What To Keep In Mind When Doing A Basement Conversion.

When looking for additional living space in a home, most people think of extending out into the garden or up into the loft, however few think of extending downwards. Many homeowners could be missing a trick. While on the rise recently, basement conversions are few in comparison to loft or garden extensions. This is in part because not all homes have the potential to convert an existing basement into a habitable space or would need a complex excavation job to create a usable underground room. However, sometimes, it is probably the best solution – one that is often overlooked. Reducing your outdoor space, if available at all, could negatively impact your home’s value if not planned with care and a loft extension is not always possible.

Converting your basement into a living area, will keep this new space close to other main areas of the home, such as kitchens and lounges. This gives you greater flexibility in terms of use in comparison to a loft conversion where new living areas can feel isolated from the rest of the home. Keep in mind that the positioning of the stairs leading to this new space is of great importance as it should feel like an effortless connection to the floor above and allow as much natural light in as possible. If you already have a basement, the work for a basement conversion will have little impact on your façade though you have to keep in mind access for the workforce and machinery when planning.

Many people think negatively of basement conversions as when done improperly, they can be dark and damp. However there are many ways to avoid this. To make sure that you have plenty of natural light, you can incorporate a lightwell or a walk-on rooflight as an effective source for daylight above. You can also consider through-wall sun tunnels, which transfer sunlight from outside the home via a reflective tube and diffuser fitted to the inside wall.

Inevitably, a basement conversion will add some serious value to your home. When properly executed a basement conversion can add up to 20% to your home’s price tag. Though if you are carrying out a basement extension as means to increasing your property value for re-sale, it is always wise to check with a local estate agent for a clearer estimation of what the changes will be worth once finished. Keep in mind that immediate costs involved in any basement conversion can quickly add up, especially for excavations which involve raising ceilings and underpinning. But do not let this deter you, as the final result will most probably be worth it both financially and in terms of your lifestyle.

Other costs to keep in mind are architectural fees, drawings, and planning permission and regulation costs. However, these are costs that are involved in any renovation project. Make sure that you or your contractor has spoken to the local authorities to ensure that you have the right permits to carry out this type of work on your property.

There is one specific cost unique to a basement conversion and it is that of tanking. Tanking is the process of waterproofing a basement to prevent dam and structural damage. If your property is terraced or semi-detached and alterations are close to a shared wall, you will need a Party Wall Agreement. It is important that you share plans with the relevant neighbours prior to commencing work as this will increase your chances of them consenting to works. If for any reason they object your plans, you might have to pay for surveyor fees, which can be costly.

A basement extension is a big project so be prepared for it. Excavation work can take up to a few months and if you are creating a basement from scratch chances are you will have to move out while work is being carried out.

When planning a basement conversion, you will also have to consider how it will affect existing services. For example, can your boiler cope with additional heaters? If not you will have to think about replacing it. If your extension includes a bathroom, you need to keep in mind that plumbing and sewage need addressing.

If your home already has a basement with strong foundations and enough headroom, your conversion time and cost will be lessened. Larger scale excavation jobs are a lot more complex with a lot more costs involved. However, with that can come greater freedom for design. If you are planning to extend your home into the basement, give us a call at 020 71186155 or come and visit us at our office in Hammersmith. We are always happy to have a chat on how we can help you make the most of your home.