Basement conversion for residential purposes – an essential guide

Would you like to finally change the sad and unfinished look of your basement, but don’t quite know how? Do you dream of a cellar that will provide you with a place to escape from your everyday worries? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to touch on the topic of how to remodel your basement for living purposes and provide you with some of the most important things to consider for this project.

Lighting

When starting this project, first of all you need to make sure that the basement is well lit, which often implies enlarging the window openings or making new ones. It is assumed that the area of windows in rooms should not be less than one-eighth of the floor area, while in rooms not intended for permanent human residence – less than one twelfth. This is easiest to achieve in shallow basements, where the sills are located between 15 and 20 cm above the ground level. In the case of windows with a height of at least 90 cm, it will be more advantageous to cut out new openings or widen the existing ones.

Room height

What should you do if you want to have residential rooms in the adapted basement and their height, according to the applicable regulations should not be lower than 2.5 m? It depends on many factors such as the depth of the building foundation, width and height of footings, ground water level or type and quality of materials used for the foundations and load-bearing walls. You should ask your designer for help in this matter. Partial lowering of the floor level is usually the easiest and cheapest way to increase the height of these rooms. Optimally, this can be achieved by removing the top floor layers and deepening the basement to at most the top of the footings.

Thermal insulation

With regard to the current regulations for living spaces, basement walls in old houses usually do not have sufficient thermal insulation. Thus, heating costs can be higher. There are two ways to remedy this. Insulating the walls on the outside will be the best solution, as it will eliminate the formation of thermal bridges. However, this will require at least partial excavation of the basement walls. This pays off in houses with shallow basements or in houses that need to dry the walls and install new damp-proof or waterproof insulation. Insulating walls from the inside will be less effective. Such a solution pays off in houses with deep and dry basements, where the walls do not require the repair of the damp insulation. It consists in fixing two layers of foamed polystyrene or mineral wool with the total thickness of 6-10 cm inside the rooms.

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