How to finish an unfinished basement so it’s livable

How to Finish An Unfinished Basement So It’s Livable


How to Finish An Unfinished Basement So It’s Livable

You want to know how to finish an unfinished basement and you’re also wondering what do you need to finish a basement, too. If you want to now how to make an unfinished basement livable, here is what you have to do.

Basement Documentation

Before you can do any basement finishing, you have to get your plans approved by local government. You must submit to them a copy (or sometimes multiple copies) of your site plans. This is a clear outline of the proposed basement plans on a piece of graph paper which clearly shows all necessary measurements.

Your local city planner can go over the necessary requirements in person or over the phone. You should at the very list look up the site plan requirements online for your county and state before submitting them.

Basement Permits

Next you need to apply for the appropriate permits. At the very least you will need a local building permit to begin construction, and if you are going to be doing electrical, plumbing or HVAC work, then you will need an electrical, plumbing or mechanical permits as well (and probably a license, too. Otherwise you must hire a contractor with the appropriate license to do the installation).

Basement Inspections

You should remain in close contact with the basement inspector during the whole finishing process. Don’t hesitate to contact them by phone or email with questions and suggestions for staying up to code. Extra inspections, however, will cost you in fines and delays, so be sure to have everything in place before the inspector comes!

Wall Framing

Framing your basement means installing the walls and floors. There are many different ways to frame a wall (in-place, floating, etc.) and they each depend on the ground soil conditions as well as other environmental and economic factors.


Unless you are familiar with taking a jackhammer to concrete, you should not attempt to do this on your own in most cases.

Electrical Wiring

Wiring a basement requires expert knowledge of both electrical components and local ordinances and codes. Faulty wiring is obviously dangerous and wiring that does not meet code will need to be removed and reinstalled, so most people hire a basement contractor to get it right the first time.
Hanging Drywall

Surprisingly, hanging drywall over the exposed electrical wiring is one of the most technical parts of the job. Basement contractors spend decades learning to hang drywall appropriate and in a uniform layout. Any blemish is glaringly visible on the final product, so if you don’t know the difference between mudding and taping dry wall, then now probably isn’t a good time to learn as you go.

The End Result

At this point, you’ve probably got some painting and staining left to do, but you’ve succeeded in making your finished basement livable and up to code. However, if drafting site plans, pulling permits, doing heavy duty plumbing, electrical and mechanical installations and hanging drywall on your own sounds a little too difficult, then don’t hesitate to contact basement contractors.

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