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Tips to remake basement into a living space

Nowadays basement renovation is not a big problem. If decades ago cellar was associated with food or unnecessary stuff storage or a place for household needs, today it is a place for gym, home cinema, playroom or just another cozy living room. In this article we want to consider major type of works needed for such dramatically renovation.

First of all it is required to remove moisture from basement premises. Above all, it is necessary to find the cause of dampness. Depending on whether it has appeared due to the lack of horizontal isolation (floors and supports) or due to a damaged damp proofing, it will be necessary to perform different actions.

If horizontal floor insulation is absent it is important to eliminate a major mistake. Sometimes it is simple enough to correct the absence of any floor layers – you can just smooth the surface through a thin layer of concrete. It is important to isolate the sealed joints between the foundation and backup abutment. In older houses, where the foundations are made of brick, stone or concrete, you may encounter a lack of base isolation. There are several ways to remove the moisture in this case.

Traditional method is similar to foundation level increasing. It is based on walls undermining in small sections of the foundation, inserting insulation boards or waterproofing film and pouring them with concrete. Modern method consists of drilling a few holes in the wall, drying with the use of special generators, as well as the introduction of a hydrophobic substance that penetrates the wall and acts as a plug. Pre-drying of walls is not always necessary. The traditional way is more time consuming, but cheaper. In any case, if you cannot determine the cause of moisture penetration, you need to appeal to those people who have experience in this field.

It is also required to install heat insulation for proper cellar renovation. Basement walls in older homes often do not have effective thermal insulation causing additional heating costs. If you plan to use the basement as a living space for a long time, it is better to install insulation that will subsequently reduce your expenses. There are two possible ways. Wall insulation from the outside will be the best solution, as it eliminates the formation of thermal bridges. But it will require at least a partial excavation of the basement walls. It is better to use extruded polystyrene or plastic foam with thickness of 10-15 cm as insulation boards. In addition, this layer must be combined with walls insulation on the ground floor. Insulation of walls junction is also very important.

Isolation of the inner side of walls will be less effective. Such an approach is justified in homes with deep and dry cellars, where the walls do not require waterproofing repair. It consists in equipping the interior walls with two layers of expanded polystyrene or mineral wool with total thickness of 8-10 cm. Vapor barrier is still required for mineral wool insulation. It should be noted that it is necessary to isolate carefully the jambs of windows. It is very important is to eliminate thermal bridges, which can be formed in the ceiling. To do this, insulation of the ground floor should be carried out.

We hope that these recommendations will be useful for your cellar renovation.