When you bought your house, you probably did not give much thought to how you would use your basement. It was likely just extra space underneath the area where you really lived. In order to get more use out of the space, you probably need a finished basement. Before you plan how you are going to use the space, though, you first need to plan how to make it more usable.
The first step is to know the rules. Your city and state may have ordinances that determine how the basement area of your home can be used and what specifications have to be met in order to do so. Building codes may dictate the type and number of escape routes needed, and there may be specific measurement requirements.
The next step is to pinpoint and correct problems. Hire a professional to inspect your basement. Specialists can identify potential leaks of water and harmful gases, and they can offer guidance on how to remedy those issues before you go forward with your plans for your finished basement. You should also look around for signs of moisture and its effects, such as mold and mildew. These can not only damage the surfaces where they grow but also affect the overall air quality of your home.
The final step is to waterproof your basement. Repair cracks in your foundation that weaken the walls of the basement, allowing a greater possibility of flooding. Check to make sure that the hoses of any appliance that uses water are intact. It is a good idea to update your drainage system, including the installation of a sump pump, to draw both groundwater and rainwater away from your foundation. Equip your basement with vapor barriers to limit moisture.
There are many things you can do with a finished basement, but those plans come after you have created a safe space for them. Taking steps to waterproof your basement gets you closer to realizing those dreams.