What You Need to Know
Like a loft or attic, living in a home with a cellar or basement provides an additional level that can be used in so many ways. Refurbishing the basement is a great way to add value to your property, and there are many options for how you utilise the space – from a study to an extra bedroom, storage area or even an entire flat. However, basements and cellars can often be cold, damp or simply uninhabitable in their current state, so conversion work will need to be done before you can enjoy the extra room. See our brief guide below for everything you need to know before making a conversion.
Being underground, cellars and basements are usually damp so it’s essential that they are fully waterproofed before being used as an extra living space. The first step towards this is basement tanking, a professional service which uses cavity drain membrane to make the area watertight. The membrane is applied to the basement or cellar walls and floor, and once fully dried, seals the area against moisture.
Cavity drain membranes work by providing an air gap between the membrane and the basement wall, which collects any water trying to penetrate. The excess moisture is then channelled into a sump pump or drainage point for disposal.
Install drainage systems
A sump pump is one of the most common types of drainage system for areas below ground level, and is especially effective if a basement is prone to flooding. Tanking is necessary to keep the area waterproof, but this won’t be enough if there isn’t a place for the collected water to drain away from the building.
A sump pump sits in a specially constructed pit, and gathers water naturally seeping up from the ground as well as from the cavity drain membrane. The water is then pumped away from the building to a storm drain or dry well.
Insulation and heating
Insulating your cellar or basement can save you money on heating bills, and a warm, dry environment adds an extra layer of protection against damp. There are several types of insulation that are suitable, including fireglass, foam board and spray foam. Fibreglass is inexpensive but is prone to condensation, and the fibres can cause irritation if disturbed. Spray foam and foam board are both water resistant and highly effective insulators, however they can be more expensive and are best installed by a trained professional.
Insulation alone probably isn’t enough, so you’ll also need to install some additional heating. There are plenty of options depending on your budget, from underfloor heating to radiators, oil heaters or even an electric plug in heater if the space isn’t used a great deal.
If you’re looking to convert your basement or cellar, contact North Yorkshire Remedials for basement tanking services to transform your underground space into a dry, usable living area. Our damp proofing experts have over 35 years of experience and offer free surveys and quotations, so call us now on