As housing costs slump and more and more people are finishing their basements instead of selling their homes, companies are designing their own basement remodeling wall panels. Unfortunately, many of these companies have products that have been hastily produced, poorly researched, or make misleading claims to the effectiveness of their final product. Before you make a final decision on which basement finishing products you want, ask yourself these five questions:
1. Is this basement wall product water resistant?
A basement water leak at some point isn’t a matter of how, it’s a matter of when. With all the pipes, sinks, and toilets in the house along with the water heater, washing machine, and water storage tank, something is definitely going to leak.
Additionally, rain and ground water can leak through foundation wall cracks in the walls or floor as well as through the foundation wall-floor joint.
2. Will my basement wall product resist mold?
Even when your basement is not leaking, water can still come through the porous concrete, stone, or tile foundation walls because of hydrostatic pressure. This moisture will collect behind and under your finished basement wall product. If it has any organic material, this material is going to grow mold. Fiberglass, drywall, wood, and most other building materials used for basement walls have at least some organic material. Mold and dust mites growing on the organic material will release spores and fecal material in the air that will travel throughout the house and are two of the top allergens in a home.
3. How durable will my walls be?
Once you finish your basement, you’re going to want to use it. This means that you may want pictures, shelves, cabinets, a plasma TV, a mirror, a wine rack, or any number of other items mounted on the walls. You’re going to want a strong, reliable wall that can hold up. Additionally, it’s important to have basement walls that can handle daily wear and tear without breaking, scratching, or becoming damaged. A product that washes easily is also important- especially if children and pets will be in the room. A good test to see if your wall is going to be able to handle stains is to draw a pencil line on a sample. If it can be easily removed, then you should be able to wash most stains from the wall. Beware of absorbent wall materials- if it absorbs moisture easily, it will also absorb spills and other liquids.
4. How much insulation does the wall product have?
In Canada and northern United States , a minimum insulation rating of R-13 is being written into local building codes. Whether or not this is required in your area, it’s a good idea to add to the energy efficiency of the home by adding effective insulation to your walls. Hard foam insulation will add to the strength of the wall product overall, and if it also features a hardboard ceramic panel, then you will be able to mount heavy objects on the wall without the need to find a stud. Be sure that if you insulate your wall that it’s completely covered with insulation around the entire perimeter, or your protection will have a hole for heat to pour out. room in roof insulation