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basement renovation

Home Improvement

I recently completed a renovation of my basement. The remodel consisted of adding a kitchen, renovation of a family room/game room, a bedroom, bathroom, and turning what was a weird bathtub room into a laundry room. When I bought the house I thought it would be great to turn the basement in to some type of air bnb rental, part way through the remodel it was decided we would just use the space ourselves and not rent it out. I tried to keep everything simple enough that I could do the work by myself  and without the project me driving crazy. 

Laundry to Kitchen Before and After 

Most elements of the kitchen came from Ikea including The solid oak butcher block counter tops, sink, and faucet. In the original layout there were ductss running above and through the tong and grove cabinets. I framed in a soffit to conceal them and gave the room a cleaner look. The laundry hook ups and furnace access doors where moved into the bathtub room.

At this point budges were getting a bit tight so instead of a tile backsplash I used and oak board which I added a chamfer to the top to match some of the cabinet details. this is mostly just a wet bar so i don’t think a full tile backslash was functionally necessary.

Another detail I thought turned out nice was the use of the excess counter (I had to buy it because they only come in set lengths) to create a waterfall edge on the long row of base cabinets. By doing the waterfall counter top on this one side you never see the sides of any of the ikea cabinets. The ikea cabinets come with finish panels for the sides but I never think they look quite as nice.

Family Room Before and After 

I kept the original wood paneling in this room which I think adds some nice texture to the wall. Since this is a basement and there is limited natural light I a played with adding some color change led washes. I think they are fun and they can help to set the scene when I am running dnd games.

bathRoom Before and After 

This is the area I most drastically changed the layout blocking what was a passage to another room with a new shower

Bedroom Before and After 

Not sure why the one existing wall doesn’t touch the ground in this room. I think it could have something to do with the original furnace needing to draw air from there as the furnace is just on the other side of that wall. I decided to keep the wall as it was but added a little finished fir grill, which I think makes a cool accent.

Bathrub to Luandry Before and After 

The bathtub room became became the Laundry/ Mech room. The Furnace, waterheater, main waterline, main drain, and electrical panel all come into this room so I left it fairly rough so I have good access to all of them.

The Process 

When I purchased the house it smelled a bit mildewy in the basement, and unfortunately soon after purchasing the house cracks in the foundation that had been patched with drywall compound soon opened up and it was apparent the basement had a bit of a water problem. The finish of the basemtn walls was just texture and paint applied directly to the concrete foundation. Part of the water problem was cause by some negative drainage on the outside of the house, which I fixed. I then had all the foundation cracks epoxy patched and sealed water tight. I also tore out all the carpet and anything that had any water damage.

I didn’t do anything else to the basement for a couple years after this as it became apparent that this would be a bigger project than I had thought. The upside of not doing anything to the basement for a couple years was I got to check on everything and make sure my water issues had been fixed.

When I got back to the project all the foundation walls had big ugly epoxy patches and I knew I would need to frame out all the foundation walls to cover the patches. I figured since I had demoed so much of the basement I should just keep going and clear anything else out I didn’t Like.

The carpet had multiple pads underneath it from previous carpets, and the last layer was glued to the concrete slab. scraping the slab of all the pad and glue was very time consuming and not fun. The old carpet was the primary source of the old mildew smell. I removed a couple walls in the bathtub room and framed in a new shower in the connecting doorway between bathroom and bathtub room. Much of the basement wall board was fiberboard (I guess this is something they did in the 40’s?) the fiberboard had sagged and looked pretty terrible so I removed all the fiberboard. I figured basements are cold so I added 1.5″ of xps to the foundation, giving me and additional R7.5 (R8 with gypboard) around the whole perimeter which warmed the basement up considerably. I also repaced all the surface mount ceiling light fixtures with can lights, and I had the electrical panel for the house redone.


At this point I figured it would be good to have a plan, so I threw everything into Sketchup 

The idea was that this could be a standalone one bedroom apartment. Kelsey and I ultimately decided we didn’t want to rent out the basement and wanted to just keep the space for ourselves. Also the idea of having a game room to host dungeons and dragons in was very motivating for me.

I got all the framing done, sheet rocked everything , and Hired someone for the tape and texture. I new I wanted to do a floating LVT in the basement, but I really hate when you can feel air pockets underneath it . The slab had some fairly large cracks and rock pocket. I used a 7″ grinder to hit all the high spots and then we poured about 650lbs of self leveling concrete to fill all the cracks and rock pockets and level everything. The self leveling concrete worked great. in the pictures it looks swirly but it turned out super smooth and and made the floors feel really good. I got a great deal on lvt from a rep and ended up installing a heavy commercial rated LVT with a rigid layer and cork underlayment built in. the cork underlayment really makes the floors feel warmer. I hired a great guy to do the tile in the bathroom, I learned a ton just watching him work.

I figured a game room needs a nice big table so I borrowed my neighbors welder welded up a light frame and then used a pieces of finished plywood that I had been using as a work bench the whole project flipped it over and it became the tabletop.

Before Images 

Here is what the basement looked like when I purchased the house. unfortunately I took very few before picture

after Images 

We didn't end up renting out the Basement but the Kitchen and Game room make for a fun space to have people over. 

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