Klaus wasn’t far from the truth.
A basement or cellar is most times, that casual part of a house used as a storehouse. It is built underground, either partly or totally.
In-depth, a basement is more than just an underground construction of a home.
In geology, a basement is a mass of rock that forms a foundation or underlies stratified rocks. Basement in sports refers to the lowest position or last place in standings. Architecturally, it is the ground floor front or facade.
In general, a basement is the fundamental, lowest, or foundational part of something.
Advantages of having a basement in your building
- Cool room: this structure is suitable for hot climates. The underground structure easily releases hot air and retains the coolness of the room.
- Storage room: a basement can be used to store properties or materials that are not always in use.
- Extra room: a basement can be repurposed as a den or a guest room. Some homeowners create an extra bathroom with this space.
- Workshop: a basement can easily be constructed or repurposed into a workstation.
- Easy repair: having a basement constructed in your home makes it easy to access pipes and wires for repairs.
- Emergency shelter: basements are unaffected by harsh destructive weather like tornados and hurricanes which are capable of affecting the actual building.
Disadvantages of having a basement in your building
- Poor lighting: this underground building barely has access to or allows in natural light. In addition, the windows are small and situated near the top of the wall.
- Pests: the lack of light and dampness of this structure makes it a hideout for pests and creepy insects, and in homes where the basement is used as a storage for hardly used items, the fact that it is barely visited makes it a whole lot more comfortable for pests.
- Low moisture resistance: this structure has a high susceptibility to moisture which can easily seep through the windows and doors.
- High humidity: this characteristic feature of a basement makes it prone to developing molds.
- Extra cost: buildings with basements cost a lot more than the ones without basements. The construction and renovation of this structure have an additional cost.
Types of Basements
- Refurbishment basement
- New basement under a new housing
- New garden basement
- Deep basements
- Retrofit basements
This kind of basement is constructed in such a way that it is spaced below one story deep. Oftentimes, the use of this kind of basement includes parking of cars, a space for plant services, and storage. Use extends to urban areas for several other mixed-use schemes.
- The potential development and footprint of the building are highly optimized above ground level.
- It could easily serve as a lot for parking vehicles.
The construction of this type of basement is done by the creation of new space through the process of excavation. This is done below the ground floor of the property or building that has already been in existence. This requires underpinning to ensure the preservation of the building in which it is being constructed. Businesses and residential homes have the extra space as an advantage.
- The additional space allows a business to develop, and expanding families benefit from the creation of an extra room.
- This basement adds value to the property and releases the potential of having an empty property.
- Construction should be done only by certified professionals as this involves digging through an already built structure.
- This structure is viable economically for valued properties on high lands.
- Approval from building and planning regulations is required before the start or continuation of this project.
New Basement Under a New Housing
This basement is originally built from scratch alongside the structure that it is a part of. Buildings with this type of basement have various arrangements of internal access, external access, and windows. This is because, since it is already on the blueprint for the building, businesses and homeowners customize the structure to fit for specific use and purposes or just based on preference.
- This structure is flexible and potentially adapts in the future.
- Reduces footprint of the property
- It adds to the desirability and value of the property.
- Space can be used to accommodate and sustain different technologies.
- The thermal performance of a building is increased with this structure.
- Since it is part of the blueprint or initial application for the building, approval, planning, and building regulations are not required.
New Garden Basement
This basement is constructed or built bordering on the already existing building (i.e., adjacent to the building). It is structured at garden level with a terrace or green roof. The new external staircase makes it very accessible from the main house.
- This structure allows a great in-flow of natural ventilation and light through the roof.
- Like most other types of basements, it gives the building additional desirability and value.
- Approval of building and planning regulations is required before the commencement of the project.
This is simply a remodeled basement. Alterations or changes are made to improve the structure of the building or extend it for other purposes. This may require the floor to be lowered to increase space and headroom. Improvements include adding new fixtures or technology, waterproofing, or adding a new waterproofing system.
- More room is created for the natural in-flow of air and light.
- Availability of extra usable space.
- Potential or already existing water or damp problems are addressed.
- The desirability and value of the property are increased.
- The additional space can be utilized for recreational activities or extra storage.
Now that we are familiar with what a basement is and the types, let’s take a closer look at the ceiling of a basement and the basement ceiling options available.
The biggest determining factor in the ceiling of most basements is the height of the floor from the ground. This is important to consider because it can either limit your space or make it more enjoyable. Also, it could limit options or choices. There are a few basement ceiling options to choose from.
Two common types of ceiling found in basements are;
- Drywall ceiling; although not very common, this ceiling type has an aesthetic appeal that is desirable to most homeowners. This is usually the most suitable option when the height of the basement is a big concern.
- Drop-tile or suspended ceiling; due to how easily they can be installed and the accessibility provided for wiring and plumbing, it is more commonly used in home basements. This type of ceiling tends to take up more room because it is hung on the grid system beneath the joists.
