My Basement Remodeling Project- what went right and wrong

Turning that unfinished basement from a cold, damp and dreary place was one of the best things we did. Besides making use of existing space, we also turned it into a welcome and pleasant space that could be used by teens, guests, an au pair suite or a home office. Overall we made some very good choices and everything went relatively well.

What we did
The basement now consists of a kitchen/laundry room, bedroom, storage room, hallway, bathroom and living room with fireplace Take a look at some before and after pictures of the kitchen/laundry room. We also have before and after pictures of the living room with fireplace.

Rough plumbing a new bathroom and kitchen in basement  Right side kitchen laundry room

Digging up basement for new plumbing  Far side of kitchen

What went Right?

  1. Instead of ripping out the wood paneling, we just put in 2 x 6 framing and insulated. The old basement was like a freezer during winter. Now, you can wear a t shirt in there during winter. In fact it is the warmest room in the house.
  2. Dry walling the entire space and making a two closets (one 3 foot and the other 5 foot) and adding a storage room. You'd be surprised how fast space fills up and how important that storage space is. We hung huge shelves in the storage room to maximize the space.
  3. Putting Crema Marfil marble slabs on the fireplace surround and also using 12" x 12" Creama Marfil tiles on the fire place hearth. Really finished the room.
  4. Installing a gas fireplace in the basement. Not needed most of the time, but nice to have.
  5. Installing Engineered wood floor in the main room that had the fireplace and bedroom next door. A glueless installation made this pretty easy. We tiled everywhere else in the hall and downstairs kitchen/laundry room. With the tile, we're not worried about debris from the yard and garage as much as we would with the engineered hardwood floor.
  6. Installing those Lowes cabinets downstairs. We entertain a lot so the downstairs kitchen really comes in handy when preparing food for all those guests.

What went Wrong?

  1. Not installing Roxul soundproofing and fireproofing between the bedroom and the main room. There's a TV set in the main room and when it's on, it is difficult to sleep or concentrate in the bedroom.
  2. Not installing 5/8 inch dry wall on the ceilings and also Roxul where possible. In the kitchen there's a drop ceiling so this it's not possible there.
  3. Not checking the existing sewer lines from the new basement kitchen and bathroom to see if the were in good shape. We eventually had to do this, but luckily did not have to tear up the new kitchen or bathroom. The garage underwent some digging.
  4. No properly planning the cabinets above the washer and dryer. We would have preferred that the washer and dry stand on those pedestals that are used for storing detergent.

Please see related articles and all of our articles on basements.