Common Mistakes That Can Undo Your Plans to Finish an Elk Grove Basement

Common mistakes when finishing a basementIn the early 90s, Elk Grove was still a small town—but over the last 25 years, the population has exploded by more than 500 percent. The new houses lining the streets are proof positive of this incredible expansion. Many of these houses went up so quickly that a basement was seen as a luxury.

But that’s not necessarily a problem: it gives people options about what they want to do with their home. Keep in mind, however, that if you decide to finish your basement, it entails more than just putting in carpeting, some lights, and the quintessential air hockey table. We want to help you take some common plumbing, cooling, and moisture issues into account to ensure that your remodeled basement is well and truly finished.

Help Your Pipes Go With the Flow

Often, unfinished basements won’t have existing plumbing for a bathroom; let alone a shower, wet bar or kitchen. You’ll want to balance the need for new pipes with some consideration for the strain they will put on existing ones. As you begin to divert more water usage to the basement, you will be adding pressure to your original plumbing. When this happens, new leaks can appear—or, old leaks, which weren’t noticeable before due to negligible volume, may begin to have a larger impact. Even seemingly small amounts of water from leaky pipes can cause significant damage to your new walls and floors, with potential repair costs in the thousands. This may be especially true if you have put down carpeting.

That isn’t the only way that leaky pipes can cost you money, though. You’ll also be wasting water, which in a time of drought can have negative impacts not only on your bill, but also on your community. Some leaks are readily apparent, but some may not be so obvious. Leaks that go unnoticed contribute to the estimated 7 billion gallons of water that are wasted each day in the US due to water main breaks. It’s important to have trained plumbing professionals install the new pipes, and the new fixtures, or at the very least to have them inspect your plumbing after work is completed—one leak can negate all the money and time spent on your beautiful new basement.

Reduce the Surprising Effects of Moisture in a Dry Climate

With all the talk about droughts, we understand it sounds strange to worry about too much water, but in areas as recently-paved and as rapidly-expanding as Elk Grove, rainwater runoff can be a serious problem. In fact, the city is surprisingly susceptible to flooding. What’s more, because of the general lack of rain, many houses aren’t built with the right kind of gutters to point rainfall away from your home. You will need to protect your new basement from runoff by installing a proper gutter system. You will also want to seal the windows and any seams or cracks in the foundation, as well as the boundary where the house “meets” the ground.

Even more insidious than the occasional rainstorm is the constant, but slow impact of ground moisture, which can occur even in a dry climate like ours. It can leach into your basement, right through concrete floors, causing efflorescence or health-hazardous mold. Efflorescence itself isn’t dangerous, but it’s presence can be a sign that there are leaks, which could soon create a dangerous mold infection. Mold is a surprisingly common problem for newly-finished basements, particularly if it is carpeted, as the new carpet can lock in moisture. The problem was likely in place before your remodel, but you may not have been spending enough time in the space to notice that moisture was an issue. A moisture-resistant seal for under the new flooring is a simple fix to help protect you and your family from any mold concerns.

Keep Your HVAC Unit Cool Under Pressure

The basement generally stays much cooler than the rest of the house, but in an Elk Grove summer even it may succumb to the heat. You’ll likely need to extend your air conditioning system into the basement—a job for HVAC professionals as this means more than “just” adding ducts and vents. The extra pressure put on the system will add strain to the AC equipment, so you will want to ensure it is running in top condition. Remember that when it comes to your HVAC system, DIY doesn’t always cut it.  

That’s why it is important when expanding the zone of your air conditioning to always have a thorough checkup and maintenance regiment performed. Any repairs that need to be done to bring your system to peak performance should be completed before you start using the AC in the new zone. Otherwise, the system may become overworked, costing you money on your energy bills. Poorly-maintained AC systems can cause a 5-15% energy use increase. In the worst-case scenario, although unlikely, the whole system may break down. Having a professional HVAC company out to check on your system before making large changes is sure to be a cost-saver in the long run.

Finishing the basement in your Elk Grove home should be an enjoyable way to increase the value of your house while offering a new place for your family to relax. Make sure you can enjoy your newly remodeled space to the fullest with a little extra planning and an eye for the often overlooked details. Contact our trained professionals while you’re still in the planning phases to get our expert advice on creating your new basement oasis worry free.