Homeowners are often unaware of the many stages their basement remodel will go through throughout the remodeling process. Basement remodels involve many moving parts, which can make things feel complicated and overwhelming. However, hiring a great contractor and understanding the steps of a basement remodel will take much of the stress off your plate.
Due to the various different stages of a basement remodel, everyone’s project is going to be slightly different. Basement remodels can be more complicated and require many decisions. Therefore, the steps and complexity of each remodel will vary quite a bit depending on your choices, preferences, and square footage.
The goal of this article is to give you a step-by-step guide to help you be prepared going into your basement remodel. Understanding the steps of your basement remodel is crucial for level-setting expectations and being prepared for each step of the process.
Related Article: How Long Does a Basement Remodel Take?
Step 1: Get Your Plan and Hire a Designer
The first step of a basement remodel is hiring a designer and getting your layout finalized and creating a plan. Your basement remodel is going to move much smoother if you and your contractor know exactly how you want things built and where you want them.
Furthermore, your designer is going to be a useful resource when it comes to material selections. They will help you pick out paint colors, tile, floor material, countertops, trim, vanity designs, and more. Getting all your materials picked out at the beginning of your remodel is important for making sure your project stays on track.
Step 2: Demo Any Existing Structures
The second step of your basement remodel is the demo. Depending on how in-depth your basement remodel is, this includes removing old plumbing, framing, electrical, trim, and tile. The purpose of this step is to give your contractor a blank slate.
Going into the demo portion of your project you want to make sure your contractor knows where your water shut-off is, that way when demoing plumbing you can prevent any water leaks. Next, you want to ensure your contractor uses temporary caps on all the old water lines.
Additionally, be prepared for dust. Even with plastic and tape blocking off openings, dust will escape. Therefore, just be prepared to cover or move anything you don’t want to get dirty.
Step 3: Frame Up All Your Walls
The third step of your basement remodel is framing. This step involves building up all your new walls and structures that you are adding to your basement. For example, during this step new doorways, walls, bathrooms, bedrooms, showers, shower niches, soffits, and shower benches will all be built in accordance with the plan you created with your designer.
Once the framing is complete, it is important to let your contractor know if you want to make any modifications. Once plumbing, electrical, and sheetrock are done it is much harder to make changes to the structure of your basement without costing you extra time and money.
Step 4: Get Your HVAC Ran
The next step of your remodel is HVAC. This is where all the new returns, registers, and exhaust fans are installed so your basement is properly cooled, heated, and vented.
You typically want to move or run any new HVAC before doing plumbing and electrical because it is easier to run plumbing and electrical around HVAC.
Related Article: How to Plan for a Bathroom Remodel?
Step 5: Add Your Plumbing
The fifth step of your basement remodel is to get all the plumbing moved and run. This includes installing new water lines, valves, and drains for bathrooms, bars, and things like sump pumps. If you have existing plumbing and the locations of your toilet, shower, vanity, or bar are moving, then the plumber will work on removing and re-routing your old drains, pipes, valves, and water lines.
If you aren’t relocating any of your current plumbing, then you might not have much plumbing to do. However, if you have older galvanized plumbing, it is recommended to switch that out with PVC and PEX, even if you aren’t relocating any of your plumbing.
Step 6: Get Everything Electrified
The next step is electrical. During the electrical phase, the electricians will work on adding and moving switches and outlets. Next, they will work on moving and adding any can lights, exhaust fans, chandeliers, and sconces, which should be shown on the electrical plan.
Additionally, during this step, the electricians will run electrical for any special items like a heated floor circuit, light-up mirrors, under cabinet lighting, speakers, and any other special electrical requests.
Step 7: Insulate the Walls and Ceiling
Next, you will need to insulate everything. The amount of insulation needed is going to vary a lot depending on your project. In a basement, you need to insulate all exterior cold walls. This will help ensure your pipes don’t freeze, and your basement is energy efficient.
Furthermore, insulating the ceiling is an option. Doing this will help keep your basement warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Additionally, it may help dampen noise traveling to the upstairs portion of your home from the basement.
