If you are ready to expand the living space in your home but aren't willing to build an addition, then finishing the basement is your best option. Before you start making plans and bringing in the crews to install wallboards, flooring, and ceilings, you first need to make sure that there are no hidden moisture problems to deal with.
1: Inspect Wooden Supports and Beams
Many basements have wood support beams throughout that help hold up the rafters and beams that create the ground floor of the home. If moisture has damaged these supports, then you need to have the supports replaced or repaired before construction begins. Further, you need to determine where the moisture has come from that damaged the beams so that waterproofing strategies can be implemented to prevent moisture seep into the basement in the future. Water damage of overhead beams typically doesn't indicate basement waterproofing issues, but you may have a leaking appliance upstairs that needs to be repaired.
2: Locate Any Cracks in the Walls
Most people install wallboard or paneling over the bland concrete walls of the basement during a remodeling project. Before doing so, have a waterproofing contractor inspect the walls carefully for cracks or other signs of water intrusion, such as crumbling concrete surfaces. If damage is found, the contractor can seal up the damage to prevent moisture from seeping through. They may also recommend applying a waterproof coating to the concrete walls before installing wallboards.
3: Repair Bowed Walls
Bowed basement walls are a major red flag that there are problems with your foundation, most likely due to water pressure from outside of your home. A high water table can put pressure on a concrete foundation wall, forcing it inward. Not only is this unsightly, a bowed basement wall compromises the integrity of your home. Covering it with wallboard won't solve the problem. You must have the wall rebuilt or supports installed. Further, you will need the help of a waterproofing service to ensure that the high water table doesn't cause future bowing issues with the replaced wall.
4: Deal With Standing Water
Putting in wallboards and covering the floor can temporarily hide a wet basement, but it won't solve the problem. Mold, mildew, and general water damage will destroy your newly finished basement in short order. If you have standing water, consult with a waterproofing contractor for the best options. A trench can be installed under the concrete to route water into a drain system or to a sump pump pit, for example. These systems are out of sight, so you can build up the flooring of your choice over the top once the trench is installed.
Contact a basement waterproofing company like Gregory's Waterproofing before you remodel so you can be sure moisture won't ruin your plans.