Finished Basements Raise Home Values

Monmouth County homeowners know that having extra space in your house is a valuable bonus. With careful planning you can design the perfect space that can also add resale value to your home

NJ finished basement with pool table

I always talk about protecting your home from the outside first. When you've protected your foundation and basement properly that means you've waterproofed from the outside, and insulated properly to make sure it's warm. If it's a new home with an unfinished basement, you've taken my advice and left it alone for a few years to monitor any cracks or leaks that may have appeared in the foundation. If any have appeared, you've made sure to waterproof, and of course, protected them against mold.

Once that's all done, and done right – it may be time to finish your basement. A finished basement can add a lot of value to your home – both in the resale value, as well as the extra space that your family can use. Here's how I would finish a basement, so it's done right – and looks good.

Flooring Finishes

Homeowners often ask me what kind of flooring I recommend in a basement – but as long as you've taken care to create a watertight seal, you can choose just about any material you want. Here are some of the options I would consider:


A lot of what I said for tile also applies to laminate flooring – but just make sure you're installing it on top of a closed cell underlayment for laminate. It's durable, and it will offer easy cleanup in the case of spills – and I know parents will like that one.


You see a lot of finished basements with carpet, and I really like carpet because it's cost effective, and easy to replace. Most new carpets contain low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which is good, because I am a big fan of healthy homes. Make sure to choose a carpet that is durable, and use a closed cell underlayment that is designed for basements.


When choosing a tile floor, I would choose porcelain over ceramic, because it's more durable. Tile is easy to clean, lasts a long time, and I'd recommend installing an in-floor heating system to keep the basement warm. If you don't like the traditional look of tile – especially for such a large space – you have options that mimic the look of wood while still retaining the benefits of tile flooring.

Ceiling Finishes

How you finish your ceiling may differ from the rest of your home. Here are your two major options:

Drop Ceiling

Also known as push, or suspended ceilings, I love drop ceilings because they're a practical option – you'll have easy access to any wiring systems that would be covered by drywall. Believe me, you'll thank me every time you have to do a repair. One thing to worry about with a drop ceiling is that they can cost you valuable headspace. Not all homes are built with a finished basement in mind, meaning the extra 3 to 5 inches required to install a push ceiling could be noticeable for those of us who are taller.


People like the look of drywall because it's clean and since you can attach it directly to the joists, you'll have more headroom too. If you're building a home theatre system in the basement, you can select a drywall that offers soundproofing to keep the noise in the rest of the house to a minimum. The drawback to a drywall finish is that you'll be closing off the ceiling rendering all cable, electrical, plumbing, and ductwork inaccessible – and you may run into code violations if there are electrical junction boxes in the ceiling because they need to be accessible.


If you're finishing the basement, it's the perfect time to run the wiring for anything you may want. Cable, lighting, stereos, or a surround sound system are all good options to consider. Even if you won't be using the space as a home theatre for now, should you change your mind in the future, the last thing you'll want to do is rip the walls out to install wiring after you've already added your finish.

I can't think of many families who wouldn't be able to use the extra space that a finished basement provides. When you've already taken care to keep water out of the basement and protect it against the cold, adding finishes to your space just makes sense. Before doing any work – make sure you've got the proper permits and are hiring the right people for the job.

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