Basements often require a few extra steps to remodel, whether it’s fixing problems like standing water, plumbing or insulation problems, clearing out storage, or finishing up an unfinished basement before the rest of your remodel can begin. With so much to do before you can even begin the process of a normal remodel, basement remodels can cause a lot of stress and tension.

Here are our best tips for a stress-free basement remodel:

Take everything one step at a time
To begin with, we suggest a piece of advice that’s often given to anyone feeling stress about a project: Break the project up into steps and take it one step at a time. Instead of thinking about your remodel as one whole, giant project, break it down and think about each step—clearing out storage, cleaning, plumbing and electrical work, etc.—as its own project along the way. Try taking a break or celebrating after each step in the process is done, after all, each part in a remodel is a huge accomplishment. Knowing that you don’t have to do everything—or even think about everything—all at once can relieve stress and help you remain focused on the task at hand.

List out your top priorities
Before you start your remodel, understand that not everything you want in your new basement may be viable in your space or within your budget. That’s almost always the case with remodel projects, but don’t worry—it’s not the end of the world. Just make sure you know before you start what your top priorities are for your remodel, what would be nice to have, and what you don’t need.

Interview and hire a qualified contractor you can trust
Make sure you hire someone qualified and experienced to lead the charge on your basement remodel. Interviewing multiple contractors before making a hiring decision, taking recommendations from people you trust, and following up with references can help you hire someone you can trust to do a great job. And when you’re interviewing, look out for someone with good communication skills. The ability to communicate well can help reduce stress even when unexpected complications arise.

Set a flexible budget
When you inevitably set a budget for your remodel, make sure to do your research beforehand. Talk to friends and family who have remodeled before, as well as your contractor, architect, and anyone else who has experience with remodeling. And then, once you’ve thought of everything you’ll need to put in a comprehensive remodel budget, make sure to still leave yourself some room for unexpected costs to arise. Expecting the unexpected—and preparing yourself for it ahead of time—can save you a lot of stress, worry, and re-budgeting along the way.

Set realistic expectations
Our previous tips—listing out your top priorities, interviewing contractors, and setting a flexible budget—will help you with this last best practice for a stress-free basement remodel: setting realistic expectations. Knowing exactly what to expect in terms of time, amount of work, budget, and inconveniences during the remodel can help greatly with reducing stress along the way. Plus, if you have a family, it’ll help to set expectations for everyone in your household, including cleanup time, opening your home to workers, noise, and more. And even if you think you know exactly what it’ll be like, you should also remember to expect the unexpected, because no matter what, you can’t ever be completely prepared for a construction or remodel project. Sometimes, you just need to prepare to be flexible.

As you can see, it’s important to know what to expect when it comes to a basement remodel so that you can have the most stress-free renovation as possible. It is important to know, however, that your basement remodeling project may be hindered by several factors. Remodeling a basement can be tough, and many of a basement’s common features can stand in the way of creating a new living space.

If you’re intending to re-invent your basement space check out these 5 ways to solve some common basement remodeling problems:

1. Plan Around The Heater, Water Softener And Other Vital Home Components
If you’re remodeling a basement space you will likely have to work around several components that are vital to giving your home heat, hot water and sometimes clean clothes.

When remodeling your basement, choose efficiency over consistency. Put simply: Consider purchasing a smaller furnace, a corner-based water heater or a smaller water filtration system. Today’s models are often smaller and more efficient than those of the past. Chances are, you can greatly reduce your basement’s clutter in doing so—freeing up much-needed remodeling space. Moving these core components of your house’s “central nervous system” can be complicated and definitely require the involvement of experts, usually a plumber and possibly an electrician.

2. Dry It Out
As stated above, basements commonly contain water filtration systems, heat pumps and furnaces. Due to their closed-off design, basements commonly accumulate moisture and unwanted wetness. A basement is underground, and its closed-off design creates opportunities for dampness, humidity and otherwise meddlesome moisture.

Your ductwork, water heater and pipes should be well-insulated to protect your household. Fill foundation cracks, and look for ways to insulate. Sometimes, sneaky leaks will find their way into your basement. By sealing air gaps and leaks, you’ll insulate your basement. Similarly, running a dehumidifier directly reduces moisture. If you can’t identify the source of leaks you may need to contact a professional who can better locate any sources of water or moisture that care causing you problems in your basement.

