Designing Livable Basements
What would you do with an extra floor of living space in your home? Create a fitness area or home theater for your family? Go ahead and dream a little. “Found space” in your next home can easily be obtained by having your basement made from a pre-cast insulated foundation system.
“Basements can be extremely versatile rooms in the home when they’re built with both functional and decorative products,” says Matt Weber, a professional remodeler and editor of Extreme How-To magazine. “It’s important to start by constructing a warm, dry basement that allows in natural light so you don’t feel like you’re in a dungeon.”
To begin the process, Weber recommends homeowners research steel-reinforced concrete Xi wall panels. Backed with 2-1/2-inches of DOW Styrofoam insulation, this system from Superior Walls creates a permanent barrier against sidewall water penetration, making the basement damp-proof.
“When constructing your basement, you can request pre-cut areas in the foundation system for windows,” says Weber. “That way, whether you’re working in a home office or shooting pool with friends, you can crank out acrylic block awning or hopper windows to allow in lots of light and fresh air. And, if the window opens out to an unsightly area, like a window well, the acrylic block ‘hides’ that area while adding decorative appeal to the interior of the basement.”
Available in a wide selection of sizes and styles, acrylic block windows from Hy-Lite, a U.S. Block Windows Company, also provide energy efficiency features. This way, whether your basement is used as a study zone for children or a family game room, everyone is comfortable year round.
“Extra living space allows everyone to relax more at home,” says Weber. “You can designate the space as a hobby room, wine cellar, or an expansive wood-shop. Just remember to decorate around the windows and accent the basement ceiling to make the room feel like a continuation of your home.”
For fast and easy molding projects, Weber recommends adding durable Fypon urethane mill-work. Lightweight miter less molding systems require simple straight cuts and eliminate mitering hassles. Two-piece ceiling medallions can snap into place around ceiling fans. The pieces all resist insects, warping and moisture while providing instant designer appeal to the basement.
“Having basement space that’s comfortable and functional makes so much sense for homeowners,” says Weber. “By making the right decisions at the time of construction to use pre-cast insulated foundation systems and other reliable products, homeowners are making a long-term investment in their family’s happiness and in the resale value of their house.”