Basement Remodeling For Older Homes

Many older homes have basements that have remained unfinished from the day the house was built. These were meant only as a place to keep the mechanical guts of the house, such as heating and cooling systems and other utilities. But with additional living space a priority for today’s homeowners, it’s important to get any usable square footage that you can, and the basement is usually the best place to get that. When it comes to older basements, it’s important to understand that there may be a good deal of preparation required to make the space liveable.

Moisture and Mold

One of the most common issues with basements in older homes is that they can be damp. Because of excess moisture, they can even become breeding grounds for mold. Moisture issues can occur simply due to not having the proper waterproofing material installed below ground. Older stone or brick foundations commonly have this problem. Even concrete block foundations with older waterproofing and draining systems may need to be fixed to make them functional again. Before the basement finishing even begins, make sure that water isn’t regularly entering the basement. Also, if mold has become an issue, remediation must happen before continuing any basement remodel.

Grading Issues for Water Runoff

It’s also important to note that many homes built prior to 1940 were not built to have sufficient grading for water runoff. Improper grading can lead to standing water next to your foundation, eventually leading to cracks in the foundation and other problems. Even if your home is newer than that, you still need to be wary of any signs of foundation damage. Before you go about finishing your basement, any foundation issues must be repaired. If these foundation problems do exist, you may have to look into installing foundation drain tile (a requirement in many newer building codes) or even as far as grading your yard to prevent future water drainage issues. Proper gutters and downspouts are a must, as well, as they can tend to be one of the major factors in water pooling too close to the house.

Proper Insulation and Moisture-Resistant Materials a Must

Once any existing moisture or mold issues are resolved. Any wood framing should be treated to resist moisture. Also, mold and mildew resistant drywall should be used, and vapor barriers and insulation need to be properly installed. In addition, This Old House recommends basement subflooring which creates air gaps below the floor using corrugated or cleated plastic panels that typically come in 2×2 foot interlocking panels. This plastic acts as an additional moisture barrier which will help keep the finishing flooring dry.

Health and Safety Concerns

Air quality is a main concern when remodeling an older basement. Beyond existing mold, there is the potential for radon particles in the air. Radon can be easily tested for and dealt with before any finishing work is underway, as once finishing is done, existing radon can become trapped. While it is a radioactive gas, radon typically doesn’t exist in the air in enough amount to cause any problem. But if it is allowed to build up to toxic levels, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon typically is an issue when it comes to older stone foundations and extra radon can seep in through cracks in concrete floors. This is an important consideration when finishing your basement, as it is yet another thing that must be dealt with immediately.

Other important concerns that need to be keep in mind include old or faulty electrical work, proper entrance and egress, smoke & carbon monoxide detectors, and adequate ventilation. Checking local municipal building codes for any other requirements is a must, as well.

Finishing basements in older homes can do a lot for your home, not only giving you additional living space, but ensuring that your home’s foundation is protected from long-term damage. It also makes certain that your home is safe from air quality issues such as mold or radon. Not to mention, basement remodels greatly increase the value of your home.

 

Turn Your Basement Into an Indoor Sports Gym

Looking for time and space so you can play your favorite sports year-round? Not enough commitment or desire to run back and forth from local sports gyms? Try repurposing your basement space to create an indoor sports gym. Which sports you include are up to you. Some ideas include an indoor basketball court, an indoor football field, boxing area, fencing area, martial arts area, mini golf, and more. Be creative, as well as practical when choosing the sports that work best for your home.

Finding a  Reputable Contractor

The first step in creating your indoor sports gym is finding a reputable remodeling  contractor, such as Remodel Werks. A licensed contractor who is experienced in basement remodels is necessary for this kind of project. Permits will need to be pulled and any construction needs to be up to code. Experience is also important, due to the fact that specific materials need to be used for flooring and other aspects of a project, such as this one.

Decide Which Sports to Accomodate

How much space do you have? Discuss with your contractor what’s possible and choose the number of your favorite sports that will work for the area. Consider what you’re most likely to play, as well as what friends and family would participate in. Many people choose sports like bowling, mini golf, swimming, or basketball. However, a basement sports gym can be remodeled to include just about any sport.

Consider Usage, Space, and Lifestyle

When planning for your new basement sports gym, think about the way you intend to use it. Should it be designed for mostly your own personal use, for a family, or for a large number of friends? Will you need an extra living space or a place to relax, in addition to the sports area? Discuss your lifestyle, as well as the space available with your licensed contractor. Together, you can come up with something that incorporates various aspects of your lifestyle and usage of the space.

