How to Avoid a Disaster with Basement Insulation

How to Avoid a Disaster with Basement Insulation

Basement Insulation Tips


Basements are notorious for being cold, dank areas that homeowners avoid as much as they possibly can. The heat from your home can quickly escape through the basement and its immediate connection to the ground. This connection leads not only to the cold air associated with the basement but a higher moisture content that makes the basement unpleasant to be in. The basement also conducts heat from the main floor of your home, leaving that floor colder and raising energy costs. Basement insulation is often the answer many homeowners come to, but too many homeowners take short cuts causing them to re-install different insulation after no more than a year or two.

Find an Expert

Not only is it unwise to try to insulate your own basement, you should find a contractor who has experience specific to basement insulation. The basement can be the trickiest place in your home to insulate. Principles for other adequate insulation in other areas of your home may be flawed for your basement. The biggest and most common problem involves the moisture inherent to your basement.

In general, but especially during the summer months, moisture can seep through your walls and get absorbed by your insulation. This leads to the formation of condensation that can eventually cause mold, rot and reduced insulating performance. For this reason, fiberglass insulation usually needs to be avoided when insulating your basement. Closed-cell foam tends to be the insulation of choice, but you also don’t necessarily want to pick a contractor who knows just enough about basement insulation to go all out, causing you to spend more money than you have to. Finding a contractor who has a number of years of experience installing basement insulation in your specific region/climate can make all the difference.

Ceiling v. Wall Insulation

Once people start thinking about basement insulation one of the first things they ask is whether they should insulate their basement walls or their basement ceiling. Wall insulation slows the heat loss from your basement to the outside. Ceiling insulation slows the heat loss from the first floor of your home into the basement.

Basement wall insulation is usually the way to go for the following reasons:

  • The temperature difference between the outside air and your basement is usually greater than the difference between the basement and the rest of your home. This means slowing the heat transfer from the basement to the outside is a more efficient and more effective insulation choice.
  • While ceiling insulation will help keep your first floor warmer with less energy consumption, it will likely make your basement that much colder.
  • Basement ceilings often have electrical wiring, ventilation ducts, and/or plumbing that can cause patchy, leaky insulation.

Try Patching First

One thing you can try before you drop money on a basement insulation contractor is patching any cracks that might exist between the basement framing and the concrete foundation. These cracks may be large enough to cause the outside air to funnel into your basement. Ideally, you should wait for a windy day and see if you can feel these mini-air drafts. If you feel these drafts, stuff patches of insulation in cracks or seal them off with caulking. This likely won’t be a miracle cure, but it will help. If you don’t see these cracks of you can’t feel drafts, it’s probably time to call a professional insulation installer.


Basement Bathrooms: Weighing Cost vs. Convenience

Basement Bathrooms: Weighing Cost vs. Convenience

Basement full bath


The beauty of a cellar is that it is a pre-existing space within the home. Most home additions involve new construction, which means that most money is spent on the practicalities: foundations, plumbing, electrical, siding, roofing, etc. Therefore, many homeowners look to finishing their basements since it’s already built-out into the original floor plan. However, once you’ve finished this underground area with a wet bar, a game room or an extra bedroom, you may still be missing one crucial ingredient: a basement bathroom.

Another Addition?

Why would you need another toilet, sink or shower when you already have these installed upstairs? It’s a good question because basement bathrooms aren’t cheap, but they also don’t cost a fortune and they are easy to build. In fact, if you were planning ahead, you may already have a small space studded out downstairs just waiting to be completed. Either way, if you invest a few thousand dollars into this particular renovation, you’ll see the long-term benefits will eventually outweigh any costs:

  • Convenience: Not only are cellars “found spaces” for remodels (meaning you don’t have to expand on your home’s exterior “footprint” when you build an addition), they also come with other convenient features. For instance, since all your plumbing is already located downstairs, it’s easier to hook up a toilet, sink or shower. Plus, this room is meant to be small, so it won’t have to take up much room.
    Resale Value: These renovations add money to your house. Buyers are only concerned about the final look of a home and therefore simple flourishes leave a big impact. Though small basement bathrooms are a quick and convenient remodel, they leave a striking and luxurious impression on people’s minds.
    Handiness: Do your children sleep below? Did you install a bedroom down there for guests? Is this downstairs space used as a playroom for the kids? If you spend a lot of time in this area, why create all that up-and-downstairs traffic? Having a basement bathroom with all the amenities makes out-of-town guests feel more at home. And for everyday use, having a toilet within reach is always an advantage.

