What to Do with a Basement

For many buyers, a basement is an added bonus. While it does not figure into the living space by most calculations, a basement may expand square-footage, improve storage, extend living space, and be that final trump card in the homebuying process. Or, it could be the worst possible nightmare. If you hope to buy or build a home with a basement, here are some things to think about—both positive and negative.

Types of basements

  • Cellar – a cellar is an old-fashioned word for an unfinished hole underneath a home’s foundation that may, or may not, be lined with concrete block, or concrete walls. In ancient houses, the cellar might be lined with hard-packed earth. Many times, cellars were used to store root vegetables and so earned the nickname “root cellar.” The underground temperature remains relatively constant throughout the year, so colder than outdoors in summer, but above freezing in winter, making it an ideal food storage place. After the advent of canning, added shelves created space for jars of canned goods and preserves.
  • Partial – a partial basement is a foundational basement (part of the home’s foundation) that is under only a portion of the house. Sometimes partial basements are used because there is an impediment to a full basement such as an underground boulder or other obstruction to digging a full basement. Other times it is an added feature so that mechanical items reside there, leaving space in the living floors for more storage and open planning.
  • Full – a full basement is one that is the complete foundation for a home. Full basements often have window wells (a window set below ground level with an enclosed “well” on the outside to hold the earth in place) for light, but not for egress. In a full basement, because of the lack of exit doors or windows, bedrooms are not up to code.
  • Walk-out – a walk-out basement typically sits into the side of a slope so that a portion of the basement is entirely in the earth and a part of the basement has exterior egress (i.e., you can walk out the door). Rooms with windows or doors on the walk-out side may be used as bedrooms.
  • Living height – some basements are not full height (less than 8 feet tall) and so typically are for storage and mechanical/plumbing items only. A living-height basement has a full 8-foot or higher ceiling and is suitable for finishing as living space.
  • Unfinished – in new-builds, basements typically are not finished, and it is up to the homebuyer to frame in rooms and add walls, floors, and ceilings. An unfinished, living-height basement is the perfect blank slate for creating a man-cave, media or game room, or a crafting area. Often in older homes, laundry facilities sat in the basement as well.
  • Finished – a finished basement means that the exterior walls have drywall or another wall finish, the floor joists for the floor above are covered by ceiling material (drywall, insulated ceiling panels, etc.), the concrete floor has tile, carpet, or other flooring and the area has ventilation (HVAC) lights and power outlets. If your basement is already finished, all you have to do is set it up the way you like.

Basements can be a blessing or a curse. If your basement needs some TLC, seek a professional basement contractor with experience on waterproofing and extending the HVAC to handle the extra space.

Small Home Problems you Should not Ignore

Owning your own home is a beautiful feeling. However, this feeling comes with the responsibility of maintenance. This maintenance does not apply only to appliances, but also the small problems that you tend to overlook in an apartment. When you fail to address these little problems on time in a house, however, it may result in more significant problems with a bill of a few hundred dollars turning into thousands. To prevent the worst from happening, here are small homes issues that you need to catch on time:

Faucet and pipe Leak

A leaky faucet or a slight leak in a pipe in the wall may seem like nothing to be worried about, but if left unattended, it could lead to severe damages. Failing to fix a leaky faucet at a slow drip can lead to expensive water bills as well as resulting in drain clogs and overflow. Furthermore, if a pipe in the wall has even a slight leak, neglecting it can damage the walls which can cause a serious issue that can impact your home’s structure negatively.

Stain on the ceiling 

A weird blemish or damp spot on your ceiling is typically a sign of roof leakage. However, if you neglect the stain, then your ceiling could collapse because the drywall lining won’t be able to hold the weight of water. In a worst-case scenario, untreated stains may result in dry rot in the roof beams which may cause structural damage and illness from mold growth.

Sticking doors

If you have sticking doors, they may not seem not like a big deal, but they are caused by expansion because too much moisture gets into your home. If your entry does not close properly, it will be difficult for you to heat a room efficiently, leading to a higher energy bill. Also, the moisture that gets into your room can lead to the growth of mold spores which are harmful to your health.

Dull hardwood flooring

“What possibly could go wrong?” is the question many homeowners ask when they notice the protective top coat of their hardwood floor has dulled or worn out. However, leaving a dull hardwood floor untreated will make it prone to discoloration and dirt, and you could possibly end up spending several thousand dollars on replacing the entire floor.

Missing or damaged caulk around the tub

If you notice some water is seeping behind your wall tiles or your tub, you need to seek the services of an experienced plumber or tile repair person as soon as possible. Leaving damaged caulk untreated can lead to dangerous mold deposits and also ruin the floors of the bathroom.

Do not ignore small signs of issues in your home and call a general contractor if you are unsure of the cause.

How to Prevent Bathroom Falls

Despite its beautiful innocent look, the bathroom is potentially one of the most dangerous places in a home. Each year, thousands of bathroom accidents occur as a result of slipping and falling – and in other cases, hot water burns. Using the toilet, getting out of the shower or tub could turn to a hazardous situation. As a result of this, listed here are some bathroom safety tips that can help prevent injuries in the bathroom:

Install non-slip Surfaces

The causes of falls in a bathroom most time is due to slippery surfaces. Installing a non-slip surface is an effective way to prevent slipping in a bathroom. It is a sound investment for your safety and that of your loved ones. Bathroom tiles are also dangerous, especially when wet. You can apply a non-slip decal to the tiles to increase their grip. Avoid scatter rugs because they make it easy for people to trip over or fall.

Improve Accessibility

Since it is easy to fall and sustain an injury in the bathroom, it is essential to make sure essential items are within reach. In the bath or shower, be sure to have your shampoo, soap, conditioner, toothbrush, towels and other bathing accessories where you can quickly get across to them.

Get Rid of Obstacles

Items placed in hard-to-reach areas like the side of the bathtub can cause slips and falls. Install a walk-in shower or tub to reduce unnecessary movement. Having an organizer or bathroom rack to hold all your accessories is also a good idea.

Reduce risk of Overexertion

Besides falls, overexertion is also one of the significant causes of bathroom injuries. Installing accessories like a secured bath seat and a raised seat for the toilet will prevent overexertion. 

Improve Visibility

A well-lit bathroom is a safe bathroom. Installing night lights in the bathroom and the walkway leading to it helps to reduce accidents. Lighting is especially useful at night when it is dark, and the risk of slips is higher.

Keep the bathroom dry

A wet bathroom is a severe hazard to avoid. Look out for leaks and other issues that can cause water to be on the floor. You should also ensure that your bathroom cover is also waterproof and positioned in a way that directs water away from the floor. Have a mop on the floor too to dry any water after showers.Bathroom injuries can be dangerous, but they are preventable. The tips listed above go a long way in making reducing the tendency of injuries.