Posted by Bruce Borden in Home Maintenance

Basements are more than just an area for storing holiday decorations, suitcases, and sleeping bags. When you look beyond the concrete floors and walls of an unfinished basement, this space has tons of potential, whether it be a game room, home gym, movie room, or man cave!

Finishing your basement could also add considerable value to your home. Here are the steps needed to finish a basement properly and take advantage of this additional living space.

  1. Clean and Prep the Space
  2. Conduct a Moisture Test
  3. Adhere to Building Codes and Permits
  4. Finish the Walls
  5. Choose the Right Kind of Flooring
  6. Install Your Ceiling
  7. Decorate and Personalize

Finished Basement

Step 1: Clean and Prep the Space

Before beginning your basement transformation, you’ll need to clear out all the junk, boxes, and plastic bins you’re currently storing here (in addition to the spider webs).

Cleaned Unfinished Basement

This task may be daunting, but the end reward is worth it since you’ll both have a space ready to finish and maybe minimize on your stuff, too!

Step 2: Conduct a Moisture Test

It’s always a good idea to perform a moisture test before renovating to ensure your finished basement won’t be ruined by any leaks or issues you weren’t previously aware of.

If you do have a leak, make sure to perform another test after fixing it so you know the issue is completely remedied. You can also consider adding a coat of waterproofing membrane to prevent future issues.

Finishing a Basement

Step 3: Adhere to Building Codes and Permits

This is important! Before you start your DIY project of finishing your basement, you will need to apply for the appropriate building permits and make sure your plans are up to code:

  • Does the ceiling need to be a certain height?
  • Is there a required number of exits?
  • What plumbing regulations need to be followed?

Step 4: Finish the Walls

Say goodbye to your concrete walls! Your dream of a finished basement starts to come to life when you finish the walls.

To do this, you’ll need to install insulation, frame your walls, and hang your drywall. We recommend R-19 insulation—your home will be more comfortable, and your energy bills will be lower.

Don’t forget to take windows and outlets into account when hanging/cutting drywall. Once the drywall is secured and the seams are sealed with caulk, your walls are ready for paint!

Finished Basement Walls

Step 5: Choose the Right Kind of Flooring

Concrete floors are a thing of the past. Say hello to carpet, vinyl, tile, or whatever type of flooring fits your vision. It’s also a good idea to seal your basement floor to reduce the risk of moisture.

Keep in mind the types of activities that will be taking place in your newly finished basement space and plan flooring accordingly.

Finished Basement Flooring Options

Step 6: Install Your Ceiling

Your basement is almost complete. Once you install a finished ceiling, covering pipes, and utilities, your finished basement will look completely transformed and ready for guests.

You can choose between a drop-ceiling—allowing you to still access overhead utilities—or a drywall ceiling, which conserves more space.

Finished Ceiling Flooring Options

Step 7: Decorate and Personalize!

Finally: the fun part! Not only can you store those holiday decorations here, but now you have a home gym, bar, place to watch the game, or movie room with reclining couches and a large flat screen TV. Whatever plan you had for your basement has now come to life.

Finished, Decorated Basement

You can officially cross finishing your basement off your list of home improvements and move on to the next DIY project.

Hungry for another DIY idea for your home? Find your next home project.


Bruce Borden


Bruce has been with M/I Homes for over 20 years, has been the National Customer Experience Manager for over 10 years, and has been in the home building industry for over 30 years. Happily married and a proud father, Bruce enjoys outdoor activities and home improvement projects, and has never met someone he didn't like.

What Is a Tray Ceiling?

What Is a Tray Ceiling?

Home Design

Buying a New Construction Home: Do You Need a Real Estate Agent?

Buying a New Construction Home: Do You Need a Real Estate Agent?

Home Buying