Things to Consider

Before you begin renovation, here are a few ideas you may want to take into account in order to make the project more successful:

  • Pump Systems: If your water lines are installed upstairs, you may need to invest in a specialized up-flush toilet system for your wastewater. These lift pumps are not authorized in all areas of the country though, so make sure to check with your local building codes beforehand.
  • Claustrophobia: Most of the time, this area will be very small, so make sure your initial design takes this into account. Sacrifice a tub if it makes for a more usable toilet or maybe buy a three-quarter shower for a tight fit. A pedestal sink removes the clutter that extra cabinets create. Hang a medicine cabinet above the sink so that you still have a small storage area but make sure it has a mirror to give the illusion of more space.
  • Contractor: As you can see, even though these spaces “pre-exist” in the home, you may still need a designer, installer, plumber and other specialists to get the job done right. When it comes to your cellar (much less a finished one) you certainly don’t want to have any leakage problems, so it may be best to hire a trained contractor who specialized in this type of remodel.

Basement Remodeling Preparation

Basement Remodeling Preparation

Basement Remodeling Preparation


Basement remodeling is one of the most involved home remodels with a slew of possible obstacles. Eliminating moisture associated with a dank basement, creating sufficient sewage lines to remove waste water, major fixes for an aging foundation, upgrades to the electrical system, and a long list of new furnishings are just some of the biggest problems basement remodels are liable to see. Fortunately, basement remodeling contractors are experts at navigating these pitfalls. Someone who’s been in the business for several years has probably seen it all. That said, there are several things you can do to help out your contractor and make sure you’re not in his or her way:

Basement Remodeling Prep Steps

  • Basement Stairs: If you have a walls leading down into the basement rather than an open staircase, take off the handrail before the contractors begin your basement remodel. The handrail will just become something they have to contend with, lift things over, and try not to catch things on as they move things up and down the stairs. This is a small consideration that they might not even notice, but they will definitely notice if they keep running into it. This is the first thing many basement contractors do before they begin hauling things down. They will appreciate having it done by someone else.
  • Basement Storage: If you are like most homeowners, your basement is for storage. Even if you have a makeshift home gym or game room, there are still boxes and old things you can’t quite part with in the corner or on shelves. Depending on your particular remodel, all of these things will need to be moved out of the basement contractors’ path. This will most likely have to be done anyway because there will be less room for junk after the remodel. If you have a spare bedroom, these items would fit best there. If not, try to avoid taking these items to a storage facility as that will be much more work that you likely want to get into. It might be an unavoidable situation, but try to think ahead.
  • Give Your Basement Contractors Extra Room: Basement remodels with require contractors to run up and down the stairs many times in a given work day. Without getting to specific with an innumerable number of home layouts, just try to consider the path of your contractors from their truck to the basement and back again. If there are tables, chairs, or anything else that might be in the way, move them to a place that has no chance to interrupt their path. If you want to lay down some old towels, rags, or carpet squares to protect your floors, this is a good idea. It will also help reduce the mud that may get tracked in.
  • For Questions, Ask the Basement Contractor: If you think of something else and you aren’t sure if you should do this, ask your basement contractor. The basement contractor is the last word on what he might need, and he can tell you definitively anything else that you can do to expedite your basement remodel.

The Cost of Basement Remodeling

Of course, before you undertake these prep steps for the construction of your new basement, you’ll probably need to start with some financial planning to make sure you can reasonably cover the costs associated with basement remodeling.