How to choose the right basement ceiling options
Basement Ceiling Options
After deciding that your basement needs a remodel, one thing to put into careful consideration is the ceiling of the basement and how your choice for a particular kind would affect the purpose of the basement. Basement ceilings can be finished with plywood paneling and materials for flooring. These flooring materials are mostly used for design purposes.
- Drop ceilings are best for a basement that is utilized as a family room. It makes unsightly fixtures and potentially insulates sound. Additionally, it is easier to install and costs less which makes them suitable among cheap/budget ceiling ideas.
- If you decide to repurpose your basement to be used as a recreational room or a room for receiving guests, drywall ceilings are more traditional and have a more appealing texture.
- Drop tiles come with variety. There are multiple options to choose from when it comes to material type. These materials include copper tiles, tin tiles, and fiberglass. The tin and copper tiles are usually ornately decorated.
- With drywalls, you can afford to paint your basement with any color of choice, with no limits.
Tips for basement ceiling options
- Consulting a professional contractor or designer for the best basement ceiling ideas will help your decision making the process a lot easier.
- Put into consideration all possibilities and factors that affect or come with the remodeling process.
- Find and choose a reliable hardware store where quality ceiling remodeling materials are sold.
- You can hire a professional Interior decorator.
- When it comes to costs, the most suitable cheap/budget ceiling ideas should be considered, especially if you intend on working with a particular budget.
Cheap/ budget ceiling ideas
Deciding on the best basement ceiling options for your building can be very tough, especially if you are on a budget and can only consider cheap or budget ceiling ideas. Fortunately, some really good basement ceiling options are DIY-friendly and automatically cost less.
These cheap ceiling ideas are also very decorative. They include;
- Use of painted rafters: the fixtures on the ceiling of your basement can be quite unsightly and hard to overlook. The use of charcoal-colored or dark-colored rafters is a great way to keep those elements disguised.
- Use of natural roof planks: basement ceilings finished with polished wooden planks are a way to mix and match classic and contemporary styles in your basement.
- Use of corrugated metal on your ceiling: this is an interesting hack when it comes to getting rid of the confined look or feel in your basement if it has a low ceiling that automatically makes it small. Metal ceilings bounce backlight and this helps to create the illusion of space. It is bulk-less and decorative.
- Use of tin tiles on your ceiling: can introduce to your decor, a classic and charming ambiance. Tin tiles are quite antique and reflect both light and sound.
- White delight: this cheap/budget ceiling idea only requires you to paint it all white. Every part- the pipes, light work features, beams, and ductwork. The most suitable shade is a bright white paint that would suit all interiors.
- Use of painted wooden planks: painted wooden planks create a monochromatic design and scheme because they are usually finished with country white. It is a trendy and cheap budget ceiling idea that gives your interior a refreshing look while improving the brightness and warmth.
- Use of decorative ceiling tiles: these ceiling tiles have moldings ornately detailed on them. It makes your basement look like more than what it is. Extending the use of decorative ceiling tiles from your living room or bedrooms to your basement can create a gorgeous uniformity. To highlight our accents, you make use of wallpapers or wooden floors.
- Use of traditional box ceiling: boxed ceilings tend to look like they were originally applied in the architectural design of the basement, meanwhile, they are just installed structural solutions. They are usually painted white. The design of cubes or squares isn’t just one to draw attention it also gives your basement ceiling an illusion of height.
- Exposing your wooden beams: while hiding the beams on your ceiling with neutral colors is an interesting idea, the use of wooden beams and letting them show is a way of introducing an aesthetic and rustic appeal to your basement. The beams contrasting with the colors of the ceiling make your basement look like a farmhouse with modern elements.
- Use of simple drop ceiling tiles: as already implied, drop ceiling is a cheaper basement ceiling option compared to drywall. To make this look decorative, you can fix your drop ceiling tiles in a gridded pattern. These tiles are also super easy to work with, hence, a good DIY-friendly solution.
- Use of ceiling fans: this is very practical considering how extremely humid the air around the basement can be.
- Use of mosaic tiles: a great way of accenting your basement ceiling to create impressive art is by using mosaic tiles. The various themes, colors, and styles of these tiles make them a valuable option, especially since they don’t cost so much.
- Use of String lights: your beams can be quite an eyesore and even after painting there is one more thing you can do to introduce a decorative pattern- the addition of string lights. This string lighting can be done with industrial string bulbs.
- Canopy ceiling: The installation of multiple swaths of fabric can easily achieve this cozy canopy look.
- Use of beadboard ceiling; using beadboard ceilings in your basement is a stylish way of mixing old designs and new ones. It is one of the most popular basement ceiling options for remodeling and it applies to homeowners seeking cheap budget ceiling ideas. White beadboards have an interesting history and they were also used in original Victorian-style homes.
