Basements are very unique spaces in a house. In the past they served strictly functional purposes, their below-ground temperatures allowing for safer storage of perishables. Now that same underground location lets them serve as both finished or unfinished spaces, as good for laundry and a workshop as they are for man caves or family movie dens.
But owning a home with a basement comes with certain responsibilities; even with cutting-edge building techniques and perfect construction, these spaces require a certain level of care and attention. But it’s always worth it!
Basement Structure and Common Issues
Because they sit underground, basements face a number of structural and engineering challenges compared to fully aboveground homes.
Chief among these is water intrusion, particularly as it relates to hydrostatic pressure. Water, like air, will always enter any opening that it finds. Basements are always built with drainage systems that prevent the surrounding soil from oversaturation, but if these systems fail, the pressure builds to the point where walls will buckle and water will creep into the walls. Have these drainage systems checked regularly to prevent structural damage and hazardous mold.
Even if your basement is proofed properly, excessive humidity can still be a problem. Thankfully there are easy things you can do to lower humidity in your basement. A dehumidifier obviously helps, and basic maintenance like gutter cleaning and fixing leaky faucets can prevent excess humidity.
Finishing a Basement
Finishing a basement can add an enormous amount of usable space to your home! You’ll likely want to hire a seasoned professional for the task, but there are some things you should still know and/or request from them:
- Insulate your pipes. Before they get covered up by drywall or a ceiling, you may as well insulate your pipes. This can save you energy costs and keep your water hotter longer.
- Don’t use standard drywall. Regular drywall can’t hold up below grade; choose a variety with mold resistance.
- Add lighting. Most basements have very little natural light, and you may want to wire up some in-ceiling or in-wall fixtures to remedy that.
- Reinforce your sump pump. Consider adding a second pump or backup battery to your existing one. Water in your basement is always bad, but it’s really bad with people and furniture down there.
Are you looking for a luxurious custom home in the Triangle or outlying areas? Let Tingen Construction build your dream home! With decades of experience and deep knowledge of the Triangle market and landscape, we’re uniquely equipped to build your home. Contact us today to learn more!