According to data collected from homeowners who completed surface level, partial, and complete basement renovations across the country, the average cost is around 18,600. Remodeling Magazine, meanwhile, tracks basement projects that fit into an industry standard including complete basement finishing and several bells and whistles, such as a bathroom addition, wet bar, and recessed lighting. Their cost estimate is $61,011.


Basement Mold Removal

Basement Mold Removal

Unfinished basement


Your basement is one of the most common areas of the home for mold to prosper. Mold is a fungus and, like many living organisms, all it needs to grow is the presence of water and something to feed on. Basement mold is so common because these conditions are so easily created. Dry basements are notoriously difficult to create and maintain.

Basement mold can land and feed on wood, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, paints, carpet, sheet rock, brick, or insulation—and that’s just to name the most common feeding materials. There isn’t a basement that doesn’t have something for mold to feed on. Of course, not all basements are infested with basement mold. Part of this is simply the randomness of living organisms, but doing your best to reduce moisture levels and water leaks will reduce the likelihood that you have to deal with basement mold.

Finding the Problem

Basement mold is usually detected by sight or smell. If you think you see or smell mold, you probably have a problem. A certified mold inspector should be able to give you a more definitive assessment of the problem, but the first thing you should do is identify the source of water entering your basement. If you have mold, you also have a moisture problem. Some causes of moisture in the basement might be:

  • Water seepage
  • Clogged gutters or poor yard drainage
  • Cracks in the basement wall
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • High humidity and cold temperatures
  • Flooding

In any case, you’ll need to find the nature of the water problem and have that fixed first. Then you need to remove the mold and fix the cause to avoid future mold.

Where Mold Grows

Some areas to check for signs of mold include:

  • Walls
  • Building frames
  • Ceiling
  • Insulation
  • Furniture
  • Pipes
  • HVAC vents
  • Floor

If you can’t find mold in any of these places but still smell or suspect it, you can have a mold professional come out to look around. If you do DIY the inspection, make sure you wear the appropriate gear — gloves, googles, mask — so you don’t end up with health problems.

Basement Mold Removal

Depending on the size of the mold infestation, you may need to hire a certified professional to take care of your mold problem. Average costs range from $1,100 to $3,200. Spores are most likely to be stirred up during the removal process. This is the primary reason why it’s imperative you take care of your water problem first.

Some forms of mold are harmless; others can be harmful to your health, especially if you have allergies or asthma. You should always use gloves, goggles, and some kind of breathing equipment. You’ll need to seal the affected area off from the rest of your home. Carefully remove and throw away any mold-affected material and then scrub the area clean. After the area is clean, use a borate-based detergent to keep the mold from reappearing. Again, for larger areas of mold growth, you’ll probably need to hire a mold removal professional. In some places, you may be required by law to hire a certified professional.


8 Basement Remodeling Tips

8 Basement Remodeling Tips

Basement Finishing Tips


One of the easiest ways to “add a new room or rooms” to your home is to better utilize the space you already have. Most basements are dark areas where we store seasonal decorations, old toys, sporting equipment and anything else not used on a regular basis.

But, perhaps it is time you reconsider how you use your basement? Basement remodeling is a cost-effective way to greatly expand your home’s living space. Suddenly you could have a guest room, a children’s play room, a home office, a recreation room—the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Below are eight easy steps to basement finishing.

1. Solve Basement Water Problems First

Even if your basement rarely has problems with dampness or flooding, it’s best to solve the problem completely before beginning any remodeling work. A finished basement is only as good as the thoughts behind it and the quality of work that made it.

Permanent solutions can take time to implement. A good place to start is to talk to a local home inspector who specializes in basement or foundation waterproofing problems.

2. Decide on the Best Use of Your Basement

Consider using the space for activities for which typical basement characteristics offer natural advantages.

The lack of light is useful when setting up a home theater or a dark room. The isolation helps create a sound break for a play area, a teenager’s hangout or a place to practice a musical instrument.

