Planning and Design for a Basement
First Step to Finish a Basement
Planning and Design is the first step to finish and create a beautiful basement. It is important to measure your basement space
and decide what you want various areas used for. Planning for your basement is also an important step to creating an inviting living space.
Your goal is to make the best use of that basement space. You do not want to design your space to look like a boxed in chopped up basement
in any way if possible.
Some basements can be very complicated to plan due to duct work, pipes, poles and other obstructions. You want to try
and plan for a nice flowing open floor plan that fits your lifestyle, budget and ideas. Following the steps listed on this website
will help you with planning a basement that will fit your individual space.
Step 1. is to measure the available space. It is important to measure the space and decide what you want various areas used for.
Measuring most basements is relatively easy. With a little practice you can easily work out the total square footage of the space
you have to work with. Having the square footage available is also very helpful when estimating the materials you will need.
Rectangular rooms are relatively simple to measure. First sketch out the room, marking the position of any existing windows,
doorways, stairs and utilities. Please be sure to also draw in any poles that may be used for support. Measure the length and
width of the basement remembering to include the depth of any alcoves or other recesses. You may need to split your space up
into more manageable squares in order to get a more precise square footage. After you have made your simple sketch, just
multiply the width times the length to calculate floor space and repeat the same process with the walls to calculate wall area.
Now you are ready to take your sketch, make a few copies and start deciding different ways to divide up the space and get the
most use out of it. Try to be as creative as possible with your plans. Consider home theater rooms, custom bars, exercise rooms,
playrooms, mini kitchens, baths, workshops, and hobby rooms as well as extra bedrooms and storage areas. After you get a floor
plan together you can go on to the next step which is layout of your basement.
The most common layout for wall framing is 16" on center. When laid out and framed correctly, the edge of the drywall or other finish will
break on the center of the studs in 4' increments. This will keep your waste to a minimum.
To layout your basement walls, you will first need to mark the top and bottom edges of the first wall. I usually like to start near the
corner of the basement and layout my longest wall first. I use a laser level and a tape measure to mark this wall both on the basement
floor and the ceiling. After marking this wall, I will use a tape measure to mark openings where doors and other openings will go.
Then I will go ahead and mark the floor where studs, outlets, and other fixtures will go.
After marking my first wall, I will continue to one of the walls on the end. I always like to layout the outside walls first.
This will make it much easier to layout closets, bathrooms and other rooms. For example, When I am marking my closet and
I realize that the wall is going to fall between 2 studs, I can easily make the closet 8" bigger or smaller and save myself
from framing in an extra corner joint.
Wall layout is a fairly simple process with the proper tools. Don't forget to plan ahead so the edges of the drywall
don't end up in the center of the studs. After you get a floor plan together you can go on to the next step which is:
How to Frame a Basement
Tips & Tricks I will always try to set my openings so they fall within the wall studs. I know this will make my framing much easier.
Tips & Tricks When you need a measurement between two walls, and you canít reach the whole way across with a tape you can use a laser
tape. Set the laser in the middle of the room and use it to measure to one wall. Rotate the laser and measure to the opposite
wall. Add the two dimensions for the total length.
Tips & Tricks Buy a top-quality 30ft. tape with a 1-in. wide blade. The extra stiffness provided by the wide blade allows you to
extend the tape farther before it buckles. This is a great help for all kinds of measuring tasks but is especially useful
when youíre working alone or from a ladder. Read more....
Tools you may need while Planning and Designing your Basement
Tools You may Need
There are some tools you are gonna need while planning out your basement design. Many of the tools are needed for accurate layout.
Some of these tools you may
already have but there are a few you may not have used before and when you need them you will be glad to have them! Even something as simple as a
good tape measure can save you hours of labor and having the right tools also makes the job go smoother.
Of course if you want to see all the
tools needed to finish a basement you can just ..click here.. for my full list of favorites. Please remember that your basement project is going
to be unique. I cannot possibly list all the tools you may need but looking at the tools I use may be helpful.
Books that may be helpful while Planning and Designing your Basement