Finishing a basement presents different challenges than finishing rooms above ground. Even in the driest basements, moisture and mold must be fought. Frequently, plumbing and ventilation in the ceiling must remain accessible.
What if your basement were to flood? Will you risk destroying a significant portion of the finishing work, or are there options that can withstand a flood?
Basement Flooring Options
Every flooring material has advantages and disadvantages. However, some basement finishing projects stand out as clear winners.
• Concrete – Because concrete basement floors tend to be cold, many homeowners avoid installing them. With the advent of stamps, dyes, paints, and stencils that can replicate the appearance of virtually any flooring, more homeowners are opting for concrete. Because concrete is exceptionally durable. It is possible to add radiant heat and nonslip sealants to a new concrete floor.
• Linoleum – Linoleum suffers from the same heat issue as concrete and is not as durable. They frequently stain and are difficult to repair. However, linoleum offers the greatest number of design options for the price.
• Ceramic Tile – Ceramic tile is nearly as durable and chilly as concrete. It is resistant to water and moisture but can be expensive and difficult to maintain due to grout discoloration.
• Engineered Wood – Engineered wood is a warmer, easier-to-install, but less water-resistant option. This option is typically pre-finished and can be installed in one day. It expands and contracts in response to changes in temperature but will warp if left in water.
• Cork – Cork is also warm, but it is extremely eco-friendly because it is harvested from the bark of cork trees. They are not required to be cut down. Ensure that you’re purchasing the appropriate type of cork for basements. Cork is more resilient than hardwood and relatively simple to install.
• Carpet – Although carpet will not survive a flood, it is commonly used in basements due to its warmth. Although the cost of carpeting varies, it is not the most expensive thing available.
Basement Wall Alternatives
Similar to basement flooring, basement walls are challenging due to moisture and flooding events.
However, nothing will make your basement cozier or more functional than installing interior walls to create more usable space and conceal the house’s mechanical systems, such as the HVAC and water heaters. Ensure that you or your contractor are aware of the need for a sufficient air supply for these large appliances.
• Drywall – Drywall remains the most popular basement finishing material due to its ease of installation and repair. Drywall is porous and prone to mold growth; however, it is destroyed by flooding. Some homeowners install drywall on the upper portion of their walls and a more waterproof material on the lower portion.
• Stucco – This finish is advantageous because it can be applied directly to the concrete foundation of your basement walls, without the need for an additional support structure, as with drywall. However, stucco is difficult to paint and will crack if the foundation shifts.
• Prefabricated systems – PVC framing, prefinished fiberglass panels and trim, and simultaneous installation and design. These panels are simple to remove for maintenance, but they are typically expensive. If your basement is shorter than an average room, they will also not fit.
• Paneling – Have no fear! Wood paneling has improved since the 1960s. It is thicker and more straightforward to install. You are not required to install studs. And it is paintable.
Basement Ceiling Options
You may have heard that you should never finish your basement ceiling because plumbing and electrical work can be difficult to access if you do.
Temporary options can be problematic because basement ceilings are typically lower than those of upper floors.
• Drywall – Working overhead and framing in ductwork make this a challenging task for any drywaller. The cost will increase accordingly.
• Drop Ceilings – If your basement has high ceilings, a drop ceiling solves the access problem. They can be more attractive than you imagine and more insulating than any other ceiling system on the market.
• Surface Mount Systems – Those with low ceilings may be able to use a grid system that takes up only about an inch of space, as opposed to drop ceilings that require 8 inches. These systems use tiles-appearing PVC panels that allow access to plumbing ductwork.
Basement Completion Takeaway
To finish the walls, floor, and ceiling of your basement, there are a variety of budget-friendly and aesthetically pleasing options. If you reside in Chisago City and have any questions, please call us! We are always willing to assist.