On Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 12:09 PM, Scott’s Contracting <scottscontracting> wrote:
Scotts Contracting is available for the Building of Your Next Basement Project. Use the following links to contact scotty for a free estimate.
The space above the fireplace is becoming popular for flat-panel TVs. Before mounting a TV above your mantel, however, make sure the wall temperature doesn’t exceed 90 degrees when the fire is lit. The space behind the mounting area should be hollow to accommodate necessary wiring.
Know Building Codes
Basement rooms must be at least 7X7 feet and have a minimum ceiling height of 84 inches over 50 percent of the floor area. Bathrooms, hallways, and task areas can have ceilings that dip as low as 76 inches in some spots. All bedrooms window need to be at least 20 inches wide and 24 inches high, or 5.7 square feet, and no more than 44 inches off the floor. Having a room that matches these dimensions will ensure that people can walk around comfortably and escape in case of an emergency.
Let There Be Light
Renovating a basement to include a kitchen allows you to move entertaining downstairs. This walkout makes use of the natural light available, but installing light-tone and glass-front cabinets is a good trick for brightening a windowless basement, too.
Make an Entrance
Consider your stairway location and how it leads you into the basement space. Ideally the stairs will lead to a family room or a main gathering area. Stair risers should be no more than 8 inches tall, and the treads must be at least 9 inches deep. Although regulations vary from region to region, most require that stairs have guardrails at least 34 inches high and that the guardrails must have intermediate rails or posts or other ornamental fill that will not allow objects 4 inches in diameter or larger to pass.
Bring in the Light
Bringing in natural light is one of the biggest challenges when creating a basement room. Window wells are the most common solution where the window-opening height is below ground level. In case of an emergency, you can climb out the window and up the well. Choose window well locations carefully so you can make them as wide and deep as possible. The wider and deeper the well, the greater the amount of sunlight flowing into the basement.
Have an Escape Route
Check your local building codes to determine if they require egress windows for a basement bedroom. Egress windows must be large enough for a firefighter in full gear to get into a burning house and for occupants to safely escape if the stairway is blocked. If you can’t install egress windows, consider adding hinged outside access doors.
Manage the wide-open spaces of the lower level by breaking it up into separate, smaller areas. Create different zones for the different activities you will do there. Many basements have load-bearing beams throughout the basement. Use these beams to define the different areas.
Whether your lower level is a home theater, dance studio, or just a space to relax, noise can travel up and disrupt other household activities. Keep noise where it belongs by soundproofing the area. Choose drywall that is soundproof. This type of drywall is visually indistinguishable from standard drywall, but it’s engineered to dampen noise.
Make It Interesting
Since most unfinished basements are just a box beneath the home, think of adding architectural elements when remodeling, such as the built-in wall niche and angled ceiling shown here.
Suspended ceilings are great for adding a finished look. They cover ductwork, electrical components, and bare joints from the floor above. But they can lower the ceiling height by about a foot. If you don’t want to lose this height, consider using furring strips to drop the ceiling only enough to hide everything but the ductwork. Then install tongue-and-groove planking or standard drywall to finish the ceiling.
Most basement floors start off as a concrete slab, but they don’t have to stay that way. If your floor is level and dry, considering covering it with ceramic tile, laminate, or vinyl. All are durable choices that are easy to install over concrete. Solid-wood flooring isn’t recommended for basement applications because small fluctuations in moisture levels can cause buckling and splitting, but engineered wood is a suitable alternative.
Don’t Forget Storage
Remodeling your basement means losing some storage space, so make sure you include built-ins wherever possible to accommodate the items you still need to store out of the way. Here, dual built-ins “frame” the bed and have niches in the side to serve as bedside tables.
Heating a basement can be a challenge. Registers in the ceiling push warm air into the room, but that warm air rises to the ceiling. Subfloor panel systems and in-floor radiant heating are good solutions for cold feet. Subfloor panel systems provide good insulation. Radiant-heat systems provide inexpensive, even warmth throughout a room and eliminate the cold spots and drafts created by forced-air systems.
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