Remember Small Details

Whether it’s the type of flooring you prefer, a question about something your contractor suggested, or a change that seems tiny, communication is key. Keep a notebook with every detail, both large and small. This will help you remember the small details you’d like to discuss and have incorporated. Mention these items as soon as you can for the best results. Even small details are important to factor into the whole equation and can make all the difference in a successful outcome.

Enjoy Your Home Sports Gym

Once you and your contractor have discussed the way things should go and everyone has a clear picture, construction can begin. This is an exciting phase of remodeling, as you can see your dream coming together. As soon as this process is complete, the only thing left to do is enjoy your new home sports gym. Be sure to invite your favorite people over to show it off too…err, play your favorite sports with.

Call your contractor today to discover the possibilities of creating a home sports gym in your basement.

 

Breaking Ground in Your Remodel Project Before Winter

 

Wintertime doesn’t have to ruin your remodel project. However, there are some steps you should take when you’re close to winter and in the process of a rehab. Breaking ground before the cold weather hits is essential. Doing so helps avoid costly delays and issues further along in the process. The hardest part about remodeling in the winter is getting the ground to cooperate. There are actually many reasons why it’s important to get started well in advance of those colder months.

Cold Ground is Difficult for Several Reasons

Digging is possible in colder weather, but of course, it will be much easier when the ground is not solid or covered in snow or ice. While digging may be possible, some other things may not work well in the colder weather and require waiting for the ground to become softer. Freezing temperatures can also create other problems, such as with concrete. It will not set properly below specific temperatures. Plumbing is another problem area when it comes to cold weather, as pipes can freeze and break. Anything related to water should be handled above freezing temperatures.

Stay Closer to Budget

Untimely delays and unexpected issues can sometimes eat into the budget. Breaking ground before winter can help avoid some of this. Help things stay on track by getting ahead of the colder weather and communicating openly with your contractor about all concerns and changes as quickly as possible. If you simply must do the remodel during the winter months, have your contractor complete the major outdoor and plumbing work done before the cold hits. Your contractor may need to put some things on hold if the work is started too late. Also, some things that are possible during cold weather may be more costly, due to the extra efforts required.

Certain Aspects May Be Put on Hold if You Wait

By hiring your licensed contractor to break ground before the colder months, you’ll avoid costly or inconvenient delays. Some things may need to be put on hold if it’s especially cold. For instance, it’s not a good idea to pour concrete when temperatures are below freezing point. If you have a bigger project, it’s wise to first take care of anything that requires working on areas that are exposed to elements. In most instances, these things would likely be first anyhow. However, if the contractor is not hired in time to complete them before cold weather, this is where the delays can come in.

Finish Faster Before Winter

One benefit to breaking ground before winter is the possibility of getting a project finished more quickly. When you aren’t worried about the weather, things are able to move along much faster. This isn’t to say things will always be perfect when it isn’t winter, as unexpected things are possible in any remodeling project. This could be due to unexpected discoveries, changes in materials or design, and more. However, avoiding cold weather can certainly eliminate a large variety of issues from the equation.

Indoor Sports Gym and Work-Out Rooms

Looking for time and space so you can play your favorite sports year-round? Not enough commitment or desire to run back and forth from local sports gyms? Try repurposing your basement space to create an indoor sports gym. Which sports you include are up to you. Some ideas include an indoor basketball court, an indoor football field, boxing area, fencing area, martial arts area, mini golf, and more. Be creative, as well as practical when choosing the sports that work best for your home.

Finding a Reputable Contractor

The first step in creating your indoor sports gym is finding a reputable remodeling  contractor, such as RemodelWerks. A licensed contractor who is experienced in basement remodels is necessary for this kind of project. Permits will need to be pulled and any construction needs to be up to code. Experience is also important, due to the fact that specific materials need to be used for flooring and other aspects of a project, such as this one.

Decide Which Sports to Accomodate

How much space do you have? Discuss with your contractor what’s possible and choose the number of your favorite sports that will work for the area. Consider what you’re most likely to play, as well as what friends and family would participate in. Many people choose sports like bowling, mini golf, swimming, or basketball. However, a basement sports gym can be remodeled to include just about any sport.

Consider Usage, Space, and Lifestyle

When planning for your new basement sports gym, think about the way you intend to use it. Should it be designed for mostly your own personal use, for a family, or for a large number of friends? Will you need an extra living space or a place to relax, in addition to the sports area? Discuss your lifestyle, as well as the space available with your licensed contractor. Together, you can come up with something that incorporates various aspects of your lifestyle and usage of the space.