Also, in basements, there is usually ready access to things like water lines and heating and cooling ducts. This makes adding a bath easier than it would be elsewhere in the house.

3. Get Help with Your Basement Design

While your basement may not be much to look at now, you’ll want to end up with quality living space when the project is complete. An architect or interior designer can help you get the most out of the space. A little forethought and careful planning now can help you create a space that is attractive, comfortable and useful.

4. Pay Attention to Air Circulation

When your home was first built, the odds are that there were few if any registers or vents installed in the basement. When you remodel your basement, you need to think about the need for good air circulation, adding openings where necessary.

You’ll also have to include a return air duct, but it’s important that it be located far from the furnace. Otherwise, it may suck dangerous furnace exhaust fumes back into the house.

To be on the safe side, install a carbon monoxide detector in your basement so that you’ll have an early warning of any problems with the venting of the furnace or any other major appliances.

5. Maximize Your Basement’s Natural Light

For many reasons, you’ll probably want to add more light in your basement. If parts of the basement extend above the ground, you can add new windows or enlarge existing ones. If that isn’t possible, another option is to dig window wells. Window wells can increase the odds of water problems, so it’s a good idea to build ones with waterproof covers.

Another advantage of enlarged windows is that they provide alternative escape routes in case of fire. One concern that some people have about basement windows is that they provide thieves with ideal access to the home. One way to mitigate that risk is to install glass bricks (rather than conventional windows) at high-risk locations.

Maximize the effect of regular windows by mounting some windows in the interior walls between rooms that open pathways for natural light to reach interior rooms.

6. Make Creative Use of Artificial Light

Typically, basement ceilings are low, creating the feeling that you’re in a cave. To offset this, use indirect lighting that splashes large pools of light on the ceiling. This will open up the space and make rooms appear higher than they are.

A mix of this up-lighting and traditional recessed lighting will give you the flexibility you need to create a variety of lighting moods.

Mirrors, mounted on the walls or even ceilings, can also amplify and reinforce lighting effects.

7. Insulate Your Basement Well

Proper insulation is critical to creating a comfortable, dry basement.

Besides keeping out the cold, basement insulation prevents condensation. The ground stays cool year round. It in turn keeps basement walls cool. When the warmer air in the room comes in contact with all those cool walls, it has to give up some of its moisture in the form of condensation.

Condensation is, in fact, the primary source of the moisture that causes mold and mildew problems in basements. Effective insulation separates the warm air of the room from the cool walls, thereby preventing the moisture problems that stem from condensation.

8. Select Practical Furnishings

Use plush carpets and drapes sparingly, if at all. Surfaces that don’t absorb moisture are best. Also, be careful about storing clothes, linens and books in a basement.

For floors, area rugs are ideal because they can be removed, cleaned and dried. If you must have wall-to-wall carpeting, consider a low pile commercial or indoor/outdoor type.

If you pay attention to details, there is no reason why you can’t create high value, high comfort living space in a basement. Properly finishing a basement only costs a fraction of what it costs to build an addition. That means you’ll have more money in your pocket for the next big home improvement project on your list!


Basement Waterproofing

Basement Waterproofing



If, as a homeowner, you’re a little wary about spending a couple thousand dollars to have your basement waterproofed, that’s good—you should be. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your basement waterproofed, it just means you should take particular, cautionary steps when hiring a basement contractor to waterproof your basement. Most of the time, if you find a reputable contractor, he or she will be able to seal, repair, and renovate your basement and the surrounding area to prevent any further basement flooding. Still, the unforeseeable can happen to even the best contractors, and the most important thing is that you and the contractor have a clear understanding of what will happen in the event of another basement flooding incident.

Basement Flooding

If you live in a high precipitation climate, you probably know that basement flooding is a potential problem for almost any homeowner. This doesn’t make it any less aggravating. It’s important to understand why your basement is flooding. Unfortunately, your basement could be flooding for any number of reasons.

