finished basement

Modern Finished Basement Ideas: Getting Downstairs to the Details

What is your idea of a modern finished basement? Don’t let other contractors sell you on the idea that laying a carpet down and installing some cheap drop ceiling panels qualifies as “finished.” There is so much more that can be done to convert your basement into a real, honest-to-goodness, bona fide living space that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. But as with any successful home remodeling project, it’s all about attention to detail every step of the way. 

Framing basement walls

Once we have an idea of the design for your finished basement, how it will be laid out, and what features it will contain, we can move onto framing. We take great care in framing basement walls, because we know the setup phase is absolutely critical to the execution.

When framing basement walls, we are trying to accomplish four main things:

  1. Structural integrity — To help achieve this, we use steel studs for their sturdy and resilient properties.

  2. Fireblocking — Limiting the amount of oxygen that can get into spaces between walls (and in between ceiling joists) in the event of fire.

  3. Waterproofing — Moisture is the mortal enemy of any basement, finished or unfinished. When there is evidence of water issues (such as cracks) along the outside walls, it’s important we reinforce and draw water away from those walls prior to framing and hanging drywall.

  4. Housing and hiding our mechanicals — It’s what’s on the inside of walls that counts, too. You’ll need wiring, plumbing, and HVAC routed correctly for your modern finished basement idea to become a reality. The less conspicuous we can make these elements, the more “finished” your basement will look and feel.

Finished basement ceiling ideas

Many of those same mechanicals we just talked about have to run through the ceiling, too. If you favor a more industrial or nautical look (like that of the cabin of an ocean liner), painting the overhead joists and beams may suffice. 

Others may settle for the aforementioned drop ceilings, which is a gridded metal framework that hangs from the joists and is filled in with drop ceiling tiles. Although there are much better-looking options as far as those go than there used to be, most modern basement ideas steer away from them.

At Ayars, drywalled ceilings are our preferred method of finishing since it is more cohesively integrated with the rest of the home.  This opens up opportunities for a really polished look and feel with recessed lights, crown molding, and paint, just as you would see on the first and second floors.

Finished basement flooring ideas

Whatever finished basement flooring idea you have in mind, a moisture-resistant material should be a top consideration — because raised humidity and flood risk just come with the underground territory. Thankfully, basement flooring material options are numerous and varied. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Luxury vinyl tile/plank: A major upgrade over conventional sheet or tile vinyl flooring on account of its thickness, durability, and impressive emulation of real wood and stone.
  2. Engineered wood: Engineered wood is less apt to warp in damper environments than solid hardwood and is virtually indistinguishable.
  3. Ceramic/porcelain tile: Naturally wear-resistant and water-repellant, ceramic or porcelain tiles are one of the best options for the long-term. You may want to consider an anti-slip finish for condensation and/or radiant heating to keep things warm underfoot.
  4. Plank (“wood-look”) tile flooring — Plank tile flooring combines the durable qualities of ceramic/porcelain tiles with the timeless look of wood. Because of their rectified (90 degree) edges, they fit together nearly seamlessly with almost invisible grout lines. 

Finished basement storage ideas

Many people conceptualize basement storage as tossing whatever it may be down the stairs into a dark abyss, never to be seen again. With finished basement storage, however, we’ll want to be more intentional and organized. And for a modern finished basement, we’ll want to be clever and creative, too. Here are some examples of the bespoke storage solutions we’ve drawn up for our clients:

  • Built-in drawers and cubbies
  • Under-stairs closet
  • Under-stairs reading nook with bench storage
  • Equipment storage area in foundation jut-out

Finish your basement the right way with Ayars

The best modern finished basement ideas begin and end with the details. Don’t miss a step on your way down to your favorite new living area; discuss your dream with the Ayars team today. 

custom millwork fireplace

4 Good Reasons to Save Interior Home Remodeling Projects for the Winter

Preparing for hibernation this winter? A little R&R is fine — and probably well-deserved — but if you sleep through the whole thing, you might miss the best time for interior home remodeling projects. Whether you’re in the market for minor touch-ups or a more major undertaking, winter can actually be quite kind to the opportunistic homeowner. Here’s why.

You have more downtime

During the spring, the outdoors demand our attention as we prepare for a busy summer. When the warm weather finally arrives, it can be a struggle to go everywhere, see everyone, and do everything we want to. Autumn is a scramble with back-to-school shopping quickly giving way to a string of holidays. When things finally settle down for the winter, the quiet can seem downright eerie. Interior home improvement can be the perfect way to fill the void. Consider what’s working for your space and what isn’t, and use that as a springboard to plan your remodeling projects.

Remodeling contractors have less volume

Quality remodeling contractors are busy year-round — repeated successes build trust, and a good reputation breeds more opportunities. However, warm weather means longer work days and more projects. That means if you wait until the spring or summer to schedule your kitchen or bathroom remodel, it make take longer for your contractor to get around to your project. Therefore, winter is the ideal time for interior renovations — your contractor will appreciate being kept out of the elements, and you’ll appreciate additional insight during the process, including the scoop on available and forthcoming specialty products that can elevate your project to the next level. 

kitchen remodel hardwood floor

Home improvement material prices increase in spring

The leaves may have fallen, but the laws of supply and demand are evergreen. Manufacturers leverage the fact that more home renovation projects occur in the spring and summer and adjust prices accordingly. On average, material costs increase 2.5 to 5 percent at the start of the spring season. Beat the rush by slating your home improvement project for the winter and reap the savings. 

Winter remodeling is a good excuse to travel

Interior remodels can be disruptive. Although most professional contractors will try to minimize their footprint as much as they can, there’s just no getting around it. Fortunately, however, the colder months often coincide with vacations and holiday getaways. South Jersey winters can be harsh at times, which is the perfect excuse for an escape. Meanwhile, your contractor will enjoy unimpeded access to an otherwise crowded workspace. This can alleviate much of the stress that a bathroom or kitchen remodel can impose on some families. When you return, much of — if not all— the work may very well be done. And you’ll be much happier and may even have a sun tan. 

Best interior home remodeling projects for the winter

  • Walls: Cooler, drier air conditions are ideal for painting. Interior crown molding and wainscoting add a refined touch to any room, especially dining rooms, living rooms, and master bedrooms. Tiled backsplashes can add a pop of color to a bathroom or kitchen while protecting walls from moisture and water damage. 
  • Floors: New carpeting, tiling, or hardwood flooring can help refresh the look and character of any room. Exposed hardwood floors have especially gained popularity with modern homeowners for their timeless appearance and ease of cleanup. 
  • Basements: A finished basement or home entertainment center is not only a great place to huddle together during the winter, but it’s also a great place to escape the heat in the summer. It’s also a terrific boost for home resale value. 
  • Kitchens and bathrooms: Build the kitchen or bathroom you’ve always dreamt about with stylish lighting, fixtures, and decor.
  • Custom Millwork: Installing new cabinets or shelving systems can both reduce clutter and uplift a room’s aesthetic.

Whatever your winter upgrade plans are, Ayars Complete Home Improvements has the staffing and experience to help you make the most of the season. Contact us for a free estimate today.