How to Do Basement Development

Basement redevelopment is one of the most exciting aspects of home renovation. In fact, you can easily turn your cold, cluttered basement level into one of the most comfortable rooms in your home. Redesigning this space can cost less than other renovations, too. So, instead of putting off your basement renovation, consider the steps below to create the space of your dreams.

Planning for Your Basement Development

One of the most important steps in basement development is the planning phase. You need to take some time to decide what you want from the space. As a result, you will end up with a part of your house in which you really want to spend time.

Below are some key tips for planning your layout:

  • An area with the best natural light is most suited for socializing and drawing people in
  • Only place bedrooms in your basement where you have one or more windows for emergency egress
  • To reduce glare and for a more theatrical experience, place your television zone in a darker area of the basement
  • Place a beverage bar or snack storage in an area you can reach without having to pass in front of the TV

Inspecting the Space and Fixing Problems

Before starting your development, inspect the existing space and fix issues. Tips for this part of the project include:

  • Tape plastic sheeting to the walls and floors, then leaving this in place for a few weeks. If you find condensation under the plastic, you need to seal your basement. If moisture forms on top of the sheeting, you need a basement dehumidifier.
  • Look for rot and insect damage in your floor joists, header joists, rim joists, sill plate and wood-framed windows. Use an awl for this probing.
  • Look for signs of sagging floor joists. To do this, climb a ladder until you are at eye level with the bottom of the joists. By viewing across them, check for signs of misalignment.
  • Have a contactor check your hot water heater and other fuel-burning equipment for leaks or other issues. Also, have an HVAC professional check the ventilation system for issues that could lead to below-grade CO2 buildup.

Drawing Up Your Plans

Drawing Up Your Plans

There are many things you need to consider when drawing up your basement development plans. These considerations include:


Your local code may call for 7 to 7.5 feet of head clearance. This means you have to dig out the floor to lower it if you do not have this much standing room. Otherwise, your contractor may be able to move pipes or ducts to add ceiling height.

Two Sump Pumps

It seems that what can go wrong in an emergency will indeed occur. This is why you need to have a main pump with a battery backup in case of power outage. Then, you also need a second pump in case the first one stops working.


Some waterproofing you can handle on your own to save money. Some waterproofing steps you can take include:

  • Installation of gutter diverters to direct water 10 feet or more from your foundation
  • Filling broader cracks with expanding hydraulic cement
  • Sloping soil away from the foundation
  • Sealing small gaps or cracks around pipes with concrete patching compound

Insulating Your Pipes

Before adding walls or boxing in piping, place foam insulation around your hot water pipes. This keeps heat from escaping. Do the same for cold water pipes to prevent accumulation and dripping of condensation that can damage the ceiling or walls.

Providing Space for Mechanical Repair

If you are moving your mechanical equipment or boxing it in to hide it from view, leave enough space for your technicians to walk around the equipment. According to the pros of, the space for a human being to comfortably maneuver around the equipment is essential for proper maintenance.

Hiring an Experienced Contractor

Hiring a contractor is one of the best decisions you can make when developing your basement. This professional will handle many aspects of your project and increase the value of your home, in the process.

Things a contractor handles include:

  • Flooring
  • Wall construction
  • Ceiling finishing
  • Insulation
  • Finding subcontractors as needed

A good general contractor can find other pros to handle electricity, waterproofing, plumbing and other aspects of your basement renovation.