Remodeling your basement can convert an unused floor into a useful and fun enlargement of your home's total living space. You may wish to divide the basement into several rooms, each devoted to set purposes, or you might prefer a basement "great room" for informal entertaining and family relaxation. Whatever your intentions, design your remodeling plans to fit the physical constraints of the existing basement as well as your specific intentions for the final product.
When remodeling the basement, it's important to remain organized throughout the project. Dedicate a large binder to keep all pertinent information in. As you consult with different contractors and compare their plans and bids, clear and organized records will help you to make appropriate decisions. When the remodel is finished, retain the binder to keep warranties in for any new appliances installed in the basement. Also keep paint chips or at least the names of all paints used. Several years down the line, when a touch-up is required, you'll know just where to look for the right shade of paint. In addition to the binder, organize a work schedule with the contractor before any remodeling work begins. Clear up any questions, such as who is responsible for removing and replacing furniture, what time work begins each day, and other issues that may affect the remodeling process.
It's necessary to use floor plans to communicate clearly and precisely with all the contractors bidding on your project. If you're working with an architect, provide a list or any necessary diagrams to express all of your expectations and needs for the finished basement. The architect or architecture firm will then provide you with the floor plans. If you aren't working with an architect, you can either learn to use computer-aided design software or use simple graph paper and pencils. Also invest in a good eraser, drafting tape, a T-square, an adjustable triangle and an architect's ruler. Draw floor plans at a scale of 1/4 inch to 1 foot. Naturally, your floor plans will need to comply with all relevant building codes in order for a contractor to work with them. Before presenting the plans to all of your bidding contractors, consult with a professional to create code-compliant, finished floor plans. Then, when you present the same plans to each contractor, you'll be comparing "apples to apples."
There are a number of photo and text resources where you can seek inspiration for your basement's final look. Peruse home-oriented sites, like BobVila.com, where videos demonstrate basement remodel techniques and tricks. For tips on a healthy and safe remodeling job, consult the EPA's online resource for information on safe basement remodels. To brainstorm design ideas, check out basement remodeling contractors' websites. Many post their portfolios, showcasing their best work.
- Photo Credit cellar steps image by green308 from Fotolia.com
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