Converting your basement into a separate apartment is a new trend that has gained immense popularity since the mortgage prices have skyrocketed. If you would like to learn the essentials on how to do this, we have prepared some helpful tips for you here. Let’s start off by understanding the challenges of such a conversion.
Challenges of converting basement into a separate apartment
Previously homeowners were choosing to convert extra yards across the garden into annexes or conservatories. That was so because converting your basement into a separate apartment came with its own sets of challenges, such as:
• Lack of sunlight and air: The biggest problem that a house owner faces with basements is lack of sunlight and air. However with developments in technology and advancement in architectural know how, these issues are no longer a hindrance.
• Plumbing and electrical fixtures: The biggest challenge that stopped homeowner from digging ten feet was water problems. As we all know that water runs from high ground to low ground. When you dig ten feet under, then getting water to run up was an issue. However again thanks to compact high performance pumps and other specialized toilet accessories that this problem is no longer a big challenge.
Reasons for converting
The reasons why people are now choosing basement conversion are:
• Cost effectiveness
If you are looking to expand your living space and you are thinking to add one floor or converting basement into an apartment, then choose the latter. It will cost 50% of the cost of adding a floor.
• Increase in the property value
Adding a basement unit will definitely increase your property value and may help you earn extra rental income.
Considerations for converting basement units into apartments
• Egress or door
An egress window or a door in the basement is a legal requirement these days. with this rule in practice, the window or egress can provide extra light and air to the dimly lit rooms and can really reduce the ‘dungeons feel’ from your basement units. Furthermore, it also lends a safety element to the house by giving a fire exit for people living downstairs. If you give your basement apartment a separate entrance then that will give your renovation extra value and will allow you to rent it out if the need arises.
• Plumbing and electrical work
For a basement apartment to function well, it needs to have its own bathroom and kitchen. Constructing bathroom and kitchen underground comes with its own sets of challenges. Top of the list amongst them are the plumbing lines. This is because the plumbing lines of the house will run through the basement unit. To install a bathroom you will be required to dig extra deep underneath the basement slab. This will obviously add to the cost of the unit.
To circumvent that, you can install high performance compact pumps and self-contained basement toilets. Similarly for the electrical fixtures you will be required to install new circuits and switch boards. Since basement units lack the natural air that most rooms have, installing air conditioners in there is not optional but a necessity. So make sure you keep the AC unit load in mind when putting the wiring in. If you want to install an air purifying system then decide it beforehand because it requires a complicated duct system and has a different type of electrical wiring.
It is imperative that you must not use inferior quality products when dealing with basement construction. Use the best techniques and materials and hire a full service basement contractor as basement construction is a whole different project. This is the only way to get the best results.
• Fire and fumes exits
When it comes to kitchen designing, then you cannot ignore the element of cooking. It is a fact that kitchen happens to be one of the most favorite rooms of homeowners. However, it is also the trickiest one. With the fire and fume that goes on in a kitchen, a hood over a hob is a must. You must provide a proper outlet for the fume from the hood. Similarly fumes from the oven need a proper outlet and therefore need your attention.
• Furniture and fixtures
Since the basement is already a tight spot, buying proper furniture and fixture for your newly renovated place is no small task. It could be a make or break situation. Always look for designs that are stackable and space saving. Since the basement unit lacks windows that most rooms on the ground have, going for heavy Victorian pieces underground is really not a good idea. The furniture should be lively and brightly colored and made up of light material. Do remember to consider the humidity factor when choosing the fabrics and materials to be used in the basement.