I recently completed a design and renovation job for 2000 square feet of basement space. Over 1600 feet is now added living space, and the rest is dedicated to utilities and storage. The clients were clear about what they wanted- a premium added living space.
Daily living space means year round comfort and amenities. This project has a bar, wood floors, built ins, a large flat screen with room for a huge lounge sectional. There is also a large home office with plenty of storage, plus an enormous gym to accommodate some serious workout machines. My first priorities were insulation, space planning and great lighting.
For long term comfort to be effective, sub floors and state of the art insulation, are worth while investments, as well as an expanded heating and air conditioning and air filtration system. We researched and compared what is available in state of the art, so called 'best practices' solutions, with green options at the top of our wish list.
When it came to the all important insulation, we choose is a material called Barricade. See http://www.orvx.com. http://www.greenbarricade.org/index.html It consists of 2.5" deep R 14 walls of premium XPS foam with ship lap- interlocking board covered with a non formaldyhide OSB which was used on the walls and a 1 3/8" high 2x2' tile sub floor with an R 4 insulation level. What we found was, once all the floor tiles were locked together, an exceedingly comfortable foundation to the project. The tiles were amazingly well manufactured, and came together in much the same way as a unilock floating floor. Best of all it was immeadiately comfortable underfoot. The floor tiles and wall panels are both sheathed in a non absorbtive base layer and have channels to wick away any mositure.
Our basement project was over the 8' height of the Barricade wall panels. This created more work, but was still a faster and more efficient installation for a first rate job. One thing to consider is the squareness and hardness of the existing walls. On our job we were dealing with very hard 10" thick poured walls. The job required a heavy duty hammer drill, but in the end we had an excellent seal that would have been very time consuming using conventional 'best practices'. That method requires rigid ESP foam plus 2x4's plus sealing each seam line with water proof tape to create an effective seal.
Keep in mind that Pennsylvania Home Improvement laws specifically require detail on what kind of insulation is being used. Barricade offered us a gold standard - this material is a great improvement.
In the slideshow, see images of Barricade being put to use. One more thing - I was delighted with the customer service we received from the manufacturer, Orvix. Based in Toronto, this company was responsive to any and all of my questions about the material. The shipping was extremely fair and reasonable. Although this job had many construction challenges, even with our added height, the install went very well 'the first time around'. The reaction to the space has been universally positive and I would recommend Barricade to both contractors and intrepid homeowners, with some project management advise before they begin the work. It does require planning to provide for outlets and wiring in general.
The best feature of the space besides the feeling of comfort underfoot is the lighting. I did not skimp on the ambient light and added picture lights, track and accent chandeliers to help create mood lighting. I also added a full granite back splash to the service kitchen and bar area and an etched faux window at the bar back.
An egress window in the gym brings in daylight for working out. The inner areas are for working, playing and relaxing with friends and family.
The result- a true living space, which really adds to the value of this home.