  • The concrete walls in your basement could be cracked.
  • Poor yard drainage causes water to overwhelm your foundation or increases the stress load of your sewage system.
  • A blockage forms in your septic system.
  • Poorly designed or damaged gutters and downspouts have led to poor water runoff.

The cause of your basement flooding may be obvious or it may require the expertise of a professional inspection. In either case, it’s usually a good idea to check on the possible causes, as you may have more than one contributing factor. Only by sealing off all potential water sources can you make your basement truly waterproof. (Even then, nothing can really be done for natural disaster flooding.)

Preventing a Flooding Basement

Naturally, preventing a flooding basement involves fixing these problem areas. Gutters may need to be replaced. Concrete walls may need to be filled in and sealed. Increasing yard drainage or sloping and grading your yard will help keep the water running away from your basement. (Be careful, though, that you’re not just funneling the water into your neighbor’s yard.) And, last but not least, you’ll need to check your interior pipes and drains to prevent a flooding basement from springing up from within the otherwise sealed concrete walls.

A Common Basement Waterproofing Scenario

Of course, taking every single precaution will drive up the cost of your basement waterproofing project and may be unnecessary. You might have three separate basement contractors give you three wildly different estimates to waterproof your basement. These different quotes may result from various degrees of basement waterproofing. Obviously, you want to err on the side of caution, especially if you’re waterproofing your basement as part of a basement remodel, but you may not want to pay an extra thousand dollars, either, “just to be totally safe.”

Choosing a Basement Waterproofing Contractor

Before you even consider the price issue, get references on all the contractors and call the homeowners. Find out if they are satisfied, have they had any further water problems, was the contractor clean and neat, did he show up on time and finish on schedule. Most important, ask if they had any service problems and did the contractor return and address them.

If you get a bad feeling about any of them, don’t consider them further. If they can’t give you current references with phone numbers, forget them. You should choose the lowest price proposal that you feel comfortable with, but don’t forget that feeling secure that the contractor will stand behind his work and be there to service the job is an important part of feeling comfortable.


Water, Water Everywhere: How to Prevent Flood Damage

Water, Water Everywhere: How to Prevent Flood Damage

Water flooding


Flood Facts

According to HomeAdvisor.com (an online resource matching homeowners to contractors in their area), requests for water removal service have increased!

The Insurance Information Institute states: “Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies.”

An article on CNNMoney.com states that: “Every year, flooding causes more than $2 billion of property damage in the U.S.” and “In a high risk area, your home has a 26 percent chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9 percent chance of fire.”

Since floods and flash floods occur in all 50 states, homeowners all over the country can benefit by making sure their homes are as prepared as they can be!

Retaining Walls

Residential retaining walls are generally meant to hold soil in place and prevent erosion. When properly placed and designed, retaining walls can also deter flood water and protect your property. Their cost (installing a masonry retaining wall averages over $5,000) can be prohibitive for many homeowners; unless you have experienced lots of trouble with flooding, it might be better to consider other options first.

Clean Your Gutters

On the cheaper side of preventing water damage and flooding is gutter cleaning. Gutters, though often overlooked, can be a great benefit but only if they are properly maintained. Gutter systems are designed to carry water to an area where it will create the least damage. Clogged gutters, however, don’t just perform poorly, but also have been linked to erosion, basement flooding, and even foundation damage. At an average cost of $191 nationwide, having your gutters cleaned is one of the most affordable ways to reduce the risk of water damage.

Get an Inspection

Even capable do-it-yourselfers may not have the knowledge necessary to predict how their home will perform under flood conditions. Hiring a professional to inspect your home can identify areas where water damage is likely and help you to better fortify your property. A general home inspection averages $324.

Permeable Paving

Conventional asphalt and concrete pavement blocks water from naturally seeping into the ground. To counter this effect, consider using permeable pavement, paving stones, or grass pave. If you really want to save some money and reduce runoff at the same time, skip the paving all together and opt for gravel fill instead (residential asphalt paving averages $4,704; gravel fill averages less than $1,000).

