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Is an Unfinished Basement Good or Bad?

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unfinished basement
unfinished basement

Foundations may come in many different forms, but a basement is one of the most popular. It is also a convenient area of the home, one that we often hope to use to its greatest potential.

That is why many people wonder if it is a good idea to leave a basement unfinished or if there is some problem with doing so. Even an unfinished basement can be convenient and used for many different purposes, but are you potentially causing problems at the same time?

We’ll take a look at whether it is good or bad to leave a basement unfinished and consider some of the benefits of choosing either. We will also look into why you would want to consider having your basement waterproofed, regardless of whether it was finished or not.

Like many people, you want to use your basement and your home to the full. By making the right choice with your basement, you are ultimately adding living space, storage space, or perhaps just a convenient area to go and do what you want to do.

Does an Unfinished Basement Put Your Home in Danger?

The first thing we will consider is if you are putting the rest of the home in danger by leaving the basement unfinished. The easiest way to answer this is to say, it depends.

Having an unfinished basement, in most homeowner’s eyes, means leaving it at its bare minimum. This typically means a concrete slab surrounded by concrete or cinder block walls.

This type of unfinished basement can be used in many ways, and we will take a look at that in the next section. At the same time, however, this type of unfinished basement can also put both the basement and the rest of the home in jeopardy.

Unfinished basements tend to be damp, dark areas of the home that are prone to a variety of problems.

Unfinished basements tend to be damp, dark areas of the home that are prone to a variety of problems. These issues can include anything from condensation to mold or perhaps even undermining the strength of the foundation itself.

On the other hand, it doesn’t have to be that way and by taking the steps we outline in this article, you can leave your basement unfinished while still making it a very usable and perhaps even livable part of the home. 

Also, check out our post about – landscaping next to house foundation.

Benefits of an Unfinished Basement

If you are considering leaving your basement unfinished, there are actually a number of benefits to doing so. An unfinished basement can still be used for a variety of purposes, including the following:

Extra Storage Space: If there is one thing that all of us could use, it’s extra storage space. We tend to have more stuff than we do space, so having space available in the basement for safe storage is going to be a benefit.

One thing that you should consider before storing anything in the basement is the fact that it could get ruined over time. An unfinished basement that is not waterproofed will likely be damp and could even have pools of water on occasion. Be careful not to store your most precious items in an unfinished basement.

DIY Workshops: Many homeowners are also weekend warriors when it comes to DIY. When the need arises, they may become plumbers, electricians, or carpenters.

An unfinished basement can easily become the central location for all of your home DIY needs. Installing a workbench and a few old cupboards will help to get you started.

A Place for Hobbies: Do you enjoy doing hobbies? Those hobbies may include things such as woodworking, scrapbooking, or even yoga.

You can quickly turn an unfinished basement into a premium location for all of your hobbies. Installing a light, putting down a carpet remnant, and having a space heater should get you started.

Laundry and Utility Rooms: Many homeowners don’t do much with their unfinished basements, but they still need a place to be a utility room or to do their laundry.

An unfinished basement is the perfect location for doing so. You will only be down to do laundry on occasion, and a utility room is not typically touched until there is a special need.

Of course, even an unfinished basement should be kept clean and tidy. You never know when problems could occur in such an area and if the basement is not waterproofed, water may occasionally be a problem.

By keeping the unfinished basement clean, you are avoiding any extra problems when issues arise.

Benefits of Finishing the Basement

In many cases, there is not much of a difference between an unfinished basement and a finished basement. You will just need to finish off the walls, floor, and ceiling and you can begin living in the area.

Before you get started with construction, however, you might want to continue reading until the end of this article. After considering the benefits of finishing the basement, we will consider the possibility of basement waterproofing.

When you combine basement waterproofing with finishing the basement, you will find that it offers the greatest benefits possible. Before you know it, you will be enjoying your basement to the full, including the following benefits.

Finished basement

Extra Living Space: The basement is typically as large as the footprint of the home above it. You may add up to 100% more living space by finishing off this area under the home.

If you do things right, waterproofing the basement and then finishing it off, that living space will be comfortable and can be used for the long term. You can even create the living space as a separate apartment, either for rent or for use by your in-laws when they are in town.

Lower Energy Bills: Since you will be controlling the temperature in the basement, you will also be helping to control the temperature in the rest of the home. This is due to a phenomenon known as the stack effect because air escapes from the attic and then air is naturally pulled from the basement into the living area.

Since the air coming out of the basement will be conditioned, dryer, and closer to the temperature in the upstairs area, it will take less energy to control the temperatures in the living space. This will typically result in lower energy bills.

As we will discuss below, if you would like to lower your energy bill even further, consider waterproofing the basement and then finishing it. It’s a one-two punch that will knock out your energy costs.

Improved Property Value: If you are selling your home, then having a finished basement is an option that many buyers will consider a plus. Finishing the basement can increase the property value and can make it easier to sell your home.

Should You Consider Basement Waterproofing?

One other option to consider is waterproofing the basement. This is something that many people call on EPP Foundation Repair to do, as they reap the rewards immediately after having it done.

Basement waterproofing may involve repairing any cracks in the walls or concrete slab. We may establish a drainage system, either under the slab or around the outside of the foundation to keep water away from the foundation walls and from entering the basement.

The basement walls themselves will be wrapped in thick poly sheeting, so even if water does seep through the walls, it will run to the floor and into the drainage system.

Part of the drainage system will include a sump pump, which will pump the water out of the basement sump pit and away from the foundation.

A dehumidifier can also be installed to keep the basement dry and livable.

Waterproofing the basement is something that every homeowner who has a basement should consider. The benefits include having a dry location where you can store items or create a living space, protecting the foundation from damage, lowering the humidity in the basement and the rest of the home, and reducing your energy bills significantly.

Epp Foundation Repair stands as the most trusted name in foundation repair in Omaha for many compelling reasons. With over two decades of unwavering commitment to excellence, our team of experts brings unparalleled knowledge and skill to every project. We have earned the trust of Omaha residents and businesses by consistently delivering reliable solutions to a wide range of foundation concerns. Our comprehensive services, including basement waterproofing, tackle issues like bowing walls, foundation cracks, and water seepage, ensuring homes remain structurally sound and protected from the elements. Trust us to safeguard the structural integrity of your property and provide peace of mind for years to come. Contact us today to get things started.

WRITTEN BY

Dave Epp

Dave is the President at Epp Foundation Repair with over 27 years of experience in the industry. Dave has worked on thousands of foundation, basement, concrete, and crawl space repair projects since 1993. Dave is involved in several civic and church organizations and enjoys coaching youth sports, mainly football, golfing, and elk hunting.

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