From Unfinished To Finished- The Ultimate Basement Renovation Guide

Basement Renovations

Finishing a unfinished basement is one of the most satisfying experiences ever. It not only allows the space to be used but it also creates a purpose, adds value to your home and can even create a profit when selling. So where do we start? How do you get the unfinished element to finished? Well keep reading as this blog post will be the ultimate guide to completing a basement renovation.


When starting with any project it’s good to first come up with an idea or concept. Ask yourself this- What will the space be used for? Who will spend time in this space? From these questions you can determine what is needed in this space. Will you need another bedroom or bathroom? Office or sitting area or game area? Bar or kitchenette? Come up with a plan on what you most need or want in this given space. From here measure the given space to determined the final square footage.

The next step- you guessed it right- budgeting.

Budgeting is a very important factor that needs to be considered as the budget will set you up for what you can and can’t do with the space. From here you’d want to decide what areas need to be prioritized in the space, with the budget can help determine what can get done during this renovation period.

Permits are something that should always be looked into since building permits are required for things like additions, structural, and material alterations. Your space may not even require a permit but always check since unpermitted construction carries fines and legal implications.

The next step is to find if and or where the moisture in the basement comes from- moisture related issues won’t go away until acted upon. This will help eliminate any issues that could possibly worsen and potentially destroy the new building materials.

The last step before starting the building process is deciding on if you can make this a DIY project or if you want to hire contractors or a local business. While there are many areas in which can be DIY but we highly recommend hiring a certified plumber and electrician when the time comes. This is where either a professional creates a drawing of the space or you create a drawing of the layout you’d like to create. From here we can start the building process.

Step #1- Walls Walls and More Walls

The first step in completing a basement renovation is insulating the walls. Start by measuring the space to find out how much insulation is needed. Many companies that sell insulation have an online calculator that can be used to double check the amount needed. A great option for insulation is polystyrene foam board insulation– this product is used often because of it’s thermal insulation and water barriers. 
Apply construction adhesive to the back of each board and press firmly making sure there’s no gaps. If there are any gaps or openings seal them with non-toxic caulking or insulation sealant.

Now we move onto framing-framing helps create the layout of the space you are trying to create. When framing make sure to think about each room size and how much space is needed. Now start by placing and constructing the wall frames on the basement floor. Lay out the lumber and space the studs at regular intervals so you know where everything goes. When all is correct lift and place each piece into position and secure the base plate on the concrete floor using masonry drill, masonry nails, and/or a hammer by then you can secure the top plate to the blocking and joists.

Next is creating our partition walls-these are the walls that separate rooms from one another. Mark the placement of partition walls by using snapping chalk lines on the floor for both sides of the base plate. From here assemble wall frames in the same fashion as exterior walls, leaving an additional 2.5 inches of space around planned door frames, and secure them in place as marked.

Now we want to frame around any type of obstruction- this can include pipes, beams, or electrical. When it comes to electrical or valves, cover the sides and place a grate or cover so that you can still have access to it when needed.

Plumbing and Electrical

Now that our walls are built before we can close them you need to get your hired certified plumber and electrician to come. The plumber is there to install and assemble piping fixtures and other components for the supply of intake and disposal of water. After your electrician can come to install and connect any and all electrical system wiring.

Drywall and Paint

Once your plumbers and electricians have finished you can close up all the walls with drywall. Measure and cut each board so it can be secured and placed against the wall studs. Secure the drywalls sheets to the studs using drywall screws. Make sure to cut any necessary openings before filling in seems with joint compound. Apply drywall tape to each seam while using a knife to smoothen out any bubbles or wrinkles. From here you can apply the joint compound and begin the process of mudding. After this dries you can add extra layers if necessary while sanding in-between each layer. Once this is finished you can paint your walls- we recommend applying two layers of paint.

Ceiling and Ceiling Insulation

To create finished ceilings you can decided on the type of ceiling design you’d most like to go with. Many people go with installing drywall on the ceiling similar to how they did the walls. Another method is drop-ceiling insulation. This type of ceiling is preferred by anyone who needs access to their plumbing or electrical systems that are placed in the ceiling. These drop-ceilings are suspended from the main structure which can be a metal or plastic grid system. The ceiling panels are inserted into the grid to create a finished ceiling look.


While it’s not always necessary some people prefer to add in a subfloor on top of the concrete to increase warmth and keep out moisture that could affect the flooring. If adding a subfloor due to the extra benefits it provides interests you or because you have an uneven floor it’s best to use self-leveling compound to fill in any dips. Using adhesive attach polystyrene insulation to the cement and install sheets of plywood on top using masonry screws. From here you can choose your desired material and colour of flooring- we highly recommend using vinyl planks since it is waterproof, scratch resistant and easy to install.

Design and Decorate

Now that you’ve finished the construction process it’s time to decorate your basement! This is where you can be creative and design the space in any style and design you like. To make this process easier go room to room and go over what products and materials you need in each space. If it’s a bedroom- you’ll need a bed and even a side table. Do the main feature products before you decide on the decorative ones.


We hope this week’s blog post has helped you understand the process of finishing an unfinished basement! Until next week everyone!

By A4 Group Construction

A4 Group