Your basement is one of the most versatile spaces in your home, which is often underutilized. Renovating an unfinished basement will give you more square footage and add valuable living space to your home. However, a basement finishing project is not a walk in the park. The entire process can be complex and challenging for some people. 

To help you navigate the process, we’ve put together the dos and don’ts of basement finishing. This guide will allow you to tackle this project from start to finish. So, let’s dive in!

What You SHOULD Do:

DO pull proper permits

Before you start any work, you will need to obtain permits from your local building department. Getting the proper building permits is crucial in all forms of a construction project. Some homeowners skip this step since basement renovations are not visible from the outside. Failure to pull necessary permits can lead to costly fines and removal of the completed work.

Building permits are not just mere pieces of paper. They help ensure that your basement finishing complies with existing building codes and regulations. With building permits, you have the assurance that your basement is safe for you and your family. Check with your local building department to know what permits are required for a basement finishing project. 

DO plan an open layout

An open layout for your basement is great for entertaining and day-to-day living. Removing the partition walls will provide additional living space and make the space feel bigger. This will leave you flexibility in rearranging furniture and getting the most out of your basement space. When there’s more space to walk around, it’s easier to transform your basement into an entertainment room, home theater, or anything you can think of.

DO insulate your basement walls

Investing in basement insulation is what you need to improve comfort and energy efficiency. Some of your options are spray foam, rigid foam board, and fiberglass batts. When the basement walls are properly insulated, dampness and noise transmission can be reduced significantly. Not only will it create a more comfortable environment, but it will also reduce heat loss and prevent mold growth. That’s why insulating your basement walls is a must-do. 

What You SHOULDN’T Do:

DON’T start until the basement is fully dry

Too much moisture is one of the common problems in a basement. A damp basement can lead to mold problems and poor indoor air quality. Before starting your project, make sure there are no visible cracks or leaks on the walls. Here are several ways to determine if your basement has moisture issues:

  • Visual Inspection
  • Thermo-Hygrometer Test
  • Moisture Meter Test
  • Relative Humidity Meter Test

You can also conduct a simple DIY moisture test by taping clear plastic sheeting over the basement walls. Leave the plastic sheeting for 24-48 hours. If there’s moisture on the inside of the plastic, your basement has a moisture problem. Fix this issue before you start any finishing work. It’s best to consult a professional who can waterproof your basement walls.

DON’T forget to install an egress window

Not a lot of people see the importance of egress windows in basements. This is a safety consideration that should not be overlooked. An egress window is an accessible escape route in case of an emergency. When planning your basement finishing project, don’t forget to install a window opening for your safety and peace of mind.

DON’T go down the DIY route

Attempting a DIY basement renovation won’t always be successful. Rookie mistakes are likely to happen due to a lack of expertise and knowledge. As experts in basement remodeling projects, we don’t recommend the DIY approach. Doing the work yourself might result in poor workmanship and other potential risks. Instead, hire a professional with specialized skills and knowledge. A reliable basement remodeler will help ensure the job is done right and within your desired budget.


Basement finishing can be a stress-free and enjoyable experience when you’re working with the right people. At Pittsburgh Basement Remodeling, we’ll provide you with a smooth and successful project that meets your expectations. Our team can design a well-planned basement space and bring your vision to life. Ready to turn your basement into the living space of your dreams? Contact our staff to schedule an appointment!