I'm back to discuss some more of the possibilities of creating more livable space in your home. Amongst the stock options, finishing basements & attics. These are the remodeling choices you may want to explore before going for the more costly remodeling modification, additions & extensions ,which we will get to soon enough.
Basements are traditionally considered utility areas of the home. Usually a place for the heating system, laundry, gas & water meters. Relocating these facets of your basement are usually limited, and can become very costly. Although if upgrading of these utilities is necessary there should be no hesitation in doing so before planning your basement remodel. It would be a shame if you would have to do it afterwards, and probably cost much more because of the precautions needed to be taken not to damage the new living space. This brings me back to the basics, the Roman aqueducts didn't last as long as they did because of bad planning, but they sure didn't try to hide there plumbing. Now if you intend to try to hide your plumbing , better make sure it's in good shape, and that it will out last the remodel.
Consider what you want, or don't want to look at when you look at a wall or a ceiling. Clean straight lines are always more appealing than a menagerie of soffits. Often plumbing can be re-routed fairly easily. This is not because old time plumbers where jerks, but because of the fact that basements were considered unfinished utility/storage areas , it was just much easier to work on the pipes. Re-piping also gives you a chance to replace and relocate some leaky shut-off valves , or put some extra ones in to isolate future water lines that may be upgraded elsewhere in the home. Be sure to place the valves in accessible spots that are out of view, ergo boiler room ,closets, and access panels, the ones your going to be building around your water or gas meters.
Ok, last little bit on plumbing, if your going to re-pipe make sure the main tributaries including the risers going to the second floor are of at least 3/4 L copper ( thicker stuff), this will increase the volume of water through out the home, e.g. , more water pressure at the fixtures. It would also be to make the house trap less noticeable, but keep in mind that this area needs adequate room if it must be worked on. Alright , now where done with all the plumbing stuff right? What about if you want a bathroom in the basement you say. That's easy, if your waste line is sufficiently below your basement floor. If not be prepared to spend an additional grand or two for the installation of a sump pump & well set up, depending on where you want to locate the new bath.
Ok, now for all you bored with the plumbing aspects of a basement remodel, it is time for me to bore you with some electrical aspects. Upgrading here is essential especially since you haven't closed everything up yet. If your considering upgrading your service do it now, this will give your electrician a chance to inspect your wiring. If you intend to add any extra lines throughout the house do it now it will cost you double afterwards. If you intend on doing it yourself remember to do it by your local municipality code, also you shouldn't bury any junction boxes. Why ? Cause it's the law. And if your house burns down insurance won't pay, and if any one gets hurt you would be responsible. If you know what your doing check your local codes, file your permits & get a fire underwrite to inspect it. If your not sure call an electrician. There not all blood suckers, get some estimates.
So now you want to design a livable basement you say. Ok. Do you have a 2nd means of egress ? Another way out incase a fire blocks the stairs going to the second floor. If not , then you may consider putting in a cellar entrance . depending on what you want this can cost any where from 3 grand and up. It would be wise to include a large enough drain to handle the 100 year flood, and an awning wouldn't hurt either. The stairway should be wide enough to accommodate the moving of furniture . If this proposal becomes too costly for the budget you may want to make an egress window. The window must be no more than 3 ft from the floor. This entails some digging and stepping out of a retaining wall but can be accomplished relatively inexpensively. It also lets some natural lighting into the basement. No one should feel like a C.H.U.D. . Ok , its getting late, now the rest is up to you and yours where the furniture goes, paint color (keep it light), drapes, flooring (something that can be restored if your in a flood or high water table area). Also if you have an indoor oil tank remember it can be moved around fairly easily, when empty any. Make sure you fixed all the termite damage too, so the rest of the house doesn't cave in on your work of art.
Night all, Claude