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There are a surprisingly large number of basements throughout the country that remain unfinished. While some homeowners prefer completing their basements and putting them to good use, others leave the rooms unfinished. This doesn’t have many implications, since in many cases the basement is rarely used.
Here are 5 reasons why so many basements are unfinished:
- Budget constraints
- Homeowner preferences
- Too much work
- Use as storage space
- Basement design
In this article, we’ll examine why most basements are still yet to be finished. We’ll also take a look at whether or not it’s worth it to complete a basement.
1. Budget Constraints
Home construction projects are known to be costly, which explains why some homeowners claim to be short on cash after completing these projects. Instead of spending more cash on a basement that won’t be as frequently used as other rooms, some homeowners prefer staying put and investing elsewhere.
2. Homeowner Preferences
For some homeowners, completing a basement was never a part of the main plan. Not all homeowners are comfortable spending thousands of dollars to bring a basement to life. Some just want the room to act as extra storage or utility room that won’t need as much attention as other rooms.
It could also be that a homeowner wants to leave a basement incomplete to pave way for its customization. Such a basement will remain incomplete until the owner is ready to start the redesign process.
3. Too Much Work
Finishing a basement is a process that requires loads of work and time.
Apart from the cost, a lot of design considerations and renovation work will be required. You’ll also need to search for the right contractors to handle the delicate project, which can be time-consuming.
The extra work associated with finishing a basement makes it an unattractive option for some homeowners, especially after the costly and highly demanding process of constructing the main house.
4. Use As Storage
Other homeowners want their basements unfinished so they can use them as storage spaces. Some families prefer using the basement as a storage space for unused devices or nostalgic items that can’t be thrown away just yet.
A basement used as a storage space does not need to be complete as the space won’t have as much traffic as other areas. And while some homeowners might choose to complete basements used as storage, most will prefer to invest the money elsewhere.
5. Basement Design
Many houses are built with utilities such as water heating tanks installed in the basement. This makes it difficult to alter the original design of the house. Altering the design of a house or basement can prove both costly and time-consuming, factors that discourage most homeowners from completing basements with pre-installed utilities.
Should You Complete Your Basement?
The decision to complete a basement should come down to your personal preferences. You should consider completing your basement if you want the following.
A Complete House – Knowing your home is complete and that you don’t have any pending projects can be fulfilling. By finishing your basement, you’ll have the peace of mind that every space in your house is put to good use, ensuring that no major investment is required further along the line.
Proper Insulation Can Save Energy Costs – An unfinished basement is less likely to be properly insulated. This can, in turn, increase your air conditioning costs as your HVAC system will use more power to regulate home temperature. But by properly insulating your basement and making it livable, you will be able to reduce energy costs significantly and realize long-term savings.
More Living Room – You can redesign your basement and complete it to serve as an extra room in your home, which can be a family room, entertainment room, or home gym. Your basement can also be renovated into a stand-alone apartment and used by your guests or rented out to earn you extra income.
Transforming a basement into a usable room shouldn’t prove to be too much of a hard task, more so if you outsource to skilled personnel. You’ll also need to set apart some cash to handle extra costs like labor and finishing materials.
Improved Organization – Homeowners that use their unfinished basements as storage spaces often struggle to keep them organized. You’ll find that most basements are cluttered as hundreds of items are stacked on top of one another to conserve space.
But with a complete basement, it will be a lot easier to organize stored items and keep the room neat. Most homeowners that prefer neat and well-arranged basements usually go the extra mile and complete them.
Having a clean basement also reduces the risks of critters creeping in and making the basement their home.
Better Health for Your Family – If your incomplete basement is leaking, it can be a breeding area for mold and fungi, which can endanger your entire family’s health. Unfinished basements also tend to be neglected in terms of cleaning and maintenance, thereby increasing the chances of mold and fungi forming.
The cost of repairing basement floors and removing mold can be extra high, exactly why some homeowners prefer completing the basement and eliminating these risks altogether.
However, if you live in a flood-prone area, a completed basement will actually contain more mold than if your basement was made from cement. Even if you don’t live in these areas, water could seep into the basement when the ground is saturated with rain. So keep this in mind if you decide to finish your basement.
How Much Does Finishing Your Basement Cost?
On average, it will cost you around $50 per sq ft (0.09 sq m) to complete your basement. An additional average of $150 may be required for high-end finishing.
The exact cost will vary depending on the:
- Size of your basement
- Its condition
- What local retailers charge
For a large basement, you’ll obviously need to part with more cash to pay for resources and labor. Smaller basements won’t cost you much, but you might end up spending more than expected if you opt to change the design or set up costly finishings.
The condition of your basement will also determine how much you’ll pay to complete it. For instance, basements that leak will require larger investments as additional costs like waterproofing and surface repair will also come to play.
- Calgary Homes: Finished Vs Unfinished Basement
- Real Seal: 5 Reasons Why Homeowners Should Finish Their Basements
- Alpha Inspections: What is Considered a Finished Basement?
- HomeAdvisor: How Much Does It Cost To Remodel Or Renovate A Basement?
- Homes: 5 Reasons to Add a Finished Basement to Your Home
- Home Storage Solutions: Basement Organization
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Giovanni Valle is an architect, designer, internet entrepreneur, and the managing editor of various digital publications including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place. He is the founder of BuilderSpace LLC.