Basement Remodeling Basics

nicely remodeled basement
basement with open stairsRemodeling your basement can be a great way to increase your home’s square footage without the expenses and hassles of building on an addition. There are some special situations to consider with a basement remodel, though, and as long as you plan with them in view, you’ll be well on your way to adding the guest suite, game room, home office, or man cave of your dreams!

Safety Concerns

Residential building codes generally require two exits from any bedroom, regardless of its location. Referred to as “egress,” the aim is to provide a safe way of escape for occupants in the case that the primary exit has been blocked during a fire or other emergency. For above-ground rooms, this requirement is typically satisfied by windows. Having a window function as an exit for a basement bedroom is possible but requires large window wells that securely hold back surrounding soil.

basement barSize requirements may vary by location, but general specifications are as follows:

• Minimum opening size: 7 square feet
• Minimum width: 20 inches
• Minimum height: 2 inches
• Maximum height from floor to window bottom: 4 inches

Window type and furniture configuration should also be carefully determined in order to avoid obstructing any part of the window opening.

Some other issues of codes affecting basements include stairway size, ceiling height, ventilation systems, and smoke detectors.

Humidity Issues

basement redesignThe water in the soil surrounding the basement contributes to high moisture levels in most basements. For basic storage needs, humidity is not a big deal, but once you convert your basement into living space, it becomes significant. Moisture can take its toll on both building materials and furnishings. Mold growth can lead to structural weakness, staining, and health problems.

Moisture concerns can be addressed in many ways, from sloping soil away from the foundation, making sure gutters are properly installed and cleaned, repairing any cracks, and sealing interior foundation walls with water-blocking paint. Dehumidifiers can also help, but sump pumps or French drain systems may still be necessary in order to ensure that your investment won’t be destroyed.

gameroom basementTemperature and Noise Considerations

To ensure that your new basement space is as comfortable as other areas of your home, you’ll want to take note of special temperature and noise concerns. Insulation can help keep your basement warm or cool, according to the time of year. You’ll want to check insulation around electrical wiring and outlets, as well as look into water-resistant foam.

Properly insulating ceilings, walls, and floors will contribute to your basement’s overall comfort and energy efficiency, as will double-paned windows which are properly sealed with weather stripping. All those factors will increase the sound-proofing of your basement, as well as its temperature control.

Be sure to contact D.R. Hartman Construction, Inc. for professional guidance and building when it’s time for your basement makeover.

About D.R. Hartman Construction

As a licensed and fully insured general contractor, D.R. Hartman Construction, Inc. provides residential and commercial services in the Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring and Rockville, MD areas as well as in Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia. The Hartman builders offer home & business additions, remodeling, design build services, and steel building construction. Call Don Hartman today at (301) 926-9000.

D.R. Hartman Construction Inc

If you are looking for a full service commercial or residential construction company in the Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Fairfax County, Virginia region, we'd love to have the opportunity to learn about your construction project and give you a free quote. Submit our online contact form or call Don Hartman at (301) 926-9000.


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