5 Common Mistakes to Avoid with Finished Basements

Basements have the unfortunate reputation for being dark, dank, and damp. That may be true for some unfinished basements, but it should not be the case for your finished basement. A finished basement is a great home improvement project that provides several options for use. There are a lot of extra considerations when it comes to renovating your basement, like wiring, piping, mechanical systems, and more. As long the job is done right, your finished basement can become a great addition to your home. These are a few common mistakes to avoid with finished basements:

Mistake #1 – Ignoring Issues with Moisture

Moisture can cause a lot of damage to your home, especially in the basement. It can cause mold, leaks, damage to materials, and can even lead to cracks in your walls and foundation over time. Whether you plan to finish the basement or not, moisture issues should not be overlooked or ignored.

It’s important to repair any structural damage and water leaks and then to waterproof as soon as possible and especially before finishing your basement. This is one of the many reasons why checking for moisture issues is one of the things to consider before finishing your basement.

Mistake #2 – Not Considering Design or Floor Plan

You may know exactly how you want to use your finished basement and where everything will go, or you may have no idea. Whether you have a plan in mind or not, it’s important to consider the design and floor plan of your finished basement. Renovating your basement needs to take into consideration electrical wiring, pipes, the sump pump, the water heater, the furnace, and more in addition to how you actually want to use the space. These are essential items on any basement remodel checklist.

The last thing you want is for your investment to end up with a poor design and dysfunctional layout. Going in with a solid design and the best layout for your space is always a popular basement remodeling trend and ensures you end up with a finished basement that meets your needs and results in more usable, livable space.

Mistake #3 – Forgetting About Power and Comfort

A poor plan or design for a finished basement can end up blocking important valves and instruments. When planning out your finished basement, you need to consider electrical outlets, easy access to important equipment and shutoffs, and overall comfort.

Before renovation begins, you should also have a solid plan in place for how you will manage the temperature in the basement and warm up a cold basement. Because the atmosphere is different than your above-ground rooms, it’s usually a good idea to install a separate thermostat for the basement with its own floor registers or baseboard heaters.

Mistake #4 – Disregarding the Windows

Another big mistake is disregarding the windows. Current windows should be inspected for proper structure and seals. Any issues should be repaired or the windows should be replaced. This helps prevent future moisture issues and can help prevent heating and cooling loss. You will also need to consider your residential building code as you may need a larger window or an egress window for a livable basement.

Mistake #5 – Not Thinking About Other Details

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to finished basements. Another one of the common mistakes to avoid with finished basements is not thinking about other details like soundproofing, lighting, or the stairs.

Basement Stairs

Unless your stairs to the basement are already perfect, you’ll want to include the stairway in your basement renovation. Most of the time, basement stairs are too narrow, too steep, or are potentially old, damaged, or unsafe. Including stairs in your basement renovation gives you the chance to widen the area, increase headroom, and also make them more inviting and safer to use.


Basements tend to be noisy. Not only are the mechanicals for the house running there, but you’re also turning this area into a livable space that people are going to use, which will increase noise. Incorporating soundproofing during the renovation can help minimize noise and keep everyone happy whether they’re upstairs or in the basement.


Even with windows in the basement, you’re not likely to get a lot of natural light. So, it’s important not to ignore lighting when you’re finishing the basement. Poor lighting can create a dark and uninviting atmosphere and affect the usability of the room. Ensuring that your new space has adequate lighting makes a big difference and can help lighten and brighten the entire atmosphere.

Keeping an unfinished basement could be a mistake, but it’s important to make sure finishing your basement covers the necessary bases. These common mistakes to avoid with finished basements can cause damage over time or make your basement just plain unenjoyable to use.

Working with a home improvement contractor that has experience with finished basements ensures the job is done right, that your financial investment is protected, and that you end up with a new livable space that you love. Contact Zephyr Thomas at 717-399-4708 today to talk about finishing your basement!