Basements can range from murky and dark to finely finished, or anywhere in between. If you are a homeowner with an unfinished basement, it can be relatively cost effective to finish that space and expand your livable square footage – most of the time.

However, having been around a remodeling job or two, I can tell you firsthand that if you don’t take the proper steps before finishing your space, you can end up with a really expensive and unusable basement. Below we are going to discuss three important steps you should take before starting the buildout.

1.  Check and Fix Any Foundation Leaks

Basements, being below ground are very susceptible to flooding. Through foundation cracks, poor drainage, or some combination of the two. For this reason, you should always have a licensed and qualified contractor check your foundation and basement as a whole for areas prone to leaking.

If it is found that they foundation isn’t water tight, a basement waterproofing contractor should be called in to access and repair it. If there is water in your basement or your walls have become saturated, a water restoration company can help you in identifying any hazardous mold and drying the property before you continue your renovation.

2.  Check and Upgrade the Insulation

When your basement is just used for storage or not at all, the quality of the insulation isn’t generally at the top of your to do list. However, if you and your family will be spending time down there more often, you want to make sure that the space is comfortable. Check with a local contractor or home improvement store and they can give you recommendations based upon the climate of your area or “zone”.

In addition to the temperature of the space, some insulation is designed with soundproofing of the space. Now if you happen to be finishing your basement as a rental space, you definitely will need some good soundproofing for both you and the tenants’ sake. Most of the time you are not making it over for tenants, so the real benefit is that the sound quality within your gameroom will be improved by proper soundproofing materials. This can make a big difference if you plan to add a big T.V. and surround sound for gaming and movie night.

3.  Have Your Wiring Inspected

Last but certainly not least, you should have the wiring inspected and if needed, upgraded by a licensed electrician. This will protect your home and your gameroom equipment. In some cases your electrical system might be fully adequate, but in a lot of basements, the circuit was setup to run a few lights and a plugin or two.

When you call in an electrician, give them an idea of the number and type of items you plan to run downstairs. If the load is much larger than the circuit was designed for, you need to have a second set of plugs added on their own circuit. The situations vary too much to cover them all here, but a qualified electrician will know exactly what needs to happen.

I know that the wiring and insulation isn’t quite as fun as that 80” T.V., but when your feet are wet and cold while you are watching it, you may not be as happy as you thought. Turning your basement into a gameroom can be great, just make sure to take the proper precautions so that you can enjoy it for years to come.

Not to mention, if you decided to sell your home with a finished basement, the value just might go up.