October 14, 2009

How to Convert a Cellar

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Not always is it feasible to purchase a new home when you need extra living space, but what can be an option is to convert an unused cellar into an area that can be used as living space. When you convert your cellar you can have room for a family room, play room for the children, an office area, or you can simply convert the area to use for storage.

If your cellar already provides enough headroom that you do not have to do any major construction, conversion is fairly simple. If you will have to remove soil in order to enlarge the cellar, this could get expensive and may require a professional contractor.

  • Assuming that headroom in the basement is sufficient, you will first start by waterproofing the basement walls. This step is probably the most important due to the damage that may be caused by leaky basement walls. To waterproof the walls you will need to purchase a waterproofing mixture such as tanking slurry and apply several coats of this. A waterproofing membrane may also be needed if you have a problem with the water table around the basement walls.
  • In addition to waterproofing the walls, if your basement has a dirt floor you will obviously have to install a cement floor and waterproof this as well. Some older homes do have dirt floors, and although this will make a cellar conversion a little more difficult, it can still be done at less cost than buying a new home.
  • Once the cellar is completely dry and waterproofed you can then begin the conversion. This will likely include building framing for interior walls, adding sheetrock and doors. In the case that you plan on adding extra lighting and electrical outlets, you may want to consult a professional electrician for this job, unless you have a lot of experience in this area.
  • If you plan on putting carpet in your basement you may want to consider a less expensive outdoor type of carpet. Although you have waterproofed your basement, there is always a chance there will be a leak at some later time. You will not want expensive carpet that will be easily ruined. When painting the interior walls make sure that you have sufficient ventilation to avoid getting ill from the fumes.

Converting your cellar is a great idea if you are looking for a way to expand your living space at a reasonable cost. Most cellar conversions are fairly inexpensive, especially when you consider what it would cost to by a new home.

When converting your cellar you will quickly have extra living space to use for just about anything you can think of from extra bedrooms, a wine cellar or home movie theater. If you browse some online pictures of before and after basement conversions, you will be amazed at just how much you can do with that unused cellar. Some of these conversions really create beautiful living areas.

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