Any property that boasts an unused basement undoubtedly has untapped potential and if the owners do decide to take the plunge and convert it, it can add significant value onto the building.
Still, before you bring the builders in, there are several issues you should consider. In fact, as is the case with any remodelling project, there are countless factors you need to think about. However, for the purposes of this guest contribution, we’ve narrowed down the list into three major sections that you need to focus on.
The biggest problem with any basement conversion is damp. With this area of the building below ground level, water has the habit of seeping in through the walls and up through the floor. Most of the time, when the basement is unused, this is not a problem as the room is not habitable.
However, as soon as you start thinking about B2R conversions a problem evolves. It’s simply not hygienic or at all feasible to have a habitable room that has moisture leaking in from all angles and anybody that has had the unfortunate experience of living in a damp property will berate the smell, mould and all of the other nasty’s that are associated with it. Therefore, you need a system to prevent this damp from attacking your new space. Most people will choose some form of tanking, with this being a bonded waterproof render that is applied to the inner wall and floor. This solution happens to prevent water entering the room although there are other systems, with an integral protection method being the other one that is used. This involves the waterproofing system being embedded in the structural elements themselves and subsequently, this is generally only used for new-build properties.
Some basements won’t have any natural light entering the room, while others will have light wells that draw a little in. Those that fall into the latter category will be much easier to work with, with natural light making a massive difference to most basements.
However, if your basement does not have a light well, it might be time to get creative. Solutions have been developed which use reflective technology to bounce natural light from the roof all the way to the basement using special mirrors. Suffice to say, the science behind such products is complicated, but the effect can be impressive and solve those desperate lighting issues.
If you are looking to install sanitary facilities into your basement, you might have a problem. Most basements happen to fall below the sewer line, meaning that it is difficult for any waste water to be removed from the facilities.
Unsurprisingly, recent technology has aided such problems and you can now acquire specialist pumps which are designed for the above scenario. However, they do come at a cost, meaning that you have to realise that toiletry facilities in your basement aren’t going to be the standard price what you’d pay for any other room in the house.