Top 7 Basement Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid


load bearing wall removal

If you’re tired of your toddler crashing your Zoom calls covered in ketchup, it might be time to finish that basement – and it can’t start soon enough. Like most of us, you’re probably longing for some quiet space to call your own, and the basement can be a great place to stake out. 

Basements are debuting as luxurious and functional living spaces – a far cry from the damp, uninhabited storage areas they were once made out to be. Extra space for that long-coveted pool table, enough room for the children to play, or a quiet space for you to finish work – the possibilities are endless. 

And then there’s the added resale value. Basement conversions have an 86% return on investment, making them one of the most popular remodeling jobs over the past twenty years. 

But basement remodeling is not cheap. If you’re going to invest that kind of money into a home renovation, you’d want to do it right.

Steer Clear of These 7 Basement Renovation Mistakes

A creative design plan and an experienced design team can help transform your underused basement into a multifunctional space. However, before you dive in with both feet, take a good look at our list of mistakes to avoid.

1. Dividing the Space

Is your existing basement just one, ample, sprawling space? Consider yourself lucky. There’s plenty you can do with this openness.  

You can always modify your space to hide eyesores like the furnace, exposed plumbing lines, or electrical panels. But avoid dividing the room into a cluster of small spaces. Be mindful to keep your floor plan as open as possible, even if you create an apartment in the basement.  

Consider half-walls, movable partitions, pocket doors, or sliding barn doors to separate areas, or use furniture arrangements to establish special sections.

2. Using Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation isn’t the best fit for basements, primarily because the cold, moist air puts you at risk of a mold infestation. Mold in your home can have dire consequences, including health problems, structural issues, and general mayhem. 

Your basement remodeling contractor might recommend replacing any fiberglass insulation with alternatives like EPS. EPS is a graphite-infused foam devoid of organic additives, making it mold-proof. 

3. Knocking Down a Load-Bearing Wall without Warning

Not all walls in your basement are load-bearing. But the ones that are must be dealt with care. Basement load-bearing walls support the vertical load of your home and transfer weight from other areas to the foundation. 

If there’s a wall getting in the way of your underground haven, you can always knock it down. However, we recommend getting an expert like Load Bearing Pros on the job. You can’t demolish a load-bearing wall without installing permanent beams to hold up your home – and this job is best left to the experts. 

That’s not all. You’ll also need a permit to remove a load-bearing wall in Utah since these are structural changes in most municipalities. 

Don’t take a hammer to the first basement wall you come across. Call a structural engineer or basement remodeling services to check it out first!

4. Not Waterproofing

Your basement is at a relatively higher risk of flooding, meaning you must protect the bones, no questions asked. Based on the age of your home and how it was constructed, an unfinished basement might not have sufficient waterproofing. But don’t worry – it’s relatively easy to fix! 

Invest in vapor barriers and moisture-resistant finishing materials. Also, plan to repair foundation cracks and exterior drainage problems before initiating the remodel. 

You can also consider a central drain or backup sump pump if you live in a flood-prone area. Water damage can wreak significant havoc on your home, so it doesn’t hurt to plan for worst-case scenarios and leverage any additional protection.

5. Ignoring Musty Smells

Does your basement smell funny? At best, the damp odor will linger and kill the vibe of a place you spent thousands to renovate. At worst, it could indicate bigger problems, like black mold. 

While black mold does not affect everyone the same way, anyone with a genetic sensitivity to spores may experience: 

  • Congestion 
  • Red eyes 
  • Respiratory problems 
  • Skin rashes 

Mold spores can also aggravate asthma attacks in people already afflicted with the disease. 

Needless to say, black mold can put you and your family at risk. We recommend you check out that musty smell before jumping into basement remodeling in Utah.

6. Using Wooden Flooring

Using wood-based flooring is a norm above the ground. But for the basement, wood can spell disaster. Basements are far more humid than the rest of your home (aside from the bathroom, maybe). And when this moisture reacts with organic matter like wood, it creates a breeding ground for rot, mold, and mildew. 

That’s not all. Depending on the type of wood you use, your floors may expand over time as they absorb moisture, eventually becoming uneven. 

What’s the solution? Always use 100% waterproof, inorganic materials for long-term value!

7. Not Choosing Good Lighting

If your basement has existing windows or light wells along the walls, be sure to take advantage of the natural light. But plan to add sufficient artificial lighting to keep your new space bright after hours. Use accent lights, task lights, and general lights freely to make the most of the space. 

Remember, the basement is already a scary area (serial killer movies, anyone?) Offset the eeriness by using recessed or can lighting and controlling it by putting the room on a dimmer switch. This way, you can set the lights to your liking anytime.

The Bottom Line

The idea of a finished basement can inspire a world of possibilities. That said, you might find it tough to navigate the situation, especially since basement remodels are in a league of their own. Knowing about the most common basement remodeling mistakes can help you sidestep these pitfalls with ease and sail through the process hassle-free! 

Looking to turn your basement into a luxurious she-shed or man cave? Call the experts at Load Bearing Pros to take out the load-bearing wall standing in the way of your dream space. Having been in the business for a while, we know exactly how to replace load-bearing walls to maintain your home’s structural integrity. We’ll be in and out of your hair quickly! Contact us today to know more.