The Essential Garage and Basement Finishing Guide

basement finishing

With some creativity and a reasonable budget, you could make better use of the space in your home. Additions aren’t necessary for every family, and if you have an unfinished garage or basement, you could get started on a remodeling project that will completely change the way that you enjoy your living spaces.

Basement finishing is hands down the most popular finishing project, but your garage might be a better target for your next major home improvement. Whichever space you chose to finish, you’ll need to make sure that you cover all the basics to get the best results.

You can get started with our simple guides to plan your remodel.

Reference Guide for Garage Finishing in Des Moines

Although there are no verified studies to reference, most contractors and other home service professionals would agree that only 60 to 80 percent of homeowners actually use their garages for parking cars.

For many families, garages are a storage space. Some use them as gyms, while others use them for craft and minor handyman projects. If you aren’t using your garage to park your car, it could make sense to remodel it into a new living space.

The garage offers untapped potential, whether it is attached to your home or fully detached. You could have space for an entire apartment, a studio, or even a home office. If your garage features a high peaked roof, you could even add an unfinished attic for storage.

Best of all, you probably won’t have to deal with moisture problems, so remodeling a garage could turn out to be less expensive than basement finishing.

The Essentials of Garage Remodeling

  • With an attached garage you should consider adding ducting for your central air system. Your new living space will need to be kept warm and dry in the winter, and cool in the summer. If your garage is detached, you can install a ductless air conditioner/heat pump for highly efficient climate control during any season.

  • Think about whether you will need plumbing installed. This could significantly increase the cost of your project. A larger garage could be suitable for adding a small bathroom with a shower and toilet. This will be particularly useful if you will be remodeling with bedrooms in your garage.

  • You might need to think about adding a carport extension in front of your garage. The cost of this will be relatively low, especially considering the convenience it will add.

  • Consider whether you need to finish your entire garage. A three car garage could allow for partial finishing while keeping a single parking space. Even if you don’t park a car in the garage today, you might want to retain some flexibility in case your needs change in the future.

  • If your garage is fully detached, you could consider converting it into a fully self-contained guest house. This kind of remodel can be costly, but it will future proof your home, no matter how your needs change. A guest house could be used for teens, parents, or for friends and family who visit from out of town.

  • Be sure to install energy efficient insulation and Low-E glass windows. Insulation will help to keep your remodeled garage comfortable in the summer and warm in the winter. Low-E glass will further improve energy efficiency.

  • Depending on the extent of your garage finishing project, you may need permits and even a final inspection after the contractors have finished working. While you could obtain permits yourself, it’s much easier to have your general contractor take care of the details. You can leverage the extensive experience of HomeWorx Iowa for permits and compliance.

  • Don’t overlook safety when planning a garage remodel. Install smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector if any gas appliances will be used.

  • Security will need to be beefed up if you will convert your garage to bedrooms or other living spaces. You could extend your alarm system to include sensors at key entry points and near large windows.

You can look at your garage as a blank canvas for home remodeling. It’s possible to add a serious amount of living space and even bedrooms. Consider finishing your garage if you have outgrown your home, or if you simply want to be prepared for your needs in the future.

Reference Guide for Basement Finishing in Des Moines

If you have a basement in your home that is nothing more than a glorified storage space, it’s time for remodeling. Basement finishing will turn a dark and musty basement into a beautiful living space that will make your home feel larger and more comfortable. Depending on the size of your basement, you could add bedrooms, a living room, and even storage and utility rooms. A large basement could even be converted into a self-contained apartment, complete with a kitchenette and bathroom.

No matter how big your basement is, the success of your project will come down to the quality of the planning and the remodeling work that is carried out. The basement is unique because its one area of the home where moisture can be a major problem.

Here are the steps and considerations to keep in mind when finishing your basement with Des Moines contractors.

The Essentials of Basement Finishing

  • Because your basement is sub grade, moisture can be a real problem. There may even already be some moisture damage hiding behind boxes or in a dark corner. Look for discolored walls and cracks, or any signs of water entry. General contractors Des Moines can perform a complete inspection to identify moisture or foundation problems.

  • You’ll need to get all permits in order before work begins. Remodeling with an experienced local contractor will make this step simple. The team at HomeWorx Iowa can assist with permits and ensure that your basement finishing is fully compliant.

  • Make sure the right fasteners are used for framing. Masonry, brick, and cement walls may even need anchors, depending on your remodeling Contractors can use advanced tools and techniques to ensure that your basement will be structurally sound for years to come.

  • You’ll need a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from causing problems in the future. The barrier can be installed below floors and in walls before framing and finishing. Even with a barrier, moisture can still be a problem. Ask your contractor about creating an offset between the masonry and your finished walls to minimize risk.

  • Choose flooring materials that will resist moisture and mold. Low pile nylon carpets can work well. Solid flooring will work even better, with options like engineered wood, tile, or vinyl offering beautiful aesthetics at reasonable costs.

  • Make sure you insulate. Basements can get cold in the winter, so you’ll want to run a heat pump or even central heating. Insulation will ensure that your basement is perfectly sealed and energy efficient.

  • Finding places to conceal your plumbing and electrical wires can be challenging. You could take a page from commercial building design and have a drop ceiling An offset ceiling will hide all utility lines and cables, while also allowing for easy access when necessary. This type of ceiling is also perfect for recessed lighting fixtures.

  • If you have central air, make sure that you install vents at ground level along the baseboards. Heat rises, so this will be the most efficient way to keep your basement warm.

  • Don’t finish your utility room. Your water heater, air conditioner, and central heating system can be housed in an unfinished room in your basement. Finishing your utility room would only add to the cost of your project and it could even violate building codes.

Basement finishing will add functional space and value to your home. Focus on the basics during planning and you’ll enjoy a streamlined project without major setbacks.

Should You Still Consider a Home Extension?

Even if you have a garage or basement available for finishing, you could still consider the advantages of a home extension. You could extend upwards or outwards from your home, depending on your needs and the physical space that is available.

Unlike garage or basement finishing, an extension will allow you to create new space with few compromises. The floor layout will be entirely your own, so you could find that this option is better suited to your needs.

However, you will need to consider that an extension will require more materials, more structural planning, and more time to complete. The work could be significantly more disruptive to your family, which is something that is often overlooked by inexperienced remodelers.

An extension may even run afoul of local laws or home owner’s association (HOA) rules. Be sure to check for any restrictions before you start your next major home remodeling project.

Create Space with Your Next Home Remodel

You may have outgrown your home, but that doesn’t mean that you have to move. Unfinished spaces can become comfortable living areas for your growing family.

Basement finishing, and similar projects deserve the professional touch. For a long lasting home that is both beautiful and comfortable, you can talk to the experts at HomeWorx. We are a dedicated team of Des Moines contractors and design experts. We’ll take the time to understand your needs and goals, before presenting a home remodeling plan to suit. We even offer 3D modeling services so that you can accurately visualize all improvements before materials and designs are finalized.

Remodeling with garage or basement finishing is a smarter way to add space. Begin your project by calling us today.

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