Needless to say,i don't have any accessible area to do such..Utilities come in on one side, the other side is all paved driveway, with no access to even cut into basement..The rear is all paver patio,with the exception of a small area of landscaping and paver walk..

I had a firm come out who retrofit a precast stairwell and bilco door in.The cost is 4600 bucks..The samll area where it could go would mean the landscaping.paver walk, and likely my driveway would be ruined(they need to drive a flatbed with crane to place precast concrete into yard)

Anyhow, any ideas how to make an unfinished basement functional and decent looking without "finishing" it?

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Sure. Paint & lighting can do wonders to make it look cool and usable (kind of like an internet start-up or something).

Here's what my friend did (and it looks great): Painted the ceiling joists, etc. white. Add some lighting. Painted the walls two different colors, one wall was blue and the others were terra cotta. The single dark blue wall had the effect of highlighting/brightening up the the other walls. (If you just paint white or off-white, it will look washed out, so don't do that). Cleaned the concrete floor with TSP solution, and then painted with a light gloss floor paint. (She used peach, which sounds gross but actually looks good. Small area rugs as needed.

You could even add some effects, like facing one of the walls with brick.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 11:55AM
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"Finished" can mean anything. Around here a basement isn't finished until it has a ceiling.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 9:48AM
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It could be the code relates to what the town describes as finished sq.ft., rather than a prohibition on finishing a basement without egress. In our town, you are allowed to finish basements to code, but without certain ceiling heights/egress the town will refer to it as storage space regardless of what you do with the space.

I would ask for clarification.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 8:27AM
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no, it is necessary to have a 2nd egress to finish your basement, until recently that code pertained only to finished basements with a bedroom
My complaint is it is ok to workout/store stuff/play pool or ping pong in an unfinished basement, but to to the same in a basment you want to finish,you need to spend almost 5k to do so..what a ripoff

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 10:11PM
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In a previous house, we wanted to use our basement for hobbies & games, but the budget couldn't cover the cost to finish it (plus increased prop. taxes) *and* the college fund. Dh spray painted the ceiling flat black, which made all of the pipes pretty much seem to disappear. Then he hung contemporary black ceiling fans w/ lights. He also added a couple of vents to the existing HVAC system, after talking to the original installer. The floor was already painted, so we just added a few inexpensive & colorful area rugs. The framed walls were insulated & covered in plywood/OSB, then painted, and the kids hung their movie posters. The concrete walls were just painted white with some large blocks of color. We put an old leather sofa and loveseat down there, along with some inexpensive end tables, two desks, chairs, pool table, air hockey, TV, etc. Flying air hockey pucks didn't hurt the walls and on rainy days our kids played frisbee with their dog. Because the space didn't have a finished ceiling or floor, and the walls were not sheetrocked, it didn't count as finished space. When we moved, we found that neighbors who had finished their basements did not get back any of their costs, since buyers often wanted storage space in the basement instead of a second family room.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 10:58AM
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