Basement Conversions

The Ultimate Guide to Basement Conversions

Guide to Basement Conversions By Experts

An increasing number of people are converting or installing basements to make more space in their homes.
In most cases, basement conversions have a positive impact on the value of the house, which makes them even more desirable. However, installing or converting a basement is a significant project that requires a fair amount of planning, considerations, permissions, and money.
To help you take on this challenge, the Danford Brewer & Ives' basement conversion experts have shared their ultimate guide to basement conversion:

Your Ideas

When planning to add a basement room to your house, you must have an answer to some crucial questions, including the reason, the worth, and the time duration of the conversion or installation. You may need to consult a professional to get an answer to your questions.
Firstly, you need to decide on the use of the basement room that you are planning to build. Are you going to use it as a spare bedroom? Will it be a leisure space or an extra bathroom or kitchen? All basement builds irrespective of the intended purpose come with challenges, which you need to be prepared for in advance.
You should also make sure that the basement conversion or installation will add value to your property and look at the return on your investment because you would not want your money, time and effort to go to waste if you eventually plan to sell the property.

Considerations

After you have decided the purpose of the basement room and considered the return on your investment, then you can go on to evaluating other, more specific aspects of the room, which include:

  • Waterproofing

Waterproofing, alongside any structural changes, are the most significant considerations for basement conversions and basement installations. Because they are below ground level, basements will be subject to groundwater and some may be below a water table or a perched water table. Protection of below ground structures against water from the ground is fully explained in British Standards 8102:2009. It is very important that this standard is followed in any basement conversion or new build. These rules will ensure that a correct method of tanking or water control is used. Basements are often more vulnerable to condensation and adequate insulation, ventilation and heating will be necessary.

  • Lighting

Understandably, basements will not have a lot of natural light so you will have to consider how you will adequately light up the area using artificial lighting and light reflecting colours. Another way by which you can increase natural light in the basement is to add a sunken garden, which will increase the cost of the project.

  • Bathrooms

If you intend on using your basement conversion as a spare room, then it is likely that you are going to add a bathroom for washing up. If a bathroom is in the plan, consider the ventilation, the type of toilet you will use and the plumbing.

Financial Planning

As with all construction projects, you need to plan the financial aspect of the basement conversion meticulously, ensuring that you stay within the budget. Start by contacting the professionals for quotes and plan your budget accordingly.

Building Permissions and Regulations

Often a straight forward cellar conversion will not require planning permission, but checks must be made and Building Regulations will apply. Some changes to form new windows and doorways may come under permitted development and not need full planning consent, but major changes to the appearance or change of use should always be checked before any work is started. An architect of the local planning authority should give the best advice. An experienced, qualified contractor should be aware of the rules and regulations.

Look For Basement Conversion Professionals

Once the planning, financing and permission aspects are completed, you can then start looking for professionals that are reputable and can provide you with high-quality solutions for basement conversions within your budget. Do your research, read reviews and meet with the professionals before the selection. Remember to comply with British Standard 8102:2009 and all relevant Building Regulations.
Danford Brewer & Ives are basement conversion experts.  With many successful projects completed, we are the perfect partner for anyone looking to have a basement conversion.  To discuss your plans further simply contact DBI and book an appointment for one of our qualified site surveyors to visit you and run through the options with you.


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Professional Advice for Dealing with Damp

Professional Help & Advice for Dealing with Damp Problems

Damp is a common problem that should be identified and treated as soon as it gets a foothold in your house. Shockingly, damp problems can cause serious structural and health issues if left untreated. Fortunately, damp can be treated with a few simple steps that we will reveal in this guide.
One of the damp proofing and treatment specialists at Danford Brewer & Ives has shared his professional guidance for people dealing with the issue of damp in their homes. He holds years of experience in offering damp surveys and damp treatments to both commercial and residential properties. His vast experience has allowed him to gain professional insight into how people at home with little or no knowledge can treat various types of damp.

Expert Recommended Treatment for Condensation

Condensation is the most common form of damp and can also be the easiest to resolve. Condensation is caused when everyday actions such as cooking, bathing, washing and drying clothes create moisture in the air. The most common rooms for condensation to form in are the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms.
The wet air will then target areas of cold surfaces such as windows and external walls. You can identify these areas by looking for blackish mouldy spots, water droplets on the walls and window glass, small puddles of water on windowsills and peeling paint.
There are many small and simple ways in which you can reduce condensation in your property, for example:

  • Ensure that each room has sufficient ventilation, such as opening windows and using extractor fans.
  • Ensure that the property is moderately heated. Without heat, the wall surfaces will become colder and attract further condensation.
  • Make sure that there is sufficient insulation within your loft space. Condensation will form on ceilings where cold spots are created through insufficient insulation.
  • Dry clothes outside. If you dry clothes indoors on radiators, then this will add moisture into the air. Also, if you use a tumble drier ensure it is either vented or a condenser tumble drier.
  • Keep all airbricks clear to allow air to flow around the property.
  • Keep furniture slightly away from the walls to allow air to pass around it.

