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Improve the Safety of Your Basement

Learn what you need to do to create a safe and healthy basement living space for you and your family.

Basements can create specific health and safety issues because of their location underground. When planning a basement remodeling project, put these items on your To-Do list to make sure you’re designing a safe environment.

Building Codes

Check with your local county or state building officials for any required permits. You will likely have to meet specific building and fire code requirements for items like these when remodeling your basement:

  • Habitable room sizes and ceiling heights
  • Insulation, partitions, and walls
  • Wall construction
  • Natural light and ventilation
  • Basement stairs
  • Air ventilation systems for concrete basements
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Ceiling/Floor draft-stopping, fire-stopping, smoke detectors
  • Bedroom emergency exit

Radon

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas found in soil that could potentially enter your basement through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Check the EPA’s website radon section for more info.

Fire Safety

Installing a window during basement remodeling not only allows for more natural light but also provides a safety exit in case of fire. Keep in mind that windows that may be used for exits must meet special size and functional requirements. Check the local fire codes for your remodeling project.

You can also get excellent fire protection from fire-rated ceiling systems. All Armstrong ceilings meet current residential fire codes.

Preventing Mold

Use a dehumidifier and fans to circulate air and keep your basement dry.

When putting up walls, use moisture-resistant, pressure-treated lumber for wood framing and mold and mildew resistant drywall for walls.

Armstrong offers a drywall framing system with steel components called QuikStix™ that resists mold, mildew, insects, and rust. And unlike traditional wood framing methods, QuikStix is not combustible, and won’t warp or twist.

For suspended ceilings, choose Armstrong panels treated with BioBlock® to stop the spread of mold and mildew.

Accessing Mechanical Systems

Allow room for maintenance and removal/replacement of HVAC systems, hot water heaters, and other appliances. Don’t enclose the electrical panel in a way that restricts access for inspection and maintenance. Plumbing shut-off valves and clean-outs, and heating duct dampers should also be readily accessible.

A suspended ceiling will allow access above the ceiling, while attractively concealing home systems.

Taking the time to plan for safety will make your finished basement more comfortable, enjoyable – and stress-free.

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