Basement Rules for Water and Light
Whether you are remodeling or building from scratch, the basement can become one of the coziest places in your home. By their very nature, basements stay cooler in the summer and quieter year-round than other rooms in the house. On the other hand, without the right design, the same basement could be a dark, damp and musty place that gives your children nightmares. The following article outlines several precautions you can take to make your basement the kind of space you desire.
First of all, do everything you can to keep water out of the basement because it cultivates mold. In addition to smelling bad, some molds even pose a dangerous health hazard. To protect your family from mold, you should start by building a solid foundation that is covered with plenty of sealant. Then plan your landscaping with a grade that slants away from the house. This will help carry water away from the basement when it rains and when your sprinklers are running. And finally, make sure there is proper ventilation in the room as well.
Once you've got the water under control, it's time to focus on lighting the room. One of the best ways to bring light into a basement is to dig a couple of window wells. You'll definitely want to wire for some light fixtures as well, but sunlight won't add a penny to your utility bill. In addition to flooding the room with natural sunlight, window wells can let in fresh air and serve as an emergency escape route. When you shop for them there are several things you should keep in mind though.
For example, a lot of window wells are much more functional than they are fashionable. They do let in air and sunlight, but they are ugly eyesores whether you are looking at them from the inside or the outside of your house. Some people remedy the problem by covering the cheap metal liner with stone material, but that solution is very expensive and difficult to install. Fortunately, there is an affordable alternative that looks just as attractive as genuine stone. These products are usually one-piece, light-weight composite window wells that require no maintenance. And, if you want to make it easy to get in and out of the window well, you can order a model with a built-in step.
Covers are another thing to consider if you have a couple window wells around the house. A lot of people do fine without them, but they do help keep leaves, animals and family members from falling into the cavity of the well. If your window well is particularly deep, a window well cover would probably be a wise investment for safety. Of course, solid covers need to be made of clear material if you still want light to come in through the window well. If you do buy one, look for products that will protect your family and your furniture from harmful UV rays.