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Five Steps and Fixes to Make Before Finishing a Basement

Before you finish a basement, talk with a contractor about the waterproofing measures or repairs needed to keep your work safe.

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It takes a lot of time to finish off a basement. Before you start bringing in furniture or picking out paint swatches, however, you’ll want to take the following steps.

basement waterproofing and vapor barriers

Apply for the Right Permits 

Before you kick off any work around your home, you’ll want to make sure you have the right permits on hand. By ensuring your paperwork is all out of the way before you break ground, you can protect your home from any changing code in your area. That same paperwork can serve you well if you wish to sell your home after codes in your county or state have changed. 

Clear Away Any Unwanted Debris 

While you’re waiting for your paperwork to go through, you can make a point of going through your basement and identifying any belongings you don’t want to keep. You can also clean out any dust, dirt, or unwanted invaders that might make finishing your basement more difficult down the line. 

Tip: This is a great time to reach out to a contractor and inspect your basement for signs of water damage. 

Even if you’re not seeing anything right off the bat, a professional can help you identify the weaker parts of your home and recommend waterproofing measures that might spare you grief if you find yourself facing unanticipated levels of precipitation. 

It may also be in your best interest to have your preferred waterproofing measures installed at this stage of your work, as you won’t have to navigate around any accessories, wires, or other obstacles. 

Establish New Outlets and Light Sources 

As you move out of the prep phase and into the actual process of finishing your basement, you’ll want to make sure your wires and outlets are in the appropriate places. Professional electricians recommend that you place your electrical wires behind your walls to prevent unwanted damage. Do note, of course, that you do not have to try and wire your basement on your own, especially if you want to place new outlets. You should, however, have a basic idea of what kind of light fixtures you want to invest in. 

Insulate and Fill Your Walls 

As soon as your wires and outlets are in place, you can go about the process of insulating your basement. During this phase, you have the option of working with waterproof insulation, which can help prevent structural damage to both your basement and the rest of your home. A professional should be able to handle this task over the course of a day or two, depending on the size of your basement. 

Once your insulation is in place, you can install drywall between your structural supports. Be sure to look over the curing time for your specific brand of drywall before moving on to the next step. 

Research Your Preferred Waterproofing Solutions 

If you want to keep all your hard work intact, then you’re going to need to waterproof your basement before finishing it. The means that suit your home best are going to vary based on the kind of trouble you’ve dealt with before. At the end of the day, though, the professionals in your area can inspect your home, identify any weak points, and recommend the best waterproofing measures for your needs. 

These can include: 

  • An interior drainage system – In order to prevent any leaking water from getting into the rest of your basement, you need to intercept it right off the bat. That’s where an interior drainage system comes in. This series of specially designed drains is placed just underneath the basement floor to catch leaking water from the walls, floor, and wall-floor joint. Additionally, this system will help you eliminate much of the hydrostatic pressure that might otherwise cause your home’s stability to suffer. 
  • A sump pump – Once the leaking water has been collected by the interior drainage system, it needs somewhere to go. This water is then channeled to a sump pump system so it can be properly removed from your basement and directed far away from your foundation. This controlled removal of water and moisture from your home can help protect any changes you’ve made while finishing your basement off. 
  • A vapor barrier – More commonly seen in crawl spaces, vapor barriers installed by South Carolina professionals can go a long way when protecting your basement. This thick, plastic-like material prevents water in both its gaseous and liquid form from getting into your basement. You can have area professionals install a vapor barrier along your basement’s most sensitive walls to keep your basement dry. 
  • A dehumidifier – You cannot protect your basement with a dehumidifier alone. That does not mean, however, that a dehumidifier won’t help you control the amount of moisture your basement has to deal with. If you’ve noticed the humidity throughout your home ticking upward, you can contact area professionals and request that they install a non-commercial dehumidifier in your basement. Set the dehumidifier between 40 and 50% humidity and watch your basement thrive. 

Working with Experts in Your Area 

If you’re not sure where to start when finishing your basement, or if you’re concerned about the presence of water in your space, professionals working out of Columbia, SC, can help. Together, you can inspect your unfinished basement for weak spots or signs of water damage. If any turn up, you can request a free quote noting what repairs might help you restore your home’s value. Even if nothing is wrong, you can explore what waterproofing measures might help you protect a finished basement later down the line. 

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