- Finished basement ceiling: most of the best basement ceiling options permit only a little headroom loss and this is very achievable with wood battens and plywood.
- Use of ceiling medallions: medallions are large decorative medals and using them on your basement ceiling is a great way to accent it there are several options to choose from when it comes to medallions.
- Use of Chandeliers: chandeliers generally are very common ceiling accents and the use isn’t reserved for just the living room.
Exposed Basement Ceiling
The beams, pipes, and other features on your basement ceiling can ruin the interior of your basement but if you don’t have an intention of covering them up, you don’t have to. With a list of amazing ideas and considerations, you can transform this ugly sight into an appealing art.
What is an exposed basement ceiling?
Simply put, an exposed basement ceiling is one with an uncovered mechanical and structural design. A basement with this kind of ceiling has all the ductwork, wiring, and pipes exposed.
Advantages/Benefits of exposed basement ceilings
- Easy access to fixtures during maintenance: since all the pipes and wires are exposed, it is easy to gain access to them if the need arises.
- The illusion of height: covering the ceiling can make your basement feel more confined than it should be. Leaving the ceiling exposed gives extra headroom space and makes the space between the floors and the ceiling seem extended.
- Fast and easy renovation: if your basement ceiling has been bare from the start and there is a need or desire for renovation, all you have to do is repaint.
- Reflection and lighting: a great reflection of light and space is mostly achieved when you paint your basement ceiling with a neutral color, preferably bright white.
Disadvantages/Drawbacks of exposed basement ceiling
- Thermal insulation: exposed ceilings allow in more air and leave little or no room for proper heating up. The hot air escapes through the exposed ceiling, leaving the basement extra chilly.
- Difficult to hack: if you do not plan it out properly, your basement ceiling will look haphazard and unpleasant giving it an industrial look. This can be a problem if you intend on using your basement as an extra room.
To start with, it is important to note that the best colors to use are the ones that blend with the rest of the interior. Neutral colors are the best options; white, black, and gray or, better still, a mixture of two more.
Before and while you go ahead to paint your basement ceiling, here are a few tips;
- Clean off cobwebs: the exposed ductwork provides a lot of hidden spaces for cobwebs and spiders, so it’s best to wipe them off before you begin painting.
- Do a review check: ensure that wires and pipes are properly tucked.
- Use of tapes and plastic tarps: not all the paint will get to every area because the ductwork might make it difficult to access and paint tightly hidden areas. For such areas where the paint cannot cover, be sure to make use of plastic tarps and tapes to make your painting look smooth and even.
- Use of sprays: finally, spray your basement ceiling.
Just because painting your ceiling is very doable, doesn’t mean extra caution and protective measures shouldn’t be taken. This is one thing some homeowners do wrong when going DIY. You might not be a professional or own professional safety tool but you can take simple steps and improvise for your safety.
- Cover up your nose: paint usually has a great proportion of chemicals that are not to be inhaled, especially over a long period or long hours while you’re working. Paint can be so intoxicating that they make you lightheaded. To protect your lungs, you can use a respirator mask or improvise by tying a light clean cloth over your nose.
- Protect your eyes: paint particles are capable of sneaking into your eyes if you don’t cover up properly or if you don’t cover up at all. Put on some good safety glasses to protect your eyes and be sure to clean the glasses frequently while working to get rid of the particles that have already settled on the surface.
- Other protective materials include gloves and paint suits.
Black Ceiling Basement
The basement is unlike any other room in a building and most of the time, sheetrocking doesn’t make it look any different and basements are meant to look and feel different. A black ceiling basement is a basement that has its exposed ceiling painted all black.
Painting your exposed basement ceiling is a great option for a good number of reasons;
- Inexpensive: on the list of cheap budget ceiling ideas, painting your exposed basement ceiling black is an excellent basement ceiling option.
- Aesthetic and appealing: whether your basement is meant for business or it was designed as an extra room, a black ceiling would fit in just right.
- Height: like most other neutral shades, black easily creates an illusion of height, especially with your ceiling exposed.
Basement Flooring Options
The best part about flooring your basement is that almost any flooring choice of yours would fit in just right. However, the best flooring options are the ones that have resistance to high humidity and moisture. On this note, it is important to know that laminated floors and solid hardwood floors that are not treated will react poorly to heat and moisture.
Basement flooring options include;
- Ceramic tile flooring: this is one type of flooring that has high resistance to heat and cannot be damaged by moisture. It laps easily on prepared concrete.
- Epoxy floor coating: epoxy floor coatings have waterproof properties and are also very easy to install. They come in a variety of colors as well.
