What is the definition of a basement conversion?
Cellars are frequently left unoccupied, as evidenced by the number of houses with unoccupied cellars. They’re likely to be dark, dank, and unclean, making them unsuitable for keeping or spending any time in. The conversion of a basement is the process of turning it into an inhabitable chamber. There are various degrees on offer, ranging from a basic change to one that includes excavation and growth to provide adequate height.
What Is the Best Way to Turn Your Basement into a Home Gym?
There are several benefits to converting your basement. The most significant of which is that they provide you with more room, which is accessible from all of your home’s other living areas. This makes it ideal for families looking for extra living space, first-time buyers in a property that is short on space, and individuals who have downsized and are searching for a home for everything.
We also find that as property values rise, children are remaining at home for longer before purchasing a house of their own. Basement remodelling is an excellent option, providing distinct living areas for them. Alternatively, you may convert this separate living area into one that is suitable for ageing parents.
Converted basements are ideal for storage, freeing up more valuable above-ground space. More and more people are interested in staying fit, and home gyms are convenient, so self-employed individuals or those who can work from home find that converted basements function as an effective self-contained office
In conclusion, a basement conversion may be worthwhile as long as you do it right.
1) Provides you with additional storage.
2) Enhances the value of your property and makes it simpler to sell.
3) The waterproofing of your basement protects you from mould and fungal rot infestations, which can wreak havoc on your house.
4) It’s a lot easier than you’d believe.
How long does a Basement Conversion take?
The amount of time it takes to finish a basement conversion is determined by what you want to accomplish and the size of your basement area.
A waterproof membrane cavity system (more on this later) can take only two or three weeks to convert a simple single-room cellar, including excavating the sump and installing the pumping system. However, converting and extending the cellar as well as lowering the flooring might take several months.
If you’re unsure when to begin the job, the summer is a wonderful time to convert your basement.
Is it possible for me to do the job myself?
There are numerous things you may do yourself with a basement conversion, but other elements are most likely to need the help of experts. It all depends on your skill level and the type of basement conversion project you’re working on. All parts of our basement conversion guide so that you have a deeper understanding of each element and may make more informed decisions about what you can accomplish yourself to keep costs down.
What can I use my Basement for?
You may convert your basement in any manner you choose, and there are plenty of options to consider. Of course, the option is yours, and you probably already have a clear goal in mind for your basement remodelling. Here are some of the more frequent purposes for basements:
- Shower room
- Home Gym
- Home Office
- Games Room
- Entertainment/media room
- Home recording studio
Permissions and Building Regulations Planning
If you want to convert your basement, you’ll need to check with your local government to see if planning permission is required. If you hire a professional basement company to provide a design and build service, they will handle all of the planning, Building Regulations approval, and Party Wall Agreements as needed. Read our list of questions to ask basement contractors before hiring someone so that you can be sure that you’re working with the best firm for the task.
Planning Permission for Basements
In most situations, obtaining zoning approval is not necessary when converting a previously existing basement or cellar. When you convert an old cellar to a living area, all you have to do is change the function of the space, which does not need planning permission. According to the government’s planning portal: “planning permission is required if you are going to build a new basement, significantly expand the size of your property, or add a light well that changes its external appearance.”
If the floor level of a cellar needs to be lowered to increase the ceiling height, this may need planning permission, although very small extensions and modifications are permitted under Permitted Development Rights. You will almost certainly require consent for interior or external work if you live in a listed structure.
Write a letter to your local planning office to confirm that you can proceed with the project, since having evidence that planning wasn’t required when and if you sell your home is useful.
Building Regulations for Basements
Even if you only convert an existing cellar into a liveable area, you will need Building Regulations approval. Even if your converted basement is safe and energy-efficient, it must meet all applicable building codes.
Basement regulations include fire escape routes, ventilation, ceiling height, damp proofing, electrical wiring, and water supplies. The Basement Information Centre has updated information on this topic. More information may be found on their website.
The construction of an intact habitable basement or the repair of a cellar that does not change its function is not covered by Building Regulations.
Fire Safety in Basements
The Building Regulations, which were developed in the 1970s and 1980s to safeguard public safety during a building fire, contain information about fire safety measures. The term “appropriate means of escape” is defined in the Regulations. The Regulations first define a basement storey before going into details regarding whether the basement is an inner room or a separate fire-resistant structure. If the basement has an inhabitable room, you must provide one of the following:
- A ladder opening must be located on an external wall or window that can allow egress from the basement (for dimensions, see the Basements for Dwellings Document).
- A safe stairway extends from the basement to a final exit via an unlocked door.
If you live in a converted property that adjoins other properties and shares walls that will be affected by the change, you must follow the Party Wall Act 1996. You’ll need to contact the owners and leaseholders of the adjacent properties. It will cost £700 for each neighbour if a Party Wall Agreement is necessary.
