If you have invested in buying your own home, at some point you will want to see that investment grow. Perhaps you are considering selling to move to a better property, or simply want to see the value of your home increase while improving it for your use. Whatever the reason, converting a basement is (according to TV property expert Phil Spencer) one of the top 20 ways to increase the value of your property, and is an ever-increasing option for city dwellers in particular. Even though a basement is, without doubt, a great option, there are some problems associated with basements that you should be aware of before spending your money. Here, I will highlight the problems that exist, and offer possible solutions.
As with most building work, you will need to carefully consider planning permission and building regulations. If you are simply converting a basement with no alterations to the structure, then planning permission shouldn’t be a problem, but if you are increasing the volume of your property, then you will need to check on planning permission. Building regulations are a different matter though (click here for more information), and you will need to consider things like ceiling height (you may need to dig down), an exit strategy in case of a fire, and using a party wall. All of these things can complicate something that you thought was going to be a simple process, so you really should consult a professional to see if you can start any work
The light in a basement can be a particular problem for people, and though it is possible to install light wells in some basements, people generally have to rely on artificial light. You may feel that it is simple enough to have an electrician install some light fittings, but there is more to this than meets the eye. Lighting can have a huge effect on the atmosphere of a room, and consulting a lighting engineer is the best way to ensure you have the correct balance of light in your basement. If you do not want to add that expense, you need to plan ahead and ensure you have plenty of ceiling lights. Try to include directional LED lighting, and variable control switches that allow you to control brightness.
Water can be a major problem in a basement, and you are going to need your basement surveyed by an expert to see if there are any current problems. Even if there are none, you are going to need the help of a skilled waterproofing company like raleighwaterproofinginc.com to ensure that your walls and floor are impervious to water, and that it is prepared for the water that will find its way down from any leak in the property above. It is possible that before you do anything with your basement that you are going to need to completely strip it out to have it water treated; which is not something that most people expect.
Most basement conversions are straight forward, but you cannot guarantee this. For instance, if you need to dig down in your basement to comply with regulation height, or you need structural support added, you could be living above a building site, and there is also the problem of access to your basement for workers and materials, which people forget to consider. In fact, it is often preferable (though not completely necessary) for the occupiers to move out while the work proceeds.
There is no doubt that a basement conversion is an excellent way to increase the floor space and value of a property. However, it is not always plain sailing, and you should certainly consider the problems outlined here before proceeding.