Finishing your basements brings more than just a financial investment value, the added space brings an opportunity to enjoy family and friends. Whether it’s for a family room, a hang out room for teenagers, or a great place to install that big screen TV, if you plan it right you can make the most of finishing off that unused space.
Install an insulated subfloor
When we visit homeowners, who are looking to finish their basement, we always tell them one of the best investments they can make is to install an insulated subfloor. The typical finished basement comes in at over $50,000. Why not invest under 10% of that in an insulated subfloor. It’s the best bang for your buck. Too often people will invest large sums to finish their basement but they won’t install an insulated subfloor. You can insulate the walls as much as you want and keep your thermostat set high, but if you don’t insulate the cement floor, you’ll feel cold regardless of the room temperature. An uninsulated floor means a cold floor, which translates into cold feet. Once your feet get cold. It’s all over. If you want to maximize the enjoyment you get from your basement, insulate the floor. Engineered 2’x2’ insulated floor panels will do the trick.
Sound insulation in the ceiling and partition walls
The cost to sound insulate a ceiling or a partition wall is significantly lower than the 10% cost to insulate the floor. It’s not as critical as insulating the floor but you’ll enjoy your basement more if you can reduce the noise you hear from the main floor or from a furnace room. Keep in mind that you’re reducing the noise level, not eliminating it. It makes the noise from a furnace room or from upstairs less distracting and easier to enjoy your time in the basement.
Install resilient channels between the floor joists and ceiling drywall
A significant portion of the sound that comes from upstairs, especially people walking on the floor above, travels through the floor joists. By installing resilient channels between the floor joists and the ceiling drywall the noise transfer is significantly reduced. Again, not eliminated, but reduces.
Use Spray foam for wall insulation
The cost to install spray foam insulation is greater than typical fiberglass or stone wool batts but there are advantages. With spray foam insulation you can frame the exterior walls in 2x4s rather than 2x6s and get the same R value. This may not matter in all cases, but for some instances saving a total of 4 inches on the width or length of a room might matter. If it does to you, consider it. If you use spray foam with 2×6 anyway you can increase the R value by R12 (each inch of spray foam has an R value of 6). The added R value will reduce your energy cost and help offset the increased cost for choosing spray foam.
Spay foam is a great rodent deterrent. That alone might be enough for you to justify the added cost.
Install Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Luxury vinyl flooring is one of the best products to be introduced into the marketplace. In the past decade it’s come to dominate the finished basement and cottage industry. It seems to be virtually indestructible. Not to mention the fact it’s waterproof. It gets our vote for the best product you can install for a basement floor. We now install it in 90% of the basements we do. You can get luxury vinyl plank flooring to look like hardwood, ceramic tile, stone, and in all sorts of sizes and colours. It’s considerably less expansive to purchase and install than engineered hardwood.
When advising homeowners about this product I often compare it to engineered hardwood this way. If we call engineered hardwood the Lexus of cars, luxury vinyl is the fully loaded Toyota Avalon. A luxury vehicle none the less, but it cost a lot less. Yet, is still a notch above the rest. And it doesn’t get dinged up like engineered hardwood.
We hope these tips will help you in your basement finishing plans.