Heating and Cooling Your Basement
Add an HVAC system in the basement to maintain a comfortable temperature.
When finishing a basement, installing a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system can be vital for controlling temperature and humidity.
Homeowners eager to add the look of whitewash hardwoods to their basements are often apprehensive due to flooding. Whitewashed vinyl plank is an excellent alternative to hardwood for two main reasons. First of all, the whitewashed plank's off-white coloring helps bounce light throughout the space. Next, since vinyl is waterproof and extra resilient, it can withstand major leaks and floods.
Bright Wool Rugs
Bring a playful touch to your basement with boldly colored wool rugs. Since basements are often much cooler than rooms on higher levels, grounding them with lush wool will help keep the space feeling warm and soft. To keep the basement gender neutral, consider shades of turquoise, orange, red or lavender.
Another great way to add color and soft texture underfoot is to place patterned area rugs side by side. Choose rugs with clean, graphic patterns, then place them next to another, matching up the pattern repeat. Once furniture is placed on top of the rugs, the seams will be hidden from view.
Homeowners interested in a more subtle approach to basement flooring may consider tone-on-tone carpeting. This suggests sticking with a carpet in the same tones as the room's furnishings for a seamless look. Here, the greige coloring of the thick wool shag blends in perfectly with the velveteen upholstery of the sofa.
Porcelain Wood Plank
With wood flooring in high demand from both homeowners and builders alike, many tile manufacturers have started creating planks of porcelain which look and feel like true hardwoods, but with more durability. Available at lower cost than hardwoods, porcelain plank is often a more practical choice since it's waterproof, easy to clean and more resistant to scratches than wood.
Cork is an excellent basement flooring option, especially in one used for activities since it's super soft and helps control noise. There are two popular styles of cork flooring: interlocking plank systems and glue down tiles. Homeowners with basic do-it-yourself skills are best fit for tiles since they'll just need to be cut with a utility knife once glue is added to the subfloor. Do-it-yourselfers with advanced skills can install the plank systems by cutting them to size with a circular saw, then fastening them together tongue-and-groove style.
A super affordable way to update wood or concrete basement floors is with porch and deck paint. To do this, you'll need paint by the gallon (latex or oil, whichever works best in your climate) as well as a floor primer and a floor sealant. After a thorough cleaning and priming, tape off your desired pattern with painter's tape, then apply the paint using a roller and an extender pole. Reposition the tape as needed as you change from one color to another, then allow the floor 3 to 4 days to properly cure before walking on it.
You can either install a separate unit, or zone, for your basement, or extend your existing HVAC system. Either way, it will be necessary to install new ductwork. This can be a do-it-yourself process for those who have knowledge about how duct systems work, but it may be necessary to request the help of a professional.
Consider adding a dehumidifier to your system, either standalone or part of the HVAC unit, to decrease moisture and help maintain constant temperature.
See also: HVAC Buying Guide
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