Let’s Talk About Finishing Your Kansas City Basement!

Hello and welcome to our blog! Hearthside Homes is a home builder based in Liberty, Missouri. We currently build houses in the Kansas City, Parkville, Liberty, and Kearney areas. Often when our customers decide to build or purchase one of our move-in ready spec homes, they debate on whether or not they should finish the basement. Understandably, this is a bit of a debate. Some homeowners love having a finished basement as it adds extra living space to the home and is usually ideal for entertaining. On the other hand, unfinished basements are great for storage!

Luckily, when you purchase with Hearthside Homes, you don’t have to finish your basement right away. In fact, many of our homeowners decided to finish their basement a few years after moving into their new home. During the construction process, Hearthside Homes will make sure the proper electrical and plumbing requirements will be accommodating for a future basement renovation project. In this blog post, experts at All American Plumbing are diving into a few things you need to consider when Finishing Your Kansas City Basement.

*Note, at this time, Hearthside Homes only refinishes basements in houses they have built. To view our listings, click here. This blog will provide great tips for homeowners who are looking for advice on finishing their Kansas City basement. 

Getting Started 

If your family is like mine, your current basement is a maze of boxes and shelves with only a few paths to the laundry machines and the fuse box. The floor is concrete, the rafters, pipes, and insulation are showing, and the walls are made of cinderblocks. All that said, it is not a place where the family wants to hang out.

The Kansas City Basement renovation experts at Hearthside Homes confirm that finishing the basement is an incredibly common renovation project for homeowners. You want to take what is essentially a drab storage facility and turn it into a functional space for you and your family. Here are 5 tips for finishing your Kansas City basement!

1). Inspect Before You Begin

Make sure that your basement is ready to be redone. It’s not good for water to get into an unfinished basement, and it is even worse for unwanted water to get into a finished basement. Check every inch of the walls and floors for moisture and find the best way to address it:

  • If the walls are damp or dripping, you may have water entering your basement from the outside. Make sure that the room is sealed properly and that the ground is sloped away from the foundation of the house. Anytime it rains, water will naturally run away from your house and the foundation will remain intact.
  • Repair all cracks in the concrete walls and floors to prevent any more water from coming into the basement
  • If you have puddles on the floors, check the pipes for any drips or leaks. Immediately address any signs of damage, rust, or corrosion that you can find.

Depending on the scale of your basement renovation, you may need to get permits and approval from your local government municipality. It varies in all areas but making sure that you have the proper permits will also make inspections less of a headache down the line once you moving onto plumbing and electrical.

2). Plan Out Your Space

Before we get into the construction aspect of your basement, you need to know what you want from the renovation. Is this a game room? A gym? An entertaining space? Decide what you want the end product to be so that you can effectively plan your renovation.

You don’t need an architect to design your new basement. Simply measure the area of the room and decide how you want to utilize the space. If your current basement is a wide-open space, designate where you want the various features to be. Choose which wall has the tv and how big will the couch and relaxation space be. Section off areas that can become a laundry room, bar area, bedroom, bathroom, or living space. 

3). Account For Storage

Like I said before, my family’s basement is filled with boxes and shelves packed with out of season decorations, sports equipment, cooking supplies, and surprises that we have certainly forgotten about. While it is not a space to spend extended periods of time, the basement provides the vital task of storing everything.

When you are planning to finish your basement, you should also account for the removal or moving around of unneeded items. Do you have the space elsewhere in your house to move your stuff? The attic? The garage? A shed perhaps? Now might be the time for a garage sale or a few eBay listings.

When you are sectioning off and designing your basement’s layout, it might be worth it to include a new storage area. This will cut down on the area of your new family space, but it will save you some trouble when it comes to finding space for what used to be in your basement. This space can double as your utility room, housing your water heater, fusebox, and other major plumbing and electrical fixtures.

4). Walls, Floors, & Ceilings

A standard unfinished basement is a large, open room with concrete floors and walls. Since this is not a particularly welcome look, you will probably want to add new walls and floors and a ceiling to the room.

After making sure that all moisture is removed and the walls are sealed, you want to prevent any new moisture. Add a vapor barrier or foam boards to address any future moisture that may enter the basement.

You could use a construction adhesive to secure the wall frame on the ground and screw the top of the frame into the joists on the ceiling. You could also use a shotgun fastener that will embed the fastener in the concrete. Once the wall frames are up, add additional insulation to keep the basement from being affected by the outdoor environment.

Radiant flooring is a high-end feature that is growing in popularity. Instead of bulky radiators along the wall, radiant flooring is a discrete way to heat your basement. Since heat rises, heating the floor through water or electric-based systems leads to the heat spreading throughout the room in a more energy-efficient manner.

As with any high-end feature, radiant floor heating can be expensive so be sure to evaluate how much you want to spend. Maybe you only install a radiant heating floor in a certain area like the bathroom or bar area and heat the rest of the room through traditional means.

The ceiling of your unfinished basement may be home to all of the pipes and wiring that help the rest of the house run smoothly. Installing a drop ceiling will allow you to hide the pipes and wires, but you will still be able to access them in case of an emergency.

Recessed lighting is a great way to illuminate your new basement without taking up too much space. You can install lighting on the exposed joists of your basement, and fill in the drywall ceiling around them. If you choose to install a drop ceiling, you will need additional wire supports where each light with be located.

5). Plumbing & Electrical

After you plan the layout of your room, you need to know where the essential utilities should be directed, primarily where will your plumbing and wiring go.

If you want to fully upgrade your basement, you may include a new powder room or even a full bathroom. You will need piping for the sinks, showers, and toilets. If you want a new entertaining space, you can build a bar area. This may require a sink behind the bar to wash the glasses, and lighting above and around the bar.

You may choose to put your laundry machines in the same rooms as your plumbing and electrical utilities. You could also replumb the water and ventilation lines to create a homier laundry space with a sink and table for treating stains.

Plan for an electrical outlet every 6 to 12 twelve feet along the wall. As you begin to use the room more you will almost always find the need for another outlet. Televisions, lights, phone chargers, video game consoles, refrigerators, the list goes on. Using too many extension cords can overwhelm your circuit breaker and be a fire hazard.

When you decide how and where you want your plumbing and electrical set up, it might be best to bring in a professional to do the work. A 24 hour plumbing service or an electrician with years of experience will be able to work with you to figure out how to best implement the plan for finishing your basement.

Construction is the hardest part of the basement finishing journey. Once the walls, pipes, lights are all in place, you can start decorating and bringing your own style into the new room. Find a comfortable couch and a big tv so that you can enjoy the big game after you’ve made a drink at your new bar. Show off your interests and passions by decorating the walls with memorabilia and family memories.

Finishing a basement is a big task for a home, but it is so common that professionals are prepared to help you through the process. Keep these tips and ideas in mind as you begin your renovation, and you will have a new family space to enjoy in no time.

About the Guest Author – Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.

Finishing Your Kansas City Basement With Hearthside Homes

We hope you enjoyed learning about finishing your Kansas City basement! If you purchase one of our houses, you can finish the basement right away or we can finish it a few years down the road. As stated previously, we currently do not finish basements in houses that we have not built. To learn more about our process, click hereDon’t forget to follow all the behind the scenes fun on Facebook and Instagram, and Pinterest!