Nearly 10% of all new homes include finished basements. Ensuring health and safety in this space means meeting all fire safety and electrical codes. Additionally, the area must monitor indoor air quality, have adequate lighting, and include features that resist mold and pests.
Windows and Window Wells
Many basement windows lack the dimensions for home residents to exit during fires or floods. Consequently, emergency service personnel sometimes cannot enter to fight fires or rescue victims. Basement windows in finished basements must also meet fire safety standards to prevent tragedies such as the 11 deaths during Hurricane Ida in New York basement apartments in 2021. Consequently, include enlarged window wells and appropriate window well covers in your finished basement.
Install carbon monoxide and radon detectors if your builder did not include them. Water heaters, furnaces, and dryers can all emit carbon monoxide. Radon emanates from underground through cracks in your walls and foundation. Asbestos exposure results when old pipe and furnace insulation crumbles. Most new homes do not contain asbestos, but finishing an older home’s basement could result in exposure, so hire a company experienced in asbestos recognition and mitigation.
Mold and Mildew Exposure
Follow industry standards to ensure that your finished basement does not draw moisture into the home. Everything from installing sump pumps to using the correct carpet padding and floor coatings will help keep your basement dry and mold-free. Also, include backup sump pump power sources in case of power failures.
Add storage off the floor, with covered plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes. Off-the-ground storage reduces hiding places for rodents and insects.
While indoor lighting cannot equal the benefits of natural light, well-placed light fixtures and lamps will offset gloom. Lighting each corner and the center of the room as a part of your finished basement design creates overlapping illumination and softens glare while adding ambiance.
Check fire extinguishers monthly for pulled pins and full charges. Mount one extinguisher on the wall at the farthest corner of the room. Keep a second extinguisher at eye height at the bottom of the stairs and a third at the top. Although this may seem excessive, these three locations allow you a better chance to exit safely during fires.
Finally, ask your contractor to provide their license number and proof of insurance and schedule a fire safety inspection before making the final payment to ensure compliance with regulations and recommendations. Contact ElkStone Homes today to learn more about how to keep your finished basement safe and secure.