How to plan for a basement renovation

When it comes to renovations, basements can be tricky. There are many potential complicating factors like foundation cracks, musty smells and improper utility installations. Besides simply style and function, there are also things like the foundation, flooring and furnace to consider. Here are a few tips on how to renovate your basement without breaking the bank:

  • Look for signs of moisture before you start renovating. You don’t want all your hard work to be washed away in a flood come spring.
  • Keep the layout open. The basement is typically an “anything space” that different people will use for various things. Keep the options open when you’re renovating.
  • The last things you want in your basement are rodents and insects. Keep a close eye on points of entry for these pests to keep them from squatting in your walls.
  • Add a storage room. You can never have enough storage and it’s best to keep things out of sight if you want to use the space for entertaining. It’s not necessary to finish the storage room so you can save money on drywall, paint and carpet.
  • If you don’t have the budget to replace everything, don’t open up more than you know you can afford. If you open up the walls, you may find problems that need to be addressed before putting up new drywall. So, it’s best to just repaint the walls and wait for a time when you can afford to put all the money you need into a full renovation behind the walls.
  • Disguise bulkheads by hiding them in walls and ceilings so you don’t have them disrupting the flow of the basement.
  • Pick proper flooring. Hardwood looks nice, but it is rarely the right choice for a basement because of the unstable levels of humidity. Your best option is to go with laminate or carpet. It’s cheaper and easier to clean than hardwood and you don’t need to worry about humidity causing damage with expansion and contraction.
  • If you can’t afford pot lights which are streamlined and nice to look at, go with track lighting to make the room have a more up-to-date feel than a single light source in the middle of the room.
  • Plan ahead for a rental suite. Put in hook-ups for appliances and add in a full bathroom so that if at some point down the road you want to turn it into a rental suite, the work is already mostly done.
  • Get a home inspection if you’re buying the property. This way, you will have fewer surprises when the renovations start.


Whether you’re flipping a home or just looking to upgrade your own basement, these tips will help you stay on budget and schedule. You’re ready to start that basement renovation now – good luck!