Can Basement ever be liveable space??

netshoundAugust 3, 2006

Just need to know if this is just a pipe dream or could it actually be a reality with some money invested. Or...save my money for something that is a sure thing?? My basement is just that, a basement. Not finished, concrete floor, concrete walls, basic cellar windows. My house is very small...900 sq. ft. and adding liveable space in the basement would be great. Here's the issues...It gets wet when it rains VERY hard, wet when there is a thaw most every spring, it smells musty, like a basement. Could it ever be made into REAL living space with real walls and a real floor and ceiling, and no musty smell?? Or because it gets wet now, no matter what I do there is always a chance for flooding in the future? I see some of the pics of basement "rooms" and to me..I would'nt consider them basements. They are beautiful. Mine is a total basement. Just what a basement was meant to be when the house was built.

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western_pa_luann

I wouldn't do anything unless the basement is dry. Since yours is wet, you need to address that first.

Our dry (concrete floor, cinderblock walls) basement got drywalled and made into an office, a large bathroom and a laundry/storage area. We went with ceramic floors, and we put in plenty of lighting. We don't regret the investment....

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 9:14AM
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ontario_diyguy

Hi netshound,

A basement can definitely be made into a nice living space. My basement is completely finished except for one area which I use for a workshop.
However, the way you describe your basement, wet after a heavy rain, wet after a thaw, is where you would have to start. That problem has to be rectified or you would be wasting your money. But...the only effective way of stopping basement leaks is to have a contractor dig all the way down to the footings on the outside and waterproof the walls. This may only be in certaian spots so the idea is to see where the water is coming in and concentrate there. Also there should be a weeping tile around the perimeter of the house at the footing level which they should check to make sure that it is not clogged. If you're not sure what a weeping tile is, it's a pipe with perforated holes in it that collects the ground water and funnels it away from the house. Unfortunately, this can be quite an expensive job.

Assuming you do this, the basement should have no more water problems and you can start to plan how you want the basement to look like.

You can put anything down there...a rec room, bar, washroom, extra bedrooms.

Now, to get started finishing, you would have to put up 2 x 4 stud walls around the perimeter, put batt isulation between the studs, a plastic sheet vapour barrier over the studs and then you would be ready for drywall or as you call it in the States, sheetrock. Before the sheetrock though, you would have to decide where you wanted power outlets, wall switches etc. and have them and the wiring installed. Also any plumbing you had in mind. Getting to the concrete floor, a lot of moisture seeps up through the floor but if you seal it, you can put anything down....again, with the installation of a vapour barrier...carpet, laminate...whatever.

If you are depending on contractors, to do the inside work, it can be quite expensive but if you know some good handymen in your araea the cost can be cut down quite a bit or better still, if you are are a Home Depot DIY type of person, then you can control your own budget with only the cost of materials and a little elbow grease as they say. As western pa luann says, you wont regret the investment as you have just doubled your living area to 1800 square feet. Another thing is after this hot summer we've had, a finished basement is always a nice cool retreat regardless of how hot it is outside.

Don't want to go on and on, but if you have any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail throgh Garden Web.

Regards,

Ontario DIY guy

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 7:10PM
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netshound

Is there any other way of water=proofing the basement without digging around the house?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 8:40PM
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western_pa_luann

If you don't want the water to come into the house, you have to stop it outside....
You might need the perimeter dug, or it might be as easy as regrading the yard and keeping the gutters cleared and the downspouts properly directed.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 10:54PM
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thuesen

Ok...how wet does your basement get during these times? Trickles? Rivers? Floods?

My house has a basement that is very large and I'm wanting to put in a few rooms. It used to get trickles when it would rain hard or thaw quickly. For the past two summers, I have made it a point to regrade the landscape, add plants, and fix/clean the gutters. After adding dirt to the foundation last summer, I have had no problems except for the area near a problem sidewalk. Ripped up the sidewalk and added dirt...voila. No water. So, this week I have drylocked the walls and will wait and see through the winter and next spring. If I don't have the problem any more, I will finish it.

Just some ideas...but if you have major water coming in and your house is graded well, you're going to have to take more drastic measures.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 11:43PM
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