Have 4 yeaold home w/unfinished basement. Has been plumbed for bathroom. Has center steel I-beam supported by steel poles. No framed walls. Looking for design/layout help. Any publications, websites, or computer programs to assist us in layout options? Personal experiences? I am not good with visualizing designs and features so pictures are very helpful. Thanks!
We started with about the same situation, except the builder expected the basement to be finished and insulated the poured concrete walls. And, of course, steps leading down into it. There were four generous windows and window wells, but no plumbing except for the water heater.
First off, where are you? Please put your location in your profile - as I have done - so we won't have to ask again. In cold climates, you will need to insulate the walls. In a cold climate the basement will usually be 50-60 F most of the year.
For the layout, plan it around the stairs and plumbing. Then sketch in the rooms you want, and play around with that until you get a reasonable plan. Remember having to get a bed down the stairs.
In our town, if we wanted to make it an independent apartment with a kitchen, we would have needed a separate entrance; check your local building code on that. So we forgot the separate kitchen idea.
We wanted heat in the basement so we opted for electrical baseboard heating under each window. We originally considered hot water baseboard heating but it was going to be way too expensive.
Based upon our layout - with a full bath - we called in a mechanical contractor to install powered vents. Then an electrical contractor to install a power subpanel so breakers would be near where the circuits are.
We needed sound insulation since the first floor transmitted sound terribly; you could hear the dog walking around on the wooden floors above. Talk to the folks at www.soundproofing.org about that; they were very helpful for us.
That's something for you to start with; ask questions from there.
In addition to Bob's information. If it makes sense in the layout try to build walls under the beam so you can enclose the posts. If it doesn't make sense or you want a more open plan just know that you can't move the posts without great expense.
I'd avoid making a bunch of small rooms. You can use a variety of programs Microsoft Visio can do floor plans or you can always use a $2.50 pad of graph paper. I'd also make scale pieces of paper to reflect the kind of furniture you want to put in the basement. That way you can move them around on the floor plan to see how the plans will work.
Before starting though, you need to figure out what you want to do with the basement. Game room with a pool table, darts and a bar? Home Theater room? Extra bedroom, home office? Workshop and storage?
If you want to have a bedroom there it needs to have an egress other than going back up the stairs to the first floor. So an exterior door in the room or a window that is egress rated. There are specific size requirements for an egress window along with how high off the floor it can be. If the basement is underground you can still get an egress window by installing a special egress window well. http://www.bilco.com/foundatio...-Egress-Window-Wells These have the benefit of also allowing more natural light into the room.
If you're going for the home office don't forget networking. Wireless is nice but if you can get a wired connection to your router on the upper floors you'll have a better/faster connection. You can even have a wireless router cascaded off of the main router to give you good wireless coverage in the basement.
If you're looking to do an exercise room make sure you put in some dedicated 20 amp circuits for any equipment that requires power like a treadmill or elliptical trainer. If you're doing home theater don't forget to wire for speakers and give yourself a means to get the cables to the wall hung TV set or if you're going projection wires to the ceiling mounted projector.
There are a number of books at the home center or Amazon or Barnes and Nobles on the subject.
Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.
My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Thanks for the starter ideas. I'm in KY. I'll post again after getting into this.
or do what my dd did..they had a small powder room installed...dd then "water-proof" primed the walls and painted a neutral, the ceiling and pipes black...she used her furniture for "room" dividers...it was sort of an industral feel...
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