In basement-finishing-ideas there are several points that need to be considered in the basement planning stage. You will be wise to put all these points on paper before you ever start to build your home.

When we began building our home, we did not plan to build a basement. However, people kept telling us that it was smart to include a basement because the extra living and storage space was there automatically, and the increased cost would be minimal. Even though we did not plan to have a finished basement right away, the city would let us have an unfinished basement.

The city required a basement floor plan and window placement. Without even thinking of the upstairs floor-plan, we roughed it in on the basement plan to satisfy the city. In reality, we didn't give much thought to it and consequently made some bad decisions.

In retrospect, we would recommend several points that should be carefully considered while making your plans.

    1. Basement outside access

    2. Window placement,both up & down

    3. Inside stairway access

    4. Deck placement

    5. Overhangs from main floor

    6. Insulation needs (esp for overhang areas)

    7. Venting of upstairs utilities

    8. Placement of Furnace room in basement

Basement outside access

The importance of a basement outside entrance can't be overstressed too much. The cost to put one in when laying the foundation is so minimal compared to the labor and cost of adding it later. If there is any chance you are going to want one, do it when you lay the foundations.

Window placement

The basement floor plan and window placement is critical to consider. The window wells can be effected by upstairs windows, deck, and utility venting placement, and 18 inch overhangs for the main floor.

Inside stairway access

I discuss this in depth on my page about building stairs HERE (click).

Suffice it to say that adding an inside stairway "after the fact" will infringe upon one room or another in size. Also the direction to go down stairs will be determined by the length of the stairs, and head room, etc. See above link.

Overhangs from main floor

18 inch house overhang

When there is an 18 inch overhang, or any extended part, there should be no basement window under the overhang as it would make escaping the basement through that window more difficult, if you had to. Also the light would be hidden somewhat from the room below the overhang if a window was under the overhang.

Deck placement

When you are going to have a first floor deck, you cannot have a window in that area, for the same reasons above in #5. When you plan your basement-finishing-ideas this is a must.

Insulation needs

In the event again of an overhang, there becomes some immediate concerns for insulating the overhang so as to prevent infiltration of cold air in the winter and hot air in the summer, both of which will affect the temperature of the basement.

Venting of upstairs utilities

Again in basement-finishing-ideas , the placement of venting of main floor utilities particularly the dryer vent, should effect the placement of the windows in that NO WINDOW should be placed below a vent. An electric dryer is not as critical, however, moist air would be aimed directly into the window well, if the vent is placed above a window well. Also, in the event of you having a gas dryer, then the subject of carbon monoxide poisoning is a big problem with the vent above a window well. It absolutely will not pass inspection!

Placement of Furnace room in basement

Our HVAC man really "read us out" because of placing the furnace room on the wrong side of the house. It added all kinds of complications you can read about HERE.

cold air retun ductwork Suffice it to say that the return air line has to go the full length of the house and if the furnace is on the opposite side of the house, it is difficult to cross over if you have to cross the center support beam too. In any event, it is wise to consult with the HVAC man concerning placement of the furnace room when planning your basement-finishing-ideas. He'll tell you whether your thinking is good or not. Believe us, he WILL tell you.

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