The Pros and Cons of Finishing Your Basement
Live in any house long enough and you’re bound to find things you want to change about it. What’s on your Home To-Do List? Some items may be easy to knock out over a weekend with just a trip to the hardware store and a bit of elbow grease. Others, however, may seem more daunting in scope, cost, or both. Finishing a basement falls into the latter category, as the cost is certainly a major investment, and the duration of the project can take weeks or even months. Is it worth the hassle and the expense? In reality, there are valid reasons supporting both sides of the argument.
Deciding whether or not to invest in a basement finish depends on a number of factors, and each situation will be unique. Consider the following list of pros and cons to basement finishing as you go through the decision-making process:
Top Reasons to Finish your Basement
1. Increase home value
Most homebuyers love the idea of expanding available living space in their home without having to do a major addition. Finishing existing basement space in the home can often double (or nearly so) the finished square footage of the home, providing additional climate-controlled living space that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you choose to add family entertaining/relaxing space, guest rooms, an office, gym, and/or bathroom, the worth of the basement finish will be enjoyed by you, as well as reflected in the value of your home when it’s time to sell.
2. Expand living areas
Even if you aren’t planning to sell your home anytime soon, your family will enjoy having the bonus space. Top uses for a finished basement include an additional bedroom, guest room, game room, playroom, home office or study, music rehearsal room, media room/home theater, home gym, and hobby room, to name a few ideas. Some families use part of their finished basement as a safe, warm, and comfortable storm shelter. Designing and building the basement in such a way that it looks like a natural, continuous part of your existing home helps the new space feel less like a separate “basement” and more like an extension of your home.
3. Best space option
Families who need extra space may find that finishing the basement is their best option for gaining more room without moving. Finishing a basement costs far less than adding to the house above ground by constructing an addition on one side or building upward. Additionally, depending on local ordinances and the size of your lot, you may not have options for adding more space above ground due to code or HOA restrictions.
Why Wouldn’t I Want to Finish my Basement?
1. Recouping your investment
Although remodeling your home’s basement will increase your property value, there’s no guarantee that you’ll recoup 100% of your expenses. The average basement remodeling project increases home value by about 70% of the project cost, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t see a full return on your investment. Instead, realize that you can’t place a value on how much your family members will enjoy using the new space, or how much its existence can help increase the marketability of your home at whatever point you choose to sell. If you plan to sell your home soon, perhaps finishing the basement will not be your priority.
2. Humid environment with little natural light
Most basements have few windows, and what they have tend to be small. Without an abundance of natural light to work with, you’ll want to plan the artificial lighting carefully. Basement remodels benefit from the installation of recessed can lighting or track lighting to maintain even brightness levels throughout the space. Installing dimmer switches allows you to control the level of light required.
Underground rooms such as basements are also subject to moisture and humidity, and—if those factors are left unchecked—possibly mold and mildew as well. Humidity levels consistently above 50% need to be controlled using a room dehumidifier designed for basements. Basements should also be checked regularly for moisture entering from cracks in windows or concrete. All sources of moisture intrusion must be mitigated prior to embarking upon a basement finish.
3. Increased home maintenance
An unfinished basement requires very little maintenance beyond occasional sweeping, dusting, and moisture maintenance. Once you convert the basement into finished space, however, it increases the amount of space in your home that has to be regularly cleaned and maintained. If your unfinished basement is used primarily for storage, have a plan in place for where those items will be stored once the new basement is finished; if you don’t have a place in mind with adequate space, perhaps now is not the time to move forward with a basement finish.
You can Rely on Our Expertise
Consider these tips when thinking about whether you want to proceed with finishing your basement. We’d love to help you design a space that works for your lifestyle and budget! Whether your basement is 700 sq. ft. or 1,700 sq. ft., we can work with you to maximize the space to your best advantage.
As a division of Sheffield Homes, one of the most experienced home builders in the Denver metro area and northern Colorado, we have the expertise, trade relationships, and proven track record of delivering consistently high-quality work. Schedule a no-obligation consultation today.