Guest post contributed by Sophie Taylor, on behalf of SuspendedCeilingShop.co.uk
If you are looking for ways to increase the value of your home before selling it, you should be careful not to overlook your basement. A comfortable, dry basement is a feature that can attract many potential buyers and help distinguish your house from others they are considering. Of course, a completely finished basement will often provide the most significant boost to your home’s value, but you may not have the time or the resources to fully finish it. However, you can still make several major and relatively simple improvements to your basement that can greatly increase your house’s market value.
One of the simplest, yet most effective renovations you can make to your basement is to improve the lighting. Natural light is best; if your house is built into the side of a hill and the basement has access to the outside, you may want to add more windows or expanding existing ones. The position of your house and the direction it faces will help you determine the best placement of these windows to take advantage of the most hours of sunlight.
A remodeled and well lit basement
Even an underground basement may have access to some natural light if you install well windows. These are small windows placed at the top of your basement walls, or at ground level when viewed from the exterior of your house. They may not provide as much sunlight as standard windows, but they will still add a more welcoming, spacious feel to your basement. If natural lighting is not an option, adding ceiling lights or floor lamps is essential to renovating your basement. A dark basement, even if it is large and comfortable, is unlikely to give a good impression to potential buyers.
Once your basement contains sufficient lighting, your next focus should be on its temperature and moisture level. A blast of oppressively hot or unpleasantly cold air when a person first walks into the basement makes the room immediately unappealing, no matter what other amenities it offers. Since basements are frequently constructed originally as a storage space, not as a living area, they are often not as well insulated as the rest of the house. Improved ventilation from the windows you added for light will help somewhat, since they allow you to let fresh air in and stale, unpleasant air out. But in many cases, you will need to add insulation to the ceilings and floors as well. The fastest, easiest way to insulate a basement is by installing EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) foam board insulation sheets. EPS can be mounted to concrete or drywall; not only does it keep hot or cold air out, it also can prevent water vapor or liquid water from reaching the interior of your basement. Ordinary fiberglass insulation is often better for controlling air temperature, but it may require you to frame additional walls before you can install it in a basement. Not only is EPS easier to install, it also does a much better job than fiberglass insulation of controlling the moisture in the basement’s air.
Of course, if you have the time and money, you will see the most dramatic improvements to your home’s value by finishing your basement completely. In addition to improving the lighting, ventilation and insulation, this project may involve adding walls and floors, installing carpets, soundproofing, painting and furnishing. However, since this can be fairly expensive and time-consuming, adding a few simple improvements to your basement can still be a worthwhile investment.