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5 Expert-Approved Basement DIYs Any Homeowner Can Do

There are a few easy things you can do to make your basement a more comfortable and useful space. Learn five easy basement updates that you can DIY this winter.

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This winter, staying busy at home could mean revitalizing your basement with some DIY updates. Even though basements are usually the scariest part of the house, a little effort can help transform the rooms into usable square footage.

With these five easy DIY basement updates, you’ll get the satisfaction of accomplishment, the value of improving your home, and the ability to enjoy the upgrades for years to come. 

1. Add Basement Storage

Imagine how useful your basement could be if you had a tidy storage system. You can use it to store a stockpile of toilet paper, arrange your tools next to a workbench, organize outdoor gear into plastic tubs, and so much more. 

Start by adding a series of basement shelves to get things up off a basement floor. You can get freestanding shelving units from any home improvement store. Also, get a collection of plastic tote bins that can group together similar items. If you’d like some closed storage spaces, add in some cabinet units from a furniture store.

Beyond shelving, consider other ways to organize the things in your basement. For example, you can install bike racks and add pegboards to keep tools or sports equipment within reach. 

When to Call the Experts

Remember that a basement flood can quickly ruin all of the items you have stored in your basement. If your home has the potential for any water issues, you need an automatic sump pump. This can quickly resolve any issues, and if it has a backup battery, it will work even when the power has been knocked out. 

Installing a sump pump is important enough that you don’t want to try to DIY. With the cost of a basement flood averaging around $25,000, any preventive steps you take to avoid a basement flood are certainly worth the investment.

2. Paint the Basement Walls

A fresh coat of paint can make a huge impact on how your basement feels. Instead of a dingy space with the potential for lurking spiders, a newly painted basement can be a place you want to spend time. 

A newly painted basement can be so transformative that homeowners will frequently paint the basement walls before listing a house for sale. This can make it seem like an enormous blank canvas. It’s a high-impact way to make a house seem more attractive, but there’s no reason only new homeowners should enjoy a freshly painted basement space. 

You’ll get the best results from doing a coat of primer and then using durable paint in a light shade. And always remember to have good ventilation when painting. 

When to Call the Experts

Moisture issues in your basement could mean that newly painted walls will deteriorate within a season or two. Even if you have a finished basement with drywall in front of the concrete block, seeping moisture will mean that you’ll never get the finished look you want. 

To address ongoing water issues, call a basement waterproofing expert. A pro will be able to install a permanent and comprehensive system that resolves any issues. In the short term, this means you can get a clean finish on your walls. But it’s also important for the long term because basement waterproofing will help you protect your home’s foundation.

3. Install a Dehumidifier to Improve Air Quality

Dehumidifying your basement can have a bigger impact than you realize. Addressing air-quality issues can improve the comfort of the space and can help protect any items you have stored there. With the right setup, the space can be transformed from a damp or smelly cave into an inspiration-worthy living space like these cool basement wine cellars.

Adding a dehumidifier also affects the upper stories of your home. About half of your home’s air rises up from the basement, and resolving basement moisture issues can help you reduce home allergens, avoid mold, and improve how your house smells. 

Remember that mixing water and electricity can be dangerous. Make sure you have all safety measures in place to prevent electrical fires, water overflows, or blown fuses. 

When to Call the Experts

Small dehumidifiers need to be emptied and may not have the capacity to handle your square footage or the amount of moisture in the air. 

For a more effective and comprehensive solution, you may need a professional-grade dehumidification system. Not only can these systems be designed to address your home’s exact issues, but they can also offer a larger capacity, automatic drainage, and air purification.

4. Update a Drop Ceiling

The old drop ceiling tiles that are common in many basements can make the space seem dingy. These pebbled ceiling titles may even be stained for previous plumbing issues, or they may have yellowed over time. There’s an easy way to fix this without having to replace the entire ceiling. 

Vinyl replacement tiles can give you a fresh update and make it feel more like a living room than a basement. Simply size your new ceiling tiles to fit with your existing T-bar grid. Then pop out the old ceiling boards and pop in some fresh ones.

When to Call the Experts

If your basement’s drop ceiling is damaged or sagging, it might be an indication of a more significant issue, such as water damage, structural problems, or mold growth. In these cases, it’s best to consult a professional before attempting any DIY updates. They can assess the situation, recommend the necessary repairs, and ensure the safety and stability of your basement ceiling.

5. Create a Cozy Basement Living Area

Transform your basement into a comfortable living space by adding cozy furnishings, area rugs, and adequate lighting. Consider adding a sectional sofa, a TV or projector for movie nights, a game table, or even a small kitchenette. Personalize the space with artwork, plants, and other decor to make it feel more inviting.

By creating a dedicated space for relaxation and entertainment, you’ll be able to fully utilize your basement and add valuable square footage to your home.

When to Call the Experts

While setting up a cozy living area can be a fun DIY project, structural changes or major renovations in your basement should be done by professionals. If you notice any signs of structural damage, such as cracks in the walls or floors, uneven surfaces, or water leaks, it’s time to call in a foundation repair and basement waterproofing expert. These professionals can address any potential issues and ensure your basement is safe, dry, and ready for your transformation plans. It’s always better to address these potential problems early, as they can significantly impact your home’s overall structural integrity and value if left unchecked.