If your home is feeling a bit cramped, you may be considering converting your current crawl space into a basement. Basements help to provide extra space for storage, living and family fun activities. They also make for excellent hiding places during storms and tornado warnings. Converting your crawl space may not be the easiest task, but it is doable and generally less expensive than buying a new home to accommodate your family's need for extra space.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Consult with an engineer or architect about the safety of converting your crawlspace to a basement. Before embarking on such a monumental project, you will want to make sure that it safe for the design of your home and that it will not cause it to collapse.
Hire a contractor to dig underneath your home to expand the size of your crawl space. Check with online bidding companies, friends and family members to find the best deal. The contractor will come in with heavy machinery that will help dig out your basement in just a few days. Make sure that your contractor knows and is willing to abide by code.
Find a cement company that is willing and able to place concrete moulds and pour the walls and floor of your new basement. Hiring someone to do the cement pouring for you will help to ensure that your floor is level and that your walls are even. Doing the job yourself will increase the risk that your basement will not be up to code. If you wish to avoid the hassle of dealing with cement, check with your engineer or architect to determine whether breeze block walls would be an option for your space. Breeze block is not as messy as cement and is sometimes easier to level.
Finish your basement by creating the staircase, finishing the walls, installing the ceiling, completing wiring and installing fixtures and outlets. If you are not experienced in following code for your area, be sure to hire someone who is used to following the rules. If you decide to finish your basement yourself, be sure to get code books for all projects and keep in touch with an inspector in your area. If you do not do the job up to code and an inspector deems your home unsafe to live in, they may give you a brief time to fix your work or even condemn your property.
Schedule an inspection before you embark on decorating your new basement. It is not uncommon to have to redo or alter some work following an inspection. It would be a shame to have to ruin your decorating job to fix something in your basement. Make sure to keep a record of all work done while converting your crawl space to a basement. This will make your inspector's job easier.
Decorate your space once you have passed inspection. Congratulate yourself on making it through the rough part. With a nice paint job, some furniture, and a little style, your basement will be ready for your family to use.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure to follow code and follow proper safety precautions.
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