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You may be looking to install a home theater or add a guest room. You may simply want or need more living space. Whatever the vision, your unfinished basement holds potential. This article explores the steps you need to take to know how to finish a basement so that you can enjoy your extra space. Finishing a basement follows a process for the best and most efficient outcome. Here are the steps required to construct and complete your space.

How to Make a Comfortable, Livable Space in Your Unfinished Basement

Prep The Basement

If you are serious about a basement remodel, you first need to clean it out. Moving boxes from one unfinished room to the next will not cut it. The fastest way to finish a basement is to complete it all at once, not piecemeal, and this requires a clear, empty space. Organize and clean out your area. You can store items in your unfinished storage room, but leave space around the electrical box and water meter. If you have a large number of things, you can:

  • Store it in other rooms in the house or the garage
  • Rent a storage unit or portable POD
  • Consider donating unused or unwanted items to a local donation center

Next, check your basement space for any water damage. Make sure there is no moisture build-up on the floor. Call in a plumbing professional to address any water damage or leaks and insulate water pipes. If you suspect rot or insect damage, sagging floor joists, or improper ventilation, call in a contractor or handyman to correct those issues before beginning. If your home is at risk for radon, install a radon pump at this time.

Start with the Basics: Design

Once you have prepped your basement area, you can begin the design process. There are many different floor plans to consider. Plan the location and height of walls and ceilings. You have three options for a basement ceiling design: you can use a drop ceiling, drywall it, or leave it open for an industrial look. Whatever option you choose, make sure that it meets permit requirements for height.

Do I need a permit to finish my basement?

A permit is essential when finishing your basement. It will save you time, money, and hassle down the road. You will need your finished basement on record if you sell your home or if something happens and you need to document the work you completed. Visit your local government website, often under the “Building Department,” to obtain a permit. (But if you hire a general contractor, they will handle the permit process for you.)

Start with the Basics: Installation

Once you have completed your design plans, you can install insulation and begin framing. Insulation should be installed according to instructions and completely cover all exterior walls. Framing will require 2x4s on both the top and bottom, known as the top plates and bottom plates. Then, cut and install your studs.

After completing insulation and framing, the next step is to install utilities that will run inside the walls, including electrical wires, plumbing, and air ductwork. We recommend hiring a professional for this portion of your basement project. This work is strictly regulated for safety and should not be done without a certified professional.

After installing framing, insulation, and utilities, it is time to mount the drywall. Measure and cut the drywall to end on the studs, and remove sections where utilities need to be exposed, such as lights and outlets. Then hang the drywall using drywall screws. After the drywall is mounted, it is time to tape the seams and mud the seams and screw heads. If you want your finished basement walls to be textured, apply drywall mud for texturing. Texturing usually requires multiple steps, where you apply the mud, let dry, sand, and then repeat the process.

Customize the Space

Now that you have completed the basics, it is time to customize your space! Make sure to clean up the area, vacuum, and wipe down all of the dust from drywalling. The next step is priming and painting. Apply a layer of primer before painting. After you choose your colors for your trim, doors, walls, and the basement ceiling, go for it. It is easiest to paint the trim and doors before hanging them. You can use a brush or roller or rent or purchase an interior paint sprayer.

The basement flooring is next. Regardless of the flooring you choose to install, you most likely have concrete floors and will need to install a subfloor to make your basement floor more comfortable, even, water-resistant, and warm. Once your subfloor is set, you can install the flooring. Consider what the space will be used for when choosing a flooring type. Carpet and laminate are the most popular choices for basement floors.

Once the floors are in, you can hang the baseboards, hang the doors, and install your lights, outlet covers, and other miscellaneous items. You have a finished basement!

Choose Your Approach: Is it cheaper to finish a basement by yourself?

As explored above, there are many different steps to a finished basement. Some homeowners choose to complete it all on their own. Others choose a hybrid approach and hire out some work while completing other tasks independently. Many homeowners hire a general contractor or basement finishing company to finish their basement. 

Those who choose to complete it on their own save money in labor. While this is the cheaper option, it takes much longer to finish and will likely be a lower quality job than hiring professionals.

When you hire a company to finish your basement, you get a cost estimate upfront and won’t be surprised by the added costs throughout a DIY project. You are saved a lot of headache and hassle as the permit process, subcontractor hiring, labor, installation, and more are all included. When delays and problems crop up, you do not have to waste time, money, and stress because your contractor handles it for you.

Choose the Talented Pros of Aspire Construction for Basement Finishing in Utah

If you are considering hiring help to finish your basement, contact Aspire Construction to request a free quote for your project. We have been in the business of basement finishing for over 40 years and have the experience and honesty necessary to finish your project on time and within budget. From home theaters, gyms, and apartments to walk-out basements and family rooms, we have the knowledge necessary to bring your basement dreams to life. Contact us today!