In a previous article, we discussed the kinds of insurance you should have if you are seeking to embark on a basement conversion project. Once you’ve got your Party Wall Insurance and whatever else you might need, it’s time to turn the basement of your property into a brand new area which prospective buyers will instantly be attracted to. When viewing a property, prospective buyers will instantly see an excellently designed, well-lit basement as a potential area for the children to play, a place to enjoy drinks with friends or a ‘man cave’ complete with a pool table and the latest video games. Whatever its use, a basement conversion can dramatically improve the value of a property.
Properties with existing basements are the best candidates for constructing new subterranean rooms, however, new basements can be created but this will increase the cost of the project exponentially. It is estimated that per square metre, a standard conversion will cost between £850 – 1,150, a conversion where the ceiling needs to be lowered will cost £1,650 – £2,200 and the creation of an entirely new basement will cost £3,000 – £4,000. Depending on size of the conversion, this could be anywhere from £10,000 to £100,000. Nevertheless, a good conversion can be extremely lucrative when renovating to sell – particularly if the property is in a desirable area (such as Central London).
Adequate lighting is essential to provide a warm and welcoming ambience in your basement. When designing an exquisite basement, it helps to have multiple light-wells, all of which should be painted white. Glossy surfaces and glass balustrades also help to amplify the lighting. You may even wish to consider converting your basement into a sunken courtyard garden with glass doors to allow in as much natural light as possible. Whatever type of lighting you decide to use, neutral colours and natural finishes are ideal for illuminating your basement effectively.
Choosing a credible contractor to design your basement is essential. By browsing The Basement Information Centre, you can search for providers based on your geographical location, the type of basement renovation you are conducting and even the types of materials you want to use. This site is also ideal for finding the right specialist to perform your waterproofing. Your contractor will be able to ensure that your new basement is built with structural integrity – existing walls may need underpinning and a supporting structure of steel or timber beams may need to be installed. Your contractor should design the basement with proper ventilation and an escape route in case of fire (at least 450 mm x 450 mm with a clear opening).
In order to stop the damp from entering into the basement, it is essential that all subterranean rooms are thoroughly waterproofed. The most dominant method for waterproofing is to line the entire basement with a textured membrane – this traps the damp outside the walls where it is channelled into a pump or drain and then discarded. Concrete waterproofing is another method, although it is not as effective and has fallen out of popularity in recent times. Whichever method you use, it should be approved by the British Board of Agrément (BBA).