If the above suggestions do not help improve the condensation issues you are experiencing, then other steps can be taken. Contacting a damp specialist means you will be offered the correct specialist solution to deal with the problem effectively, whether it is a Positive Pressure Unit, heat recovery humidity-controlled extractor fan, additional air vents, improved insulation, heating, or most likely a combination of these to find the correct balance.

Expert’s Recommendation for Damp Penetration

Penetrating damp is caused by water penetration in the walls. The most common reason behind this type of damp is structural issues.
It is vital that the cause of water penetration is dealt with before anything else is treated. Experts suggest checking for the following:

  • High external levels, built up paths or flowerbeds
  • Blocked & overflowing gutters
  • Broken, leaking downpipes
  • Running overflows from cisterns and tanks
  • Porous masonry (under-fired bricks, porous stone, porous mortar)
  • Cracks
  • Defective render & pointing
  • Unfilled joints and perpends
  • Defective seals around doors and windows
  • Holes in walls – e.g. where cables or pipes protrude

If you see blotchy patches with crumbling paint and plaster inside your property that is wet with mould and mildew growth, then, unfortunately, you are dealing with penetrating damp.
Ensuring that your property, especially older properties, is kept well maintained will help prevent penetrating water.
Treatment of penetrating damp can require stripping material back to the bricks, but it only happens in severe cases. Materials that are severely damaged must be removed and replaced. Do not merely paint over damp because it will not solve the problem from spreading further.

Experts’ Recommendation for Rising Damp Treatment

Rising damp is the common term for the slow upward movement of groundwater in the lower sections of walls. Rising damp can be a sign that your walls were not adequately protected from the moisture in the ground outside. It could be that poor drainage is a contributory factor, so it’s certainly worth checking for standing water in crawlspaces and basements. Rising damp has to be corrected as soon as possible because it can lead to severe damage to your house.
Signs of rising damp can include:

  • Tide marks/staining
  • Salting – white powdery substance
  • Peeling paint/wallpaper
  • Skirting boards becoming rotten
  • Plaster blowing/crumbling

To check and treat rising damp, it is essential that you enlist the help of a qualified reputable damp proofing and damp treatment company that can identify the cause of rising damp. These companies can come up with the most effective solution.
No one property is the same which is why Danford Brewer and Ives carry out a thorough damp survey on each property to identify the what the root cause of the damp is and provide a suitable treatment to fix the problem.  If you have a damp issue and would like a professional damp proofing company to take a look then contact DBI today and book a site survey with one of our certified damp surveyors.


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Value Adding Basement Conversion Ideas

5 Space Maximising and Value Adding Basement Conversion Ideas

If you are done with using your basement as a dump, where you throw everything that you do not find useful in the house, but you do not have the heart to throw it away, then converting your basement into a useable space is ideal.

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If you have decided that you want to make your house’s basement a useful space that does not only make it more functional, but it also adds value to your property, we have five ideas for basement conversions that will not fail to impress you.

Read on to discover them and maximize your basement space.

Gym

If you are a fitness fanatic or hate going to the gym every day, then you can bring the gym to your home! With a basement gym, you will save thousands on a gym membership every year. Moreover, you will not be bothered with hygiene as you will not share your equipment with others. There are tons of benefits to having a gym at home. Having said, you can enjoy working out at your own pace without worrying about the scheduled gym timings.

The best thing about converting your basement to a gym is that you will not have to invest too much money for conversion. You have an option of either starting with a complete gym set or a few essential equipments only.

Music Studio

A basement is a perfect place for a music studio! Why? Because it is easier to sound-proof a basement than other parts of a house.

Especially, if you have a high ceiling, a basement would be an ideal place for a music studio. A basement studio allows you to disconnect from the world and focus entirely on creating musical masterpieces. You can play instruments for as long as you like without receiving neighbours’ complaints.

Cinema

If you want the perfect cinematic feel at home, converting your basement to a cinema would be a fantastic idea.

In case your basement does not allow too much light, then converting your basement into a cinema would be an ideal option because you wouldn’t have to pay extra money for making your cinema lightproof. With having your own basement cinema, you can invite friends over and enjoy cinematic surround sound and high-resolution 4K display at home at any time of the day, and on any day of the week.

Underground Parking

Parking is always a plus! It is not only the ultimate solution to the limited parking space in front of your house, but it also adds value to the property. If you are worried about having limited space in your basement, you can extend parking space by a double-tier lift, and park two vehicles in the same place instead of a single-vehicle.

Bedrooms

This conversion idea might sound a bit boring, but if your primary goal is to add value to your property without spending too much on the conversion, then you should invest on converting the basement to bedrooms.

Houses are usually valued on the number of bedrooms they offer, each decent size bedroom will add thousands to a property’s value.

You can make one or more bedrooms depending on the amount of foot space available, or you can even convert the basement into a large studio apartment or annexe.

Other Ideas

As well as the above ideas, many people also convert their basement into a:Basement

  • Utility room
  • Playroom
  • Home office
  • Kitchen

Some people may also look at using the space within the basement to create a swimming pool or transform it into a self-contained flat. With enough space and budget, most things are possible.

Danford Brewer & Ives are basement conversion experts.  With many successful projects completed, we are the perfect partner for anyone looking to have a basement conversion.  To discuss your plans further simply contact DBI and book an appointment for one of our site surveyors to visit you and run through the options with you.