Mar

06

Basement Conversion Provides Extra Living Space and Higher Market Value

Basement Conversion Provides Extra Living Space and Higher Market ValueBasements have experienced a dramatic shift in reputation over the years. In the beginning, they were often a neglected space. Serving little purpose, other than extra storage space and collecting cobwebs, basements were deemed unlikely to yield a smart return on investment. As time has gone on, more and more homeowners are realizing the benefits of remodeling their lower levels into a potential living space.

“Basement conversion is such an inviting prospect because it is significantly less expensive than putting on an addition,” said Paulette Sodemann, a designer with Callen. More specifically, many architects and contractors put the cost savings of redoing a basement versus putting on an addition at one-third to one-half less, depending on project scope and area of the country. “Homeowners already own the space and taxes are paid on it; not to mention basements come equipped with a roof, walls, ceiling, foundation and sewer hookups in place,” she added. Consequently, a basement remodel adds value to your home, particularly in urban areas where extra square footage brings a premium.

According to Paulette, there are a few aspects homeowners should keep in mind when tackling a basement remodel. For instance, if your basement shows signs of water or moisture, it’s imperative to resolve these problems in order to avoid replacing furnishings. “Be sure to have a dehumidifier and have proper heating and cooling systems installed for a more comfortable atmosphere,” she said.

“It’s also important that your contractor know the local ordinances regarding the required number and sizes of exits for adding in a bedroom,” said Paulette.

In addition, it’s vital to never seal off existing mechanical systems, circuit breakers, and future plumbing lines. Professionals will need to have access to these for maintenance and repairs. “If needed, homeowners can always soundproof mechanical systems,” she explained.

Moreover, try not to chop up space. “Similar to how homeowners prefer open space on main floor living areas, it should be more open downstairs too,” Paulette said. “It makes the space more transitional of how you will use it as time goes by.”

Finally, homeowners don’t necessarily need to renovate their basement in a style that that is consistent with upstairs. “Basement conversion is unique to the individual. Whether a gym, a theater, or a playroom, the basement can be an outward expression of personality,” she said. “Our team of experts not only makes the necessary provisions, we will also advise you on how you can further optimize your basement design to ensure higher value for your home.”

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.

Jan

23

4 Things to Know Before Finishing a Basement

4 Things to Know Before Finishing a BasementIf your home has an unfinished basement, you have a great potential space in which to build a home theater, game room, exercise room, or home office – the possibilities are endless! But before you begin the process of finishing your basement, first read these tips from Callen Construction to ensure that your basement finishing in Greenfield, WI goes smoothly.

Check for Moisture

Basements are notorious for having moisture problems. Before you begin planning your basement upgrade, first look for drips or pools of water that may be coming in through below-grade walls. Check the exterior of your home as well to make sure the ground is graded correctly, meaning it slopes away from your foundation. Then examine the foundation for cracks and arrange repairs if necessary.

Put Up Vapor Barriers

Even if there are no noticeable moisture problems in your basement, it can still become damp without the right barriers. It is essential to damp-proof the walls and floors before framing and finishing by adding vapor barriers. These will help keep your basement dry by preventing moisture from diffusing through the walls and floors.

Get the Right Fasteners

Basement floors and walls are usually made of cement or some other type of masonry, so a good old hammer and nail isn’t going to work when attaching framing. Before you begin work, make sure you have the right kind of fasteners and anchors for your type of wall. A shotgun fastener, which uses charges to fire fasteners into concrete, is a good choice that can be rented at your local home improvement store.

Warm Things Up with Insulation

Basements can be chilly places, so make sure you put in the right kind and amount of insulation to keep in the warmth and help with temperature control. It can also work as a sound barrier to muffle outside noises, as well as provide an extra layer of moisture control, so choose one that has a vapor barrier on both sides.

For top-notch basement finishing by the best remodeling company in Milwaukee, call Callen at 414-765-2585. No matter what you choose to do with the space, we will make your basement retreat a comfortable and attractive addition to your home.

Dec

05

Basement Conversion Provides Extra Living Space and Higher Market Value

Basements have experienced a dramatic shift in reputation over the years. In the beginning, they were often a neglected space. Serving little purpose, other than extra storage space and collecting cobwebs, basements were deemed unlikely to yield a smart return on investment. As time has gone on, more and more homeowners are realizing the benefits of remodeling their lower levels into a potential living space.

