Build a Risk-Free Finished Basement
Capturing this additional living space correctly and confidently requires a careful approach to the site and foundation.
Synopsis: It’s no surprise that finishing a basement is a popular project. It can add living space to a house at far less cost and complexity than building an addition. At the same time, because of the heightened threat from water and moisture, a basement remodel can create problems if it’s not done correctly. With that in mind, architect Steve Baczek shares his approach to finishing basements, which begins with an assessment of the risk from water and moisture. Drawings demonstrate typical strategies for detailing basements with low, medium, and high levels of risk, and a sidebar discusses code considerations. Through a drawing of the exterior of a house and its site, Baczek shows the steps to take for managing water before even beginning work on the basement.
Finishing a basement can create extra living space with far less cost and complexity than an addition that expands the home’s footprint. Perhaps for that reason alone, finishing a basement is a popular project for many homeowners. But a well-designed basement remodel is much more than an assembly of studs and drywall thrown up over a foundation wall, then trimmed and painted. Understanding and managing the risk of moisture and bulk water are imperative to developing a successful basement design, as is getting the insulation and air-sealing details right.
By assessing your site and basement accurately, and detailing your foundation floor and walls appropriately, not only can you improve the comfort, health, and efficiency of your home, but you can tackle the fit and finish of your basement with complete confidence in its durability and longevity.
Economics of performance
As with all construction projects, risk and performance in a basement remodel exist on a sliding rule of cost. Minimizing risk, providing durability, and ensuring proper performance come with a…