Basement Renovation Success Begins From the Floor Up!

Basement renovation is one of the most popular ways to increase living space while keeping home renovation expenditures to a minimum. Basement finishing utilizes space that is already there; for family rooms, rec rooms, additional bedrooms, or multi-use rooms.

Every basement renovation project begins with the floor. Most new homes with basements are constructed with a poured or concrete block foundation on footings, and a poured concrete floor. Innovative drainage systems are incorporated into the foundation footings. Effectively keeping water drained away from the structure; minimizing potential moisture problems. Older homes built prior to these innovations often suffer from various moisture problems.

Dealing with Older Homes

Because many older homes were built on a foundation with a dirt floor basement, old house renovation projects might include pouring a basement floor. Older homes that already have basement floor concrete often need it replaced, due to heaving, cracking, or crumbling concrete.

Pouring a concrete floor in an older home basement is a major undertaking. For a successful home renovation project, it is necessary to enlist the services of a reliable residential general contractor or special trade contractor.

A foundation contractor will be able to inspect the foundation of an older home for potential or existing problems. Making any necessary repairs before the masonry contractor begins work. Many times masonry contractors do foundation work, as well as concrete floors. It might be more economical to hire one who does both.

Not Enough Headroom!

Most building codes require a minimum of 7 ½ feet from floor to ceiling for habitable rooms, 7 feet for halls and bathrooms, and 7 feet (with restrictions) for obstructions such as pipes or beams. A common scenario is an older home with a dirt basement floor, and inadequate headroom for a basement renovation project. Until recently, overcoming this obstacle by digging the basement deeper was not feasible. However, new innovation and technology has made this a viable solution.

New construction of an addition to the home can cost $75-$125 per square foot, or more. Digging the basement deeper, extending the footings further into the ground, and pouring a basement slab can be done for as little as $25 per square foot. Opting for this solution, then, can save a considerable amount of money. But it is a very technical process that involves “jacking up” the house, and MUST be done by a licensed contractor.

Wood Subfloors

An alternative to pouring a new cement slab is to install a wood subfloor over old concrete. Uneven surfaces need to be leveled, and plywood decking installed on either 2x4 or 1x4 pressure treated lumber, spaced 16” on center.

Installing a wood subfloor is not recommended, however, if moisture is a possibility. The “pockets” between the wood floor and concrete would create inaccessible spaces for mold and mildew to form, posing a possible health or odor problem.

If water seeps into the basement, the wood subfloor would have to be removed to effectively dry the area. In some instances, a water damage restoration contractor might be able to dry it in place, but this would carry a very hefty price tag.

Other Floor Covering Options

If it is a matter of dealing with cracked or uneven concrete, installing a quality basement floor leveling compound and basement floor covering, such as laminate or carpet may be a good choice. A good carpet installation contractor is knowledgeable about leveling and preparing concrete before installing basement flooring.

Basement carpet installed by gluing it directly to the floor is a good choice for moisture-prone basements. When installed in this manner, water damage can be cleaned up and the carpet dried in place, minimizing costly water damage restoration services.

Whichever option is best for your basement renovation plans, a successful project begins with a solid basement floor provided by a reliable renovation contractor. Post your project online at, absolutely free-with no obligation!

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Posted by: TrustedPros
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