“Basement conversion is such an inviting prospect because it is significantly less expensive than putting on an addition,” said Paulette Sodemann, a designer with Callen. More specifically, many architects and contractors put the cost savings of redoing a basement versus putting on an addition at one-third to one-half less, depending on project scope and area of the country. “Homeowners already own the space and taxes are paid on it; not to mention basements come equipped with a roof, walls, ceiling, foundation and sewer hookups in place,” she added. Consequently, a basement remodel adds value to your home, particularly in urban areas where extra square footage brings a premium.

According to Paulette, there are a few aspects homeowners should keep in mind when tackling a basement remodel. For instance, if your basement shows signs of water or moisture, it’s imperative to resolve these problems in order to avoid replacing furnishings. “Be sure to have a dehumidifier and have proper heating and cooling systems installed for a more comfortable atmosphere,” she said.

“It’s also important that your contractor know the local ordinances regarding the required number and sizes of exits for adding in a bedroom,” said Paulette.

In addition, it’s vital to never seal off existing mechanical systems, circuit breakers, and future plumbing lines. Professionals will need to have access to these for maintenance and repairs. “If needed, homeowners can always soundproof mechanical systems,” she explained.

Moreover, try not to chop up space. “Similar to how homeowners prefer open space on main floor living areas, it should be more open downstairs too,” said Paulette. “It makes the space more transitional of how you will use it as time goes by.”

Basement Conversion Provides Extra Living Space and Higher Market ValueFinally, homeowners don’t necessarily need to renovate their basement in a style that that is consistent with upstairs. “Basement conversion is unique to the individual. Whether a gym, a theater, or a playroom, the basement can be an outward expression of personality,” Paulette said. “Our team of experts not only makes the necessary provisions, we will also advise you on how you can further optimize your basement design to ensure higher value for your home.”

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.

Jun

13

Tips to Recreate Your Lower Level

By Jeff Billstrom

Lower levels, those below grade areas that house the washer and dryer, holiday decorations, old furniture, and more, are increasingly getting makeovers to add function and value to homes. Media rooms with bars and mini kitchens, play areas for the kids, exercise room, project room or home office. game rooms, guest suites, or all-around living space, add function and value to your home.

Callen Blog - Transform Your Basement 061316“Basements are ideal spaces to add overall square footage to your home without expanding your dwelling’s footprint,” said Callen Designer Jeff Billstrom. “When we are asked to create living space in a lower level, we always ask how the space is going to be used, and then we can design efficiently and incorporate the items homeowners want to fit the space. We also want it to transition nicely from the main floor living area. Opening up staircases and putting in balustrades and handrails make it feel more like upstairs.”

Even though they may be a blank slate, because they are below ground, basements present challenges to be addressed such as moisture, air quality, and dehumidification. “You want to make sure the basement is dry,” Jeff said. “If there are cracked foundation walls, which are allowing moisture to seep in, that needs to be corrected first.”

Air quality also needs to be addressed. No one wants to be in a basement where the air is musty and stale. Air exchange systems draw outside air in, filter it, and exchange it with the indoor air. It can be connected to the furnace and the home’s duct system or put in separately with its own ducting. Air exchange systems also eliminate off-gases from new furniture, carpeting, and other household materials.

Dehumidification also is important in the summer months. Portable dehumidifiers work, but the optimal way to ensure dehumidity is through a permanent system that works through duct work. Dehumidification also is key to installing wood flooring or wood laminates, to prevent warping. If you install a tile or stone flooring, consider radiant floor heating for added warmth.

Another matter to be aware of in lower levels are supporting beams and mechanicals. “With a lower level, you can’t avoid I-beams,” Jeff said. “Depending on the layout, I try to build them into the wall. That’s not always possible; in that case we can disguise the I-beam by turning it into a column. We also can work around the furnace and hot water heater, but they can be relocated too.”

A key focus in converting a dark basement is to make it light and bright. “We look for opportunities to get as much natural light as possible,” Jeff said. “However, recessed lighting, canned lights, pendants, and wall sconces can create any mood from bright white to gently lit.”

Egress, or exit windows, bring natural light in. When converting lower level space to a bedroom, egress windows are required by code to create an emergency exit. Even without a bedroom, an egress window is a nice choice because it leads to a brighter interior and it can be opened to allow cross ventilation.

“The advantage to a lower level remodel is that you can use the space for anything you want, since all significant living areas are above ground,” Jeff said. “However, it’s always a good idea to leave some storage space for tools or seasonal home goods, or other miscellaneous items you might have stashed in crates or boxes.”

Callen’s design specialists have plenty of ideas on how to create a lower level that best utilizes the available space. Call Callen, the leading remodeling company in Brookfield, for inspiration on how to get started.