The basement is one part of a house that’s often overlooked. During construction, it’s considered a necessary feature, a part of the foundation. After you move in, it becomes a storage area for old furniture, toys, and other unused items.

Rather than the dark and uninviting place basements in Norfolk County are known to be, they have the potential to be something more. Although having some extra space is a good enough reason to finish your basement, there’s a lot more to be gained.

Whether you bought your house with an unfinished basement or you made plans to renovate but soon forgot, there’s still a chance to utilize the potential that your basement holds.

Now, you may be wondering what constitutes an unfinished basement. Some homes have semi-finished basements which are livable and thus serve some practical purpose. You can still live in a semi-finished basement just fine.

It’s important to understand that just because your basement is being used as a livable space, it doesn’t mean it’s finished.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not your basement is complete or still requires some much-needed basement renovations, here are some factors that can help you determine the state of your basement – finished or unfinished.

What Constitutes a Finished Basement?

A basement is finished when its set up is similar to that of the upper levels of the home. A home isn’t finished until it has fully finished floors and walls, a level ceiling, an electrical and heating/cooling system, and accessible entrances and exits.

The idea is to render the space habitable so you can tell a finished basement from an unfinished one just by stepping in and looking around it. It should be pretty simple at this point J

If you still have trouble figuring it out, here are a few things to look out for.

1.     Accessibility

This is a major factor of a finished basement. You need a way to get in and out of the basement and up to the rest of the home with ease and minimal obstruction. In most houses, interior stairs connect the upper level to the basement.

Other times, you may find that the only means of entry is through an external, basement level door. To be considered finished, your space must have permanent and direct access from the upper layer of the home – lofts and ladders do not count, sorry sewer dwellers, that ladder doesn’t cut it!

If your basement isn’t contiguous with the rest of the house, then it isn’t finished… Yet.

2.     Power source

As mentioned earlier, a finished basement is a livable space, and to become one, it must have a continuous power source to run the installed heating and cooling system. If your basement isn’t heated or cooled with the same system as the rest of the house then it’s not finished.

Electricity, permanently installed propane tank, natural gas or heating oil can serve as the power source but ultimately, a space required a permanent heating and cooling unit.

3.     Finished walls and floors

Having exposed or painted concrete floors or plywood in your basement is a good pointer towards its unfinished state. Just like the rest of the house, the basement needs to be covered with installed covering, bottom, sides and top.

Wood, tile, vinyl, and carpet are a few options to consider. Also, if there’s no drywall on the walls and the ceiling has exposed beams, then the basement is far from finished.

By now, you have a pretty good idea if your house has a finished or unfinished basement. Here are a few things you’ll enjoy if you decide to complete the renovation and transform your basement into a habitable space.

What are the benefits of a finished basement?

·        Extra space

One good thing that comes out of having a finished basement is the extra space. You have a whole level added to your home and can furnish it to fit whatever needs might come up.

Adding a new room to your house is an expensive and process that will take up a lot of your time and resources.

Why spend more money than is needed on a lengthy construction project when you can simply renovate your basement to fit in with your home’s custom design?

Do you have difficulty concentrating while working upstairs because you to get easily distracted by the demands of your family members? The basement can become a home office. Expecting a new addition to the family?

You have an extra space ready to be transformed into a bedroom. Need a quiet area to workout? The basement can be your exercise room. The options are limitless.

·        Added value

In addition to creating extra space in your home, a finished basement helps to increase the value of your property, especially locally in Simcoe, Port Dover, or Waterford.

This may seem inconsequential now, but if you do decide to sell your home, it’s market value would be significantly higher and this will increase your chances of making a good sale.

An unfinished basement is unappealing to prospective home buyers not only because it looks unsightly, but also because the thought of renovation can be off-putting.

When you do invest in finishing your basement, you’ll increase the value of your home and by default, your pool of interested buyers.

·        Save money

At the first look, finishing your basement may seem like a project that’s sure to dig a hole in your finances. However, this is not completely true. Instead, having an unfinished basement can cost you more money in energy bills.

How much do you spend on your heating and cooling bills in a year? Now think about how much of the heat and cool air is siphoned by the basement due to the absence of insulation. Over time, the small increments will add up until you start losing more than you pay for.

A major part of basement renovation is closing any form of leaks and ensuring that there is proper insulation. This way, you can reduce air leaks, maintain the temperature in your home and save money on energy bills.

Final word

Finishing your basement will require time and effort, but the process is well worth it. Not only do you enjoy creative control over the finished design, but you also get to enjoy the benefits that come with having a finished basement.