9 Steps to Finishing a Basement Before You Move In


If you have just bought a house and wish to finish the basement before you move in, you’ll have to act fast to do it after closing. Finishing a basement adds significant functionality to your home’s footprint so you get extra space to work, play and relax without the need for a structural addition.

Finishing a basement is a big job with a big payoff. Check out the steps necessary to transform a standard concrete basement into a livable, finished area.

1.  Apply for a Permit

Because there’s electrical and structural work involved, you will need to pull a permit. This will protect you against future changes in building codes and prevent tricky situations that could come up later when you decide to sell the home.

2.     Clean it Out

While waiting on permit approval, start cleaning. You will have to completely clear it out, which may not  be all that hard if you just bought the home from the sellers. Need a large space to put your stuff from the old house? Rent a self-storage unit or a portable storage container.

3.  Test for Moisture

Basements are notorious for water leaks, so if you don’t inspect the area and do some tests, you can end up with moisture damage that will ruin all of your hard work. While the inspector likely would have uncovered any leaks, you should always perform your own tests, like the plastic sheet test, calcium chloride kits and relative humidity meters. If dampness is detected, you’ll have to address this before you take any other steps.

4. Gather Tools and Materials

You will need materials such as:

  • Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Flooring
  • Paint

You’ll also need the right tools and safety gear, such as a ladder, nail gun, goggles and dust mask.

5.     Take Care of the Electrical

Because wiring goes behind walls, this is the first thing you will have to take care of. Add extra outlets or light fixtures if you want, but always hire an electrician for this job.

6.  Finish the Walls

Many unfinished basements feature basic concrete walls. You’ll have to finish them, and to do that, you’ll need to first insulate them, then frame them, then finish up with drywall.

7.  Finish the Floor

After the walls, you have to tackle the floors. Think about which type of flooring you want down there. This will depend on the intended usage. Carpet is a standard option and is great if you’re using it as a rec room or play room. If you have lots of kids and pets, you may want something low-maintenance such as vinyl or laminate. Whatever you choose, you should put a subfloor down first.

8.     Finish the Ceiling

Some people prefer the look of an exposed ceiling, so you can leave it as is if you want. Or, you could add a drop ceiling for easy access to utilities, or opt for a fully drywalled ceiling.

9.  Add Aesthetic Finishes

This is the fun part. Now that all the basic structural features are in place, it’s time to add finishing touches such as trim and paint, followed by storage and furniture. Now, you can sit back and relax, move in fully, and enjoy your new basement.

Contact Around the Clock Moving and Storage

Now that your plans for a finished basement are in place, it’s time to book your move with us. For a free quote, contact us at 469-853-0045.