What to consider when finishing a basement

A basement can be a hangout haven for your family and guests or it can be a space you spent thousands of dollars on that has simply become a junk pile of old exercise equipment, clothes, and seasonal decorations you hardly ever use.

There are two options when it comes to a basement: a finished basement or an unfinished basement.

Here are the pros and cons of letting your basement remain unfinished as your complete the construction of your home.

Pros

An unfinished basement obviously has lower construction costs. To finish the construction on this bottom level, you need to make sure all of the walls are insulated. The amount and thickness of your insulation depends on the climate you live in, but it’s additional money nonetheless.

If damage occurs in the pipes and wiring, it will be easier to fix them with an unfinished basement. The pipes and wires are exposed, allowing for problems to be fixed faster and without the hassle and cost of removing drywall to uncover the problem area.

Floods occur often, and basements are the first rooms in a home to be destroyed. With an unfinished basement, you have nothing to lose and costs for repairing damage are typically lower. It’s certainly less devastating when the flood affects an empty room rather than ruining your movie theater setup with the big TV and leather couches.

Unfinished basements certainly pose no threat to increasing your utility bill. With a finished basement, you have to pay for more lighting, heating, and cooling—vamping up your monthly bills.

If you’re building a home and your budget is running low, consider keeping the basement unfinished for the time being. You can then save up to transform the basement into something you’ve always wanted at a later date.

Cons

An unfinished basement provides no adequate living space. And it inherits the creepiness of a dusty attic—no one will want to go into the unfinished basement and you’ll want to put a chair over the door leading down to it when you’re home alone.

A finished basement offers an excellent return on investment if you know you eventually want to sell your home. The added useful square footage of your home will increase your potential asking price exponentially.

If you have a finished basement, you can have extra guests over and have extra living space. A finished basement can have an extra bathroom and a few bedrooms, so your relatives can stay for Thanksgiving all under one roof. You certainly won’t have this luxury of added space without a finished basement.