- Vinyl tile sheet flooring: higher-priced vinyl sheets have the tendency of mimicking or sharing similarities between other flooring options like wood, ceramic, and stone. Nonetheless, they are very valuable as they have high water resistance and they have cushion properties. Water resistance is so high that it can withstand great flooding with no after-effects.
- Engineered wood flooring: it provides an aesthetic appeal and warmth. Engineered wood flooring mimics the natural beauty of real wood.
- Rubber flooring: customized with interlocking edges, this flooring option comes in tiles and sheets and is DIY-friendly. It has a cushioning effect and comes in various colors.
Soundproofing Your Basement
A basement is an isolated space from the rest of the building for a reason, whatever purpose it is designed for, it would always require much less noise. Soundproofing your basement is an excellent decision, especially if you use it as a home office or as a den as so much unfiltered noise can disturb your rest or level of productivity.
The best part about soundproofing your basement is the fact that it is a very inexpensive and straightforward process.
Before this can be properly achieved it is best to know what kind of noise mostly travels with ease into your basement. Is it an impact noise or an airborne noise?
Air-borne noise: this kind typically travels through and is transmitted by air examples include; sounds from musical instruments, and sounds from the television.
Impact noise: this is the kind of noise that travels and is transmitted to mediums like the floors, ground, furniture, walls, etc. Footsteps and generally noises or sounds made by contact with solid mediums are examples of impact noise.
Simple achievable soundproofing tips
- Move furniture on the top floor around.
- Use soundproof panels.
- Sealing drywall cracks.
- Making the ceiling thicker.
- Use carpeting rugs on the top floor.
- Use of Insulating cavities.
- Use of soundproofing mats.
- Use of soundproof drywall.
Types of Basements construction
The most popular and preferred material for use in the construction of a basement is concrete most especially when it comes to finishing the floors. This is because concrete has multiple design options and high moisture resistance.
Types of basement construction include;
- Poured concrete wall basements.
- Masonry wall basements.
- Precast panel basements.
Poured Concrete Wall Basements
This is the most popular type of basement construction. This is due to specific properties which include resistance to a good number of damaging factors like fire, water, and cave-ins.
Solid concrete has great density and lacks joints which makes it resistant to fire. The small number of voids makes it difficult for water to seep through. The lateral pressure of wind, earth, and water are capable of causing a collapse or cave-in and solid concrete has the capability of resisting all three. When constructing, oiling the forms on the inside is necessary to avoid them being sticky. Pour concrete walls are very easy to maintain as they require fewer repairs.
Precast Panel Basements
Precast concrete has been poured, molded, and cast in a location different from the site of construction. It is lifted with a crane and fixed into position.
Masonry Wall Basements
Instead of concrete, the construction of the wall is achieved by the use of masonry block units. Unlike solid concrete, masonry units have numerous joints. These joints connect the units to ensure proper strengthening and reinforcement. These units are not generally resistant to moisture (i.e., they are not damp-proof) but only resistant to the penetration of water.
This is one of the least expensive options available. They are also referred to as Cinder blocks.
Prevention of Moisture
Moisture problems in a basement could be a result of any or all of the following;
- Poor construction and design of window wells.
- Inadequate grading.
- Use of sump pit and drain tiles that have poor quality or effectiveness.
- Lack of defectiveness of gutter or downspout construction.
- Cracks in the structure.
- Improper or poor drainage.
If you are experiencing moisture problems in the basement of your building, the right approach is the same as any other kind of problem- detect and get rid of the source.
There are two ways to prevent moisture in your basement; by damp proofing and by waterproofing.
This is achieved by the application or use of a membrane to the wall of the basement. This membrane is capable of bridging cracks on the walls. While constructing your basement, you should take note of the surrounding environment. Site locations with poor soil conditions and high water tables would make your basement prone to having moisture problems. In cases like this, the use of a waterproofing system is advised. Most of the time, even at sites that have a low water table and proper soil drainage, the basement is still waterproofed just in case.
The damp proofing process requires the use of vapor to create a barrier that delays or retards the penetration of water.
Popular Uses of Basements
- Home bar
- Workshop or craft room
- Game room
- Wine cellar
- Media room or theater
- Home gym or workout room
- Storage room
- Extra bedroom
- Kitchen or kitchenette
- Utility room or laundry room
- Home office
Basement Maintenance Tips
There are a good number of things you can do to ensure that your basement remains comfortable. Maintenance tips include regular or routine checks and adhering to dos and don’ts.
- Check gutters and downspouts during windy seasons.
- Use only water-resistant paints in your basement.
- Check landscaping around your building to ensure there is no water pooling.
- Insulate your pipes to get rid of excess cold air.
- Do not use your basement as a laundry room.
- Make use of metal window walls as regular windows are hardly resistant to water seepage.
A storage unit, an extra bedroom, an office, or whatever you decide to use your basement for always fits right into a purpose. Having a basement in your building is a great step toward maximizing its value.