How can my basement flood?
It might be difficult to identify the origin of the water if you have a damp basement. You may be vulnerable to flooding if you don’t know what sparked it. Low-lying areas, especially those located below the flood plain, are more prone to flooding.
The following are the most frequent reasons for basement flooding:
1) a basic operation that involves rainfall, which causes the ground to be moist, and subsequently encourages damp basement walls
2) Surface flooding – from a severe storm or overland flooding
3) Water from burst pipes causes structural damage to your property.
4)A high water table – regions with a high water table are more susceptible to flooding.
5) If the soil slopes down to the house instead of sloping away from it for the first ten feet, as it should, it will be more difficult to mow.
6)Concrete flooring with poor quality – fractures or faults in the surface
7)A sump pump is used to remove water from the basement. Problems with a sump pump are typical.
The primary purpose of most basement renovations is to provide you with a more liveable area, as well as a more pleasant environment. The process of waterproofing a basement is critical to any basement conversion.
The passage of water into the basement is stopped in basements that have been waterproofed. External waterproofing and cementitious tanking (these work by blocking the flow of water into your basement) are two options for blocking this route, as is installing a cavity membrane drainage system (which allows you to manage any water ingress by channelling it to a suitable evacuation point).
What is the best way to waterproof a basement?
The best method to waterproof a basement is to understand the many waterproofing processes and how they operate together. It should also consider the proposed use. The following is a quick summary of three of the most popular types of basement waterproofing, as well as their possible applications.
External waterproofing: A basement waterproofing system for this situation is one that involves the construction of a basement or subterranean building. It relies significantly on the careful planning and use of moisture-impervious materials in the building process. Unfortunately, because of this sort of waterproofing, the system is never fully tested until after the basement or subterranean structure has been completely backfilled and the surrounding ground settles. This might imply that a previously dry area is inundated with hydrostatic water pressure, which reveals any faults in the outside waterproofing and allows water to enter the basement.
Tanking: Cementitious waterproofing or tanking is the process of treating basement walls, floors, and sometimes ceilings with a fully bonded waterproof cement system. The tanking substance then adheres to the existing masonry substrate, creating an impermeable barrier that prevents water entry while remaining breathable. Tanking is required to resist external water pressure around the basement and must be completely connected to the substrate. Any fault in the tanking will be revealed, including any minor gaps through which external pressure may force water.
Cavity Drain Membranes: The walls, floors, and in some cases the ceiling of your basement are coated with waterproofing membranes such as PermaSEAL membranes. They’re meant to create a space between the waterproof membrane and the damp wall. The cavity produced by the cavity drainage membranes allows any water to flow freely.
The water is then carried via drainage channels to a sump, where it is pumped and discharged to an external drain. Because the pumps in this system are so crucial, it’s important to think about pump maintenance and even having a battery backup system if the electrics go down. Internal (dry side) waterproofing membrane internal finishes are produced on the inside (west side), which means wet surfaces are completely sealed off from dampness while remaining dry.
The BS8102 Requirements cover all waterproofing basement systems, as do the guidelines. We’ve also put up a comprehensive article on how to comply with BS8102. Check out our 100 per cent recycled basement floor and wall cavity drain membrane for further details.
Before You Get Started
You must do the following before beginning your basement remodelling and waterproofing:
- Remove everything from your basement
- Clean your basement, removing any debris, dirt and dust
- Assess the walls for any damage. You might need to fill in holes or dents before carrying out any basement waterproofing.
Who should carry out the Basement Waterproofing?
When it comes to basement waterproofing and basement renovations, you should strongly consider hiring a professional business or contractor. They will be able to suggest a basement waterproofing technique that is tailored to your specific demands.
When hiring a specialist basement builder, be sure to check their warranties. If you have issues in the future, they must keep their guarantee. An insurance-backed promise covers any repairs necessary even if the firm goes bankrupt.
The British Structural Waterproofing Association (BSWA) and the Property Care Association are two organizations that can assist you. Look for a firm that is registered with one of these groups.
Basement Waterproofing and Selling Your Home
The simple fact is that properties with waterproof basements are worth more than similar ones with damp basements. Even more so in high-value areas like cities, a well-lit, warm, and waterproof basement living area will increase the value of your house.
The time and effort needed to make the conversion, as well as the higher price tag and labour, may put off purchasers. In reality, it is a rather quick and simple project. The additional inhabitable area that a basement provides is a major selling point.
If water is leaking into your basement, it is a major problem because mould and decay will develop. If the mould does not be removed, it will only get worse. A damp basement may be home to serious issues like dry rot, which might cause huge structural damage and delay potential buyers. A waterproof basement resolves these problems.