Step 8: Install Drywall and Concrete Board
The eighth step of your basement remodel is sheetrock and concrete board. Sheetrock is going to be put up on all the walls and ceilings that don’t have the potential for getting wet and that aren’t getting tile. Once the sheetrock is installed, then the drywall crew will start taping and mudding any imperfections and seams.
Concrete board is installed in wet areas and areas that are getting tile. Therefore, you will have concrete board installed in your shower. You will use ½ inch concrete board on the shower walls.
Related Article: Steps of a Bathroom Remodel?
Step 9: Finalize Cabinet Designs and Measurements
Once the sheetrock is done, you can schedule your cabinet company to come out for a final measure. At this point, you want to make any final changes to the size and design of your vanity, built-ins, and bar cabinets. You will need to make final decisions on door style, wood species, and design as far as door and drawer layout.
Step 10: Install Your Tile
The next step is tile installation. All the steps leading up to this will move much quicker than you think. Therefore, it is crucial to get your tile ordered early in the process. Additionally, make sure you have your install pattern, grout, and bullnose selections made by the time tile is starting.
For the bathroom portion, your tile guy should install the shower pan tile first. After that, they will move to the shower walls. Lastly, they will work on installing the solid surface material or tile on the top of the curb or pony wall, if applicable to your bathroom.
Last, the tile crew will install the main floor tile on your bathroom floor. If you are doing a heated floor, the tile crew will also run the heated floor warm wire and waffle board before installing the floor tile.
If you are doing tile as the main floor in the basement, now is the time for that to be installed as well. If you are doing tile for your basement floor it is recommended to use a larger tile. Something like a 24×48 or larger.
If you are doing something like LVT (luxury vinyl tiles) for the main floor of your basement, then that can be installed concurrently with the tile. Some painters might fight you on this because they will have to tape off the floors. However, it is better to install flooring before cabinets. Therefore, it is best to install the flooring at this stage in the project.
If you are doing carpet for the main flooring, then you will want to wait to have that installed later in the process because that is more apt to be messed up.
Step 11: Trim and Doors
This is when you will install all your base trim, base shoe, crown molding, casing, and doors. Additionally, during this step, the trim crew will work on installing any closet shelving or special trim requests.
Step 12: Install Cabinets and Countertop Template
Once your flooring or tile is complete, you will be ready for your vanity bar cabinets, and any other built-in cabinets to be installed. Right after your cabinets are installed the countertop company will come out and template, which essentially just them measuring.
Related Article: Basement Remodel Inspiration
Step 13: Start Painting
Now that your vanity and cabinets are installed, the next step is to stain and paint. Make sure you have all your paint and stain colors prepared for your painting crew. You will need colors for the ceiling, walls, and trim. Additionally, you need to have a paint or stain color picked out for the cabinets.
It is important to be prepared for the painting step to smell. Primer and lacquer are going to be the beginning steps and they are going to smell. Therefore, you need to be prepared to leave the house or deal with the smell.
Step 14: Countertops
Once the paint is complete, your countertop company should be prepared and ready to install your countertops. Make sure you have your sink present so the countertop company can install the sink while they are there.
Furthermore, make sure you have your faucets present for the countertop install crew. This is important because they will be drilling the holes, so they need your faucets to make sure those holes are drilled accurately.
Step 15: Finish Plumbing, Electrical, and HVAC
Finally, you are ready to get all your fixtures installed. The plumber will come back to install your shower trim, faucets, toilet, tub, and any other final plumbing items. Next, the electricians will come to install can lights, exhaust fans, heated floor thermostat, switches/ outlets, and any other electrical items. Lastly, the HVAC crew will come back out to install vent covers and make any necessary adjustments to your system.
Step 16: Finishing Touches
The final step of your basement remodel is going to be hardware installation on cabinets and doors, paint touch-ups, final cleaning, and any other punch list items.
You should have a list prepared for your contractor so they can have any issues fixed with one trip out to your job, so you can get to enjoying your new bathroom.
A basement remodel may feel like an intimidating and time-consuming process. However, it doesn’t have to be. There are multiple ways to make your basement remodel a speedy process. What it all comes down to is being prepared and hiring the right people.
Related Article: How Long Does a Basement Remodel Take?