Remember Small Details

Whether it’s the type of flooring you prefer, a question about something your contractor suggested, or a change that seems tiny, communication is key. Keep a notebook with every detail, both large and small. This will help you remember the small details you’d like to discuss and have incorporated. Mention these items as soon as you can for the best results. Even small details are important to factor into the whole equation and can make all the difference in a successful outcome.

Enjoy Your Home Sports Gym

Once you and your contractor have discussed the way things should go and everyone has a clear picture, construction can begin. This is an exciting phase of remodeling, as you can see your dream coming together. As soon as this process is complete, the only thing left to do is enjoy your new home sports gym. Be sure to invite your favorite people over to show it off too…err, play your favorite sports with.

Call your contractor today to discover the possibilities of creating a home sports gym in your basement.

 

Benefits of an Efficiency Apartment in Your Basement

There are many reasons homeowners may decide on turning their basement into an efficiency apartment. Whether it’s for financial security in alternative income purposes, for the comfort of family, or to entertain guests, learn why you might love the benefits of an efficiency apartment in your basement.

Extra Rental Income

Use your extra basement rooms to your advantage by making a great space for renters. An efficiency apartment can easily provide a lasting income option. When planning your basement rooms, think of it as it’s own separate home. This will help ensure it becomes an apartment your renters will love. Your licensed contractor can help with this aspect. If you ever decide to sell your home, having an efficiency apartment could add value to your home and make it easier to sell.

Nicer Guest Room Space

When family and friends visit, it’s nice to have a place to put them, other than the couch. Giving them a space they can call their own while visiting will help them feel more welcome. Putting the guest quarters in the basement leaves more room for creativity and space. Imagine how comfortable your guests will be with their own apartment. At a later date, when you no longer have guests, you might opt to rent out the efficiency apartment for extra income.

Private Area for Aging Parents

Much like the guest area, aging parents would be happy with their own separate area. As parents grow old, they sometimes need extra care or have other reasons to be closer to loved ones. At the same time, they are adults and may want to feel independent. An efficiency apartment gives them the best of both of worlds. They can have their privacy, yet still have loved ones close by, if needed. If caregiving is needed, that could easily be you. If a professional caregiver is required, the separate space would likely make it easier. Even if your parents don’t require caregiving, it may still be a good idea to keep them close, for family or personal reasons.

Private Area for Older Children

When your children grow older, they may crave and even need their own space. Some may enjoy the efficiency apartment in teenage years, while others may be thankful to have it during college or tough times in adulthood. You may find both to true for your family. When you have an efficiency apartment in your basement, it helps ensure your kids will always have a place to come to if they need it. This should give everyone some peace of mind.

Professional Office For Home-Based Business

Do you run your own business or work in a business that requires a professional space to meet with clients or customers? An efficiency apartment can be a great space to use for this purpose. This would help cut down on commuting costs, as well as the cost of renting an office space or storefront. Having this space in your basement keeps you close to home, while still keeping g the business space separate from the living space.

Shrewsbury Remodelers Use Digital Media to Boost Customer Satisfaction

The demand for remodeling services in Shrewsbury has risen significantly over the last couple of years. Kermit Baker, a director for Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard said that recent data shows the need for remodeling services may surpass the peak in 2007. Competition is increasingly in line with the market, which is forcing remodelers to leverage new digital media to improve the quality of the services that they provide.

How Will Digital Technology Affect the Remodeling Industry?

Since the Massachusetts remodeling industry is on the verge of rapid market growth, contractors must offer their services more efficiently and find more effective ways to reach customers. There are a number of ways that they are taking advantage of new technology to reach their goals.

Bruce Case, president of Case Design/Remodeling, told CNBC that social media has been a very effective outlet for reaching new customers. “Most of us got into this remodeling business because we love the smell of sawdust, we love design, we’re passionate about homes,” said Case. “Now we have to be experts in social media and all these other platforms.”

Social media isn’t just more efficient for finding new leads. It is also becoming essential for earning trust and bidding against other competitors. Consumers have abandoned using the Yellow Page and started turning to platforms such as Yelp and Houzz to locate contractors. There are a number of reasons these websites are preferable to the old Yellow Pages:

  • Contractors can update their information immediately, which makes it easier for customers to reach them.
  • Customers can view feedback from other homeowners, which helps them choose the right contractor.
  • These websites can be accessed on any device in a matter of seconds.

