9 Important Things to Consider When Finishing Your Basement

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9 Important Things to Consider When Finishing Your Basement

A finished basement can make a significant impact on the available living space in your home. If you’re dreaming of a new home theater, workout room, home office, etc. – this post is for you!

Whether you’re starting from scratch or already have a partially finished basement, finishing the job will take the proper planning, expertise and patience. As with any major renovation that has a significant impact on the value of your home, you want to make sure it’s done right. Here are some of the most important things to consider when renovating your basement:

1. Have a Plan

It might sound simple, but many homeowners embark on home renovations with no actual plan in place to take them from start to finish! A carefully planned basement can provide you the enjoyment you’ve been looking for while also adding value to your home. Identify your main goal ahead of time and try to think about all of the small details. Share your ideas with friends and family, get feedback, and feel comfortable about your approach before you dig in.

2. Locate the Appropriate Permits

If you’re making significant changes to your basement, such as tearing down/adding walls or rewiring your electricity, it’s crucial to ensure you have the proper permits to do so. Code requirements can change over time and you may be required to update your electricity or use different building materials than those that were used when your home was originally built.

Your best bet would be to have a trained professional take a look at your basement and your plans to protect your family and your investment.

3. Resolve Any Existing Water Problems First

Basements are naturally susceptible to water intrusions. Carefully inspect your basement for any cracks or areas of the ground that appear to be wet/moist. Ignoring any problems now will result in even larger problems down the road.

4. Notify Your Insurance Agent

It’s important to contact your insurance agent before any work begins. Regardless of whether you’re refinishing your basement or simply upgrading your kitchen cabinets, it makes sense to increase the value of your home on your insurance policy based on the improvement(s) you’re making. If there’s a loss during construction or after the work is complete, you don’t want to be underinsured.

5. Test for Radon

Radon is an invisible, odorless, and cancer-causing radioactive gas found in all 50 states. Many newly constructed homes are tested prior to sale and include a radon mitigation system, but many older homes are at risk of this toxic exposure. You’ll want to purchase a home radon test and make sure the levels in your home are sufficient to refinish your basement.

Some of the ways it enters your home include:

  • Cracks in your basement floor or foundation
  • Well water or your sump pump
  • Exposed soil in a crawl space
  • Loose fitting pipes
  • Building materials such as brick, concrete, and rock

6. Consider Different Flooring Options

Different flooring types carry different benefits, so be sure to think about the overall feel you’re going for in your finished basement before you make a decision:

  • Laminate flooring is typically a less expensive, durable option that provides a variety of styles. This type of flooring will provide moderate cushion, but it will remain cold.
  • Luxury vinyl plank is a tad higher on the price scale, but it is extremely durable and waterproof, making it a great choice for basements. There are also plenty of options to give you the right look. This type of flooring provides very little cushion and can be cold as well.
  • Carpeting will provide an inviting atmosphere and take the echo out of a room. This type of flooring will be warm and cushioned. Tearing carpet out will be a pain if you do experience water damage, so try to be mindful of that choice.

7. Consider Different Heating Options

If you’re going to use your basement as additional living space, you want it to be comfortable with adequate heat. Some of the options you might consider include:

  • Expand or alter your existing ductwork to accommodate your basement more adequately. Be sure to contact your local HVAC contractor to see what they recommend.
  • Install a wall heater to provide supplemental heat.
  • Install a fireplace to create a nice ambiance and heat a large room. Keep in mind that there may be specific building codes that need to be followed to add a fireplace into your basement safely.

8. Consider Adding Insulation

Adding insulation is a great way to keep heat in and the cold air out. It’s also a fantastic noise barrier between floors.

9. Determine If A Window Well is Needed

If your basement doesn’t already have an egress window installed, be sure to check with your local building ordinances to ensure you aren’t required to have one. Egress windows not only serve as an emergency exit for your new, lower-level living space, they also improve ventilation, allow natural daylight, and add value to your home.


When everything is said and done, you should have an amazing new living space to call your own! If you’re ready to move onto the next big thing, consider these 5 home renovations and how they might impact your home insurance.

Contact your local Rockford Mutual Insurance Agent today to protect your renovation from start to finish:

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Amy Casey
Social Media & Communications Specialist
Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she has obtained her Associate in General Insurance designation.