3. Consider the Ceiling
Ductwork, pipes and other holding areas are often situated near basement’s ceiling. When remodeling, these areas can be a problem. They can be unappealing to the eye and pose serious design difficulties. If you’re remodeling your basement, you’ll need to consider the overhead space.

Many homeowners these days are adding basement bars. Often a bar utilizes overhead storage space. Wine glasses, towels and other materials work well in such spaces, and you need to consider how to best boost your redesign possibilities for the ceiling. Create a tray ceiling. These framed ceilings effectively reduce “pipe clutter” by hiding your basement’s utility resources behind the tiles. Additionally, you can create a frame and finish around low-hanging pipes or ducts that can add to the look your basement’s design style.

4. Check the Floor
Similar to the importance of ceiling detail, the details regarding your floor are also important. Think about the floor and what you’re planning to do with it. These days your options are endless. You could paint the concrete, put down tiles, choose a durable carpet or use faux wood flooring. It’s your choice. Make sure that your floor is up to snuff before you try to improve it. You may need to bring in a professional if you have a lot of large cracks or other defects that need correcting.

5. Re-Engineer Or Re-Design Your Support Columns
Your basement’s columns are needed for your household’s structural integrity, and they must be considered not only for aesthetic but also for safety. Unfortunately, support columns can be meddlesome, and they can throw off your design plans.

If previous remodels have created awkward column areas—or, if your basement’s support columns have been “in the way”, don’t knock them down! You should consult an architect before making any changes to these crucial parts of your house’s structure. If you can, work with the support columns where they are. There are many ways to create a pleasing look for your columns. You can make them part of the overall design strategy by either having them blend in or stand out. Use your creativity!

Once you get through these big logistic issues with basement remodeling it’s time to think more about the overall design and concept behind why you want to remodel in the first place. Creating a family-friendly space is a great option because it will benefit everyone in your home. When thinking about remodeling your basement, it’s easy to fantasize about a grown-up area of the house. How about a wine cellar, bar, or lounge? However, if you have growing children, grandchildren, or kids that come over frequently, consider a family-friendly basement instead.

Transforming your basement into a space for youngsters means containing both noise and play. You’d probably prefer children staying away from other parts of your home like the study, office, or bedrooms anyway. Besides, you can always turn the space into an exclusive adult area later on. Large basements can also handle multiple activities at once. Before you design your remodel, consider everything you want to use it for. No need to choose between relaxation and fun if you don’t have to. You can have a space that offers a television, video gaming, reading, musical instruments, ping-pong, and more. There should be something for everyone.

Depending on your family’s needs, there are plenty of choices out there to create the go-to place in your home. Here are some fun, family-friendly basement remodel ideas:

Sports
If fun activities make your family happy, then turn your basement into a sports zone. These spaces present a great opportunity for air hockey, ping-pong, pool, foosball, and other competitive table sports. Encourage skills and teamwork through these fun games that the whole family can play.

Zones
If you like the idea of having both adult and child areas, simply divide your basement into zones. For instance, put aside a spot just for kids. Here there might be a carpet or different wall colors to show them where the fun begins. Have toys readily accessible and child-sized furniture. Then, you can have the adult area nearby filled with comfy sofas, a television, and fireplace. This dual-purpose basement make it easy for everyone to feel right at home.

Older children
If you have teenagers or young adults around, your family-friendly basement needs to reflect their more mature interests. Have a workstation for study, instruments, game consoles, and trendy furniture. Teenagers can have their own space that also invites others to join in on the fun.

Mega family room
If you’re looking to fill in a huge, open space, consider installing a media center complete with game consoles, fireplace, and television, encased by a large sectional. Or perhaps a home theater with a lot of cushions so everyone can be comfortable. You could also think about making your family room self-sufficient with its own bathroom, microwave, counter, and stove. That way, no one has to keep running upstairs for more popcorn during a movie. Plus, you can always turn this area into an in-law suite or guest bedroom if needed.

No matter what design style or layout you want to go with, taking on a basement remodeling project requires a lot of planning and forethought. It’s important to consider all of the things that go into a remodel of this size. Knowing your budget, having realistic expectations, problem-solving when it comes to major structural components, and taking your family into consideration when designing the space are all things that will help you to have the best basement remodeling project.

An expert architect can guide you through all of these steps, creating a wonderful space that will be cherished for years to come. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our team today.