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A Few Things to Keep in Mind When Finishing Your Basement

A Few Things to Keep in Mind When Getting Your Basement Finished

Thinking about some of the things below will help ensure your basement looks and feels more like an extension of your house and less like a dark dingy cellar.

An icon of a broom with dust plumming to the left.

Dust Control

Try to have a few extra clean furnace filters on hand. Finishing your basement is dusty and your furnace needs to breath. Changing out your furnace filter periodically will help mitigate dust upstairs and help your furnace function the way it should. I’d recommend changing the furnace filter out 3-4 times during the basement finishing process. The most important times to change the filter are:

  • After the 4-way inspection. Most of the framing and cutting of wood should be done at this point. Change your filter to get rid of all the sawdust build-up.
  • After the drywall is textured and sanded. Drywall dust is incredibly fine. It gets into the furnace filter and clogs it up quickly. This is the most crucial time to change your filter.
  • After the baseboards/doors/trim work is installed.

After your basement has been finished here are some Tips for Making Your Basement Allergy-Free.

 

Electrical

Before your contractor starts construction on your basement, walk the basement with lighting in mind. Think about where you want ceiling lights placed. Once your contractor is on-site, you can walk the project together before the lights get installed. If you have a good idea of where you want lighting etc., it’ll help this conversation go a lot quicker. And you’ll feel more comfortable knowing you’re getting lighting exactly where you want.

Recessed Lighting Tips

  • We’ve finished 100’s of basements. Over the years, I’ve come up with a general rule of thumb for recessed lighting spacing and it goes as follows. Take the height of your basement walls (normally 8′ – 9′ tall) and divide that number by two. Then, use that number to space out your recessed lighting in the ceiling. Ex. So, let’s say you have 8′ ceilings. Divide that number by two and you’ll get 4′. Then, measure in from your exterior wall in 4′ and set your first row of recessed lights. Set each additional row about every 4′. I’ve found that this formula provides ample lighting without going overboard.
  • For your bathroom, I suggest a water-resistant recessed light over the bathtub/shower and a vanity light above your sink/vanity.

 

Framing or “furring” around your HVAC trunk lines.

(If your home has trusses rather than I-joists, you can skip this paragraph.) 

Most basements have HVAC trunk lines, electrical and plumbing lines run somewhere on the ceiling in the basement. They can be unsightly, but you can’t just get rid of them. However, if you’re strategic in how you frame around them, they’ll be a lot less noticeable than if you just “wing it”. Also keep in mind light fixture placement, well-placed lighting is critical when adding lights near areas like fur-downs.

Have you ever walked into a basement, glanced at the ceiling and you could immediately see exactly where each HVAC line is going? Or the ceiling has a bunch of weird/small areas that are framed down/lower or framed up/higher than the rest of the ceiling and it just looks odd? Or even a recessed light placed too close to a framed down section and it’s casting a funky shadow? That’s likely because whoever framed around the ceiling obstacles (HVAC trunk, plumbing lines etc.) didn’t put much thought into how the ceiling would look as a finished product. Things to keep in mind.

Avoid framing EXACTLY to the obstacles. It can look odd if your framing starts exactly where a trunk line starts, turns exactly when a trunk line turns and stops exactly where the trunk line stops. If you do that, sometimes you can be left with an eye-catching (not in a good way) design in your ceiling.

Sometimes it makes sense to frame past where a trunk line ends. Or start the fur down before the trunk line starts. 

Think about where you’re going to place lights in the ceiling. Will the current placement of the fur down create an odd shadow effect? If so, can you relocate the fur down or re-place the light?

You can always go bold and leave your HVAC exposed!

 

If you’re thinking about finishing your basement, start your free estimate today and we can help walk you through these tips.

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