These websites are clearly simplifying life for both homeowners and contractors throughout Massachusetts. They are even playing an important role for the remodeling industry in Shrewsbury and the surrounding area. There are currently 406 contractors in the area listed on Yelp. Feedback among prior customers shows that the quality of these remodelers varies considerably, so these sites make it much easier for customers to make unequivocal comparisons.

At Remodel Werks, we have found that sites such as Houzz have been especially beneficial. They have helped us draw more qualified leads, so we can work with the clients that are the best fit. We have also received great reviews from previous customers such as this:

“We would highly recommend Remodelwerks. Joe and his crew created a fantastic entertainment room in our basement. We are very pleased with the result, and our kids and their friends love this new, appealing space of their own. Mark and Ron did the majority of the work. These guys are hardworking, skilled, and professional. It was a pleasure having them in our home. Remodelwerks attended to every detail, and Joe did an excellent job of designing and coordinating the project. He was at our home regularly to check on progress and kept us informed about the schedule. We will definitely hire Remodelwerks for future projects.”

Since people are highly influenced by feedback from other customers, we appreciate receiving such reviews. They prove that we take pride in the work that we deliver to our customers.

Benefits of Installing a Basement Kitchen

There are many benefits to having an extra kitchen installed in the basement. This can ring true whether your household is large or small. If you ever wondered what to do to make your basement more useful, this is one way many people have done so. Get  more use out of your basement with an extra kitchen. This could also save you time and money — and possibly even help you earn some money too! Read more

Choosing Flooring For Your Basement

This questions comes up a lot: “What type of flooring do you recommend for our finished basement”?

 

We’re going to answer this in a general sense. The real answer will come from a detailed design process in order to really give you our best recommendation. Most basements start out with concrete flooring. If you’re going to feel comfortable using your basement, the first thing you want to do is cover that up with something much more comfortable, useful, and appealing to the eye. Most importantly, you’ll need to consider the use of the space, and the possibility that some basements could be damper than your main living areas.

 

But how do choose the best options? When choosing flooring for your basement, there are some important things to consider.

 

Shrewsbury Basement Remodel 3D Rendering

(3D Rendering of a recent Shrewsbury Basement Remodeling Project)

 

What Will Your Basement Be Used For?
Before installing flooring it’s wise to think about what the space will be used for. For instance, Engineered Hardwood flooring or Vinyl flooring may work best for a basement area designed for a dance studio, dance floor for entertaining, or a yoga room. But if you’re using your basement space as a home theater, you might choose carpet for comfort. On the other hand, a kitchen basement may be better served by linoleum or tile flooring.

 

Do You Have Kids or Pets?
If you have kids or pets, chances are they might track who knows what onto the floor. Pets also might tear up carpet or scratch up other flooring surfaces. Those with pets should choose a flooring surface that will be easy to clean, as well as harder to damage than some others. Most people do not want to keep replacing flooring every time a child or pet does something destructive. Making appropriate choices can help avoid this and other issues in the future. You could think about tile, vinyl flooring, or even the right kind of Engineered Hardwood flooring.

 

What’s Your Personal Style?
Once all of the above points have been established, think about your personal style. You and your remodel contractor should come up with a flooring choice that not only works with the above issues, but also fits your style. After all, you will need to live with the design choice. Therefore, it should be something that makes you happy.

 

Break it Up
Depending on the size of your finished space, many homeowners will choose to have different floor types in different areas of the basement. Technology has advanced pretty far int he past decade, so many of the traditional flooring options may have similar products available in high traffic or high moisture situations.

Thanks for reading. Here is some more information:

 

Mistakes Home Remodeling Newbies Should Avoid

So, you’re thinking about renovating your home. You’ve secured the necessary finances and you’re ready to dive into your remodeling plans. Congratulations! But, with your leap into renovation station may come some angst, understandably.

RemodelWerks understands the nervousness many homeowners often feel when they begin to plan for a major home renovation, whether it’s to add an updated kitchen, a serene master bedroom retreat or a sprawling basement playland that’s perfect for entertaining or just chilling out. But, we believe that by following some of the tips we’ve got outlined below, any anxiety you may feel about your home remodel will disappear as in as little time as it takes for you to say, “Remodel Werks: Tear down that wall!” Read more

Remodeling Cost-Value Analysis: Something Every Homeowner Should Consider

If you’re thinking about remodeling your home, you’ve got a big decision to make. Home renovations require a fair amount of planning and financial preparation. Here at RemodelWerks we understand that and encourage our clients to take a focused look at the types of home renovations that will work best for their families and for their financial portfolio. For starters, think: What’s the likely return on investment during resale? Read more