Chase Custom Home


Basement Remodeling is the Most Popular Home Project for New Space and Added Value


DENVER, CO – When it comes to home remodeling projects, the basement has risen to America’s Number 1 target. And it makes perfect sense: while a remodeled kitchen or family room adds new flair to any home, most basement remodeling projects are aimed at increasing the amount of livable space. With more square footage in use for living, and with options to add amenities lacking in the rest of the structure, a new, more inviting basement transforms the lifestyle choices for the entire house.

Basement remodeling is nothing new, of course. People have been upgrading the space to give their homes more options for decades. However, the kinds of transformations desired for the basement have taken on a whole new aura.

Most of this is due to new- and custom-home building over the last 15 years or so, as the basement, or “lower level,” has become more than a storage place and a space for a work bench and home utility center. Basements in new construction have become quite important, and built into the planning with the first specifications to the architect. Wet bars, home theaters, home offices, game rooms, play rooms, extra bedroom suites, wine cellars, and just elegant family living spaces have become the norm in new homes.

Another trend having an impact on the popularity of basement remodeling is the desire for smaller homes. With utility costs rising, and the McMansion fad wearing thin, many people are opting for smaller “footprints” in their housing choices, and the remodeled basement adds valuable living space without making the home larger.

We at Chase Custom Homes build new homes for our Colorado clients, but we are also keen observers of what’s happening in the entire housing market. If it just isn’t time to build your dream home, you might as well build your dream basement, and here are a few of our observations of what to look for in Denver basement remodeling.

Just about any basement, no matter how small, is a candidate for creating an exciting living space. Even if it’s just one small room aside from the space where the furnace and water heater are located, it can make an excellent den, office or wine cellar. Before you build, or hire a contractor to help you (which we recommend), consider these points:

·    If the basement and house are more than 20 years old, they probably have smaller windows that are not up to modern codes. If you leave the space alone, you’re okay, “grandfathered in,” as they say. But if you’re pulling a building permit, be prepared to have to dig out new window wells, and this may require cutting through a few square feet of concrete in the foundation and walls. These new windows will not only let in more light, but they must act as secondary escape routes in case the stairs are blocked in an emergency.

·    Most older basements have lower ceilings than the rest of the house, and of course modern basements, and that’s okay. It is possible to break-up and remove the concrete flooring and dig the basement deeper, however this can be an expensive proposition and many people opt to work with the existing space.

·    Moisture buildup, which can cause molds, is common in many basements, which is how they got the reputation for feeling “damp.” Before you transform the space it is wise to have your property’s drainage checked, and even altered in the case of seepage, to protect your investment. This may include changing the gutters and downspouts on the home’s roof to better evacuate rain water, and may also involve regarding around the home to ensure that rain water and melting snow doesn’t collect water against basement walls.

·    Plumbing in a basement – and who doesn’t want a wet bar and a bathroom down there – is a different matter than plumbing above grade. All drains and below-level drainage will have to be checked, and sometimes placing plumbing in the basement will require the installation of a sump pump to aid in drainage. Some unfinished basements in homes include some plumbing, in anticipation of later finishing, but if the house is more than 15 years old these “pre-plumbed” conveniences may not be up to code and will have to be replaced.

·    If you’re lucky enough to live on a slope that opens one wall of the basement to the outdoors, then creating an inviting egress to the yard and the light is always inviting. Adding a patio off of the basement just increases the space and the enjoyment.

Now for the fun part. Here’s some of things people are doing in their basement remodeling projects:

·    Wine cellars are perfect for basements, as the naturally-cool-in-the-summer and warn in the winter space makes for ideal conditions. These can range in size from nothing more than a cupboard to a full-fledged walk-in with racks and a cooler.

·    Home theaters, now almost always based on HD TVs, are great in basement spaces because the area is already quite dark, and the typical concrete walls are good insulation and acoustically sound.

·    Game rooms are very popular, with the addition of pool and ping-pong tables, foosball, dart boards, etc. Some basements are compromised by pillars holding up the house, but these can often be dealt with to create a space open enough for games.

·    Teen hang-outs are a favorite of any homeowner with children of the age where they need a space to hang out with friends – away from the parents’ intrusion.

·    Home offices are great in basements because it is away from the hustle and bustle of the home at large. Plus burning the mid-night oil down there won’t keep the rest of the house awake.

·    The basement is a great space for creating a home gym or work-out area, where you can place various work-out machines without taking up valuable upstairs space. With that basement television, you can also catch on the news or entertainment while staying healthy.

·    Stone and tile make for wonderful basement surfaces for both the floors and the walls. Since basements are prone to moisture build-up, stone and tile won’t be breeding grounds for mold and mildew like carpets, and they are very easy to clean and maintain. Some people are adding in heated flooring, with heating elements under the tile or stone, which will keep them nice and cozy even in the foulest weather.

Well, there you have it: ideas for a great basement that will not only become a popular space addition to your house without the need for adding on, but also a very valuable asset that can only enhance the re-sale value of your home.

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