tag : Basement remodeling, Indoor pollutants, Interior design Toronto, Radon Gas, Robin Siegerman, Sieguzi Kitchen & Home
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This segment of Remodeling Minute™ addresses 3 issues that can be dangerous to your health in your basement.
Listen to the podcast here: Protect your family from health hazards before your basement remodel
Today’s e-mail question is:
“How do you know if your basement is suitable to be remodeled? My basement has really low ceilings and I think it would feel really claustrophobic”.
When I’m called in to look at a basement to see if there’s any potential to create a comfortable living space, the owners will sometimes start out by saying, “I don’t think there’s anything you can do with this room, but we thought we should at least talk to someone to get some advice.”
And that’s exactly the right thing to do before you spend one minute of your time or one dime of your money so you don’t end up wasting either. But in my business, I haven’t yet found a basement that I couldn’t turn into something terrific.
I think in most cases, the basement is a diamond in the rough waiting to be polished to show its true brilliance. The basement is such a potential gold mine of living space that is so often wasted with the stuff we accumulate over the years then don’t know what to do with, so we shove it down there, out of sight, out of mind until even the thought of doing anything down there makes you want to lie down and have a nap!
Often it’s hard to see the basement’s potential because it’s dark and cave-like with little or no natural light and rough, unfinished surfaces. But you’d be amazed at the comfortable rooms you can achieve with well-thought out space planning, lighting and practical finishes and furnishings.
There are almost no limits to how you can increase your home’s living area without building up or out! Of course if your ceiling is 7′-0″ high, you’re never going to have a trampoline studio unless you’re prepared — and your municipality will let you dig down to lower the floor, and if there are no windows you aren’t going to have natural daylight without some fairly extensive excavations, but with good design, so much more is possible!
A basement with low ceilings and little or no natural light can be particularly comfortable when turned into a media room. Painting the ceilings and walls black can actually make them disappear when the lights are low or off when watching a movie, so you get more of a theater experience.
However, 3 major issues you have to be aware of before you start your basement re-hab project:
1. Mold and mildew which I discussed in my last podcast
2. Indoor pollutants
3. And the most misunderstood of all: Radon Gas
Radon gas is a result of the natural breakdown of uranium that’s found in some soils, rocks and water. It’s odorless, tasteless and colorless, but dangerously toxic. It can seep into homes through foundation cracks and the use of some natural rock materials used in the foundations of some older homes. In the US have a look at the EPA’s Consumer Guide to Radon Gas
Or you can read Health Canada’s article on protecting yourself from Radon gas
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Indoor pollutants can be caused by old or poorly maintained heating equipment, building materials and synthetic finishes like carpet, paint and fabric. It’s impossible to eliminate all of them, but in the basement, which typically isn’t as well ventilated as other areas of the home, be conscious of the materials you choose and go green where ever possible to cut down on the products’ off-gassing, and consider installing a high velocity ventilation system before you do any of the pretty things. Then you can rest easy knowing that your family’s health won’t be jeopardized by the room itself.
For basement space planning and decor services, to get more tips and advice or to find out more about my book, go explore www.RenovationBootcamp.com
I love getting e-mails with readers’ questions, so don’t be shy!
See you in the basement!