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are basically the last line of defense against excess water. When ground water rises to a critical point, a sump pump begins to divert that water away from your home where it won’t harm your property. While installing a sump pump is not an infallible defense against flooding, when precipitation threatens property damage, the average investment of $866 could save you thousands!


Recommended Questions to Ask a Basement Contractors

Recommended Questions to Ask a Basement Contractors

Luxury Basement Remodel


Basement professionals run the gamut of home improvement contractors. You can find a company who offers comprehensive basement finishing services, or you can find a handful of contractors to complete the project piecemeal, starting with a waterproofing contractor and then plumbing, electrical, and flooring contractors. No matter what route you choose, basement professionals are anything but the underground of the home improvement industry. Often, the least expensive option to add livable square footage to your home’s floor plan, basement finishing is often a can’t-miss proposition, as long as you take your time in finding and interviewing professionals.

According to data collected across the country from homeowners who actually completed a basement project, the average cost of a basement remodel is just over $20,000 for both partial and complete basement finishing. With such a large investment and even bigger potential rewards, you need to find the best basement professional out there. Answers to some basic questions will give you a sense of whether or not you could work comfortably with a particular basement contractor. Below are some questions to ask:

Questions for Basement Professionals

  • How long have you been remodeling basements?
  • Were you formally trained or did you learn through an apprenticeship?
  • Do you belong to any professional associations?
  • Are you licensed and registered with the state?
  • Are you insured?/li>
  • Do you have any references I can contact?

Questions about Your Basement Professional’s Work

  • Do you give written warranties?
  • Will this project require a permit?
  • Can you estimate how long this will take?
  • Will you provide options for different materials?

Interview Question for References

  • Were you happy with the project?
  • Was the job completed on time?
  • Were there any unexpected expenses?
  • Would you use this basement contractor again?
  • Would you recommend this basement professional?

Interviewing this extensively is overkill if you only need to add insulation to your basement or for basement waterproofing. The interviews only become necessary with complete basement remodels.


Smart Choices for Basement Flooring

Smart Choices for Basement Flooring

Sanchez Residence Staten Island, NY Complete Basement Renovation by Lykos Construction LLC May 2012 www.naskaras.comWith all the options available, choosing a floor is already a difficult process. Basement flooring is even worse because a basement more often than not presents a moisture problem that may render some flooring options nonviable. Even the driest of basements often have more humidity than the rest of the house. If you have a serious moisture problem, you may need to address this before any flooring is laid. The easiest way to check on the moisture level of your basement floor is to take a non-porous material — a trash bag works well — and seal the material with tape to a couple different places around your basement floor. Wait for 24 hours and then check underneath the material. If you can feel any condensation build up, you should get your moisture problem taken care of first.


Recommended Flooring

These are the flooring options that are best suited for basement floors:

  • Concrete Flooring — This should be, by far, your first option. Concrete floors can be stained and or painted to almost any design and look. In almost all circumstances, concrete floors are the cheapest choice you can make. Good insulation can make concrete nearly as warm as any other flooring option.
  • Stone Tiling — Not every stone material is a natural for basement flooring, but more durable stones such as slate are a popular choice for basements. The problem is that softer, faux stone may not hold up in basements and tougher, natural stone is often cost-prohibitive.

Exercising Caution

If you’ve determined that your basement is for the most part dry, here are some additional flooring options to consider:

  • Engineered basement flooring — This hardwood flooring is layered with different kinds of hardwood and often fitted with a high density fiberboard core. The flooring is specifically engineered to withstand moisture and is thinner than solid hardwood flooring, allowing for the installation of extra insulation. Nonetheless, even engineered flooring can become warped and damaged with too much moisture.
  • Laminate flooring — This flooring comprises a wood core and aluminum oxide surface. Each laminate is slightly different and some are not designed to be used in basements. Check with the manufacturer and make sure your basement doesn’t have a moisture problem; damaged laminate flooring is nearly impossible to repair.
  • Ceramic and vinyl tile — These tiling options will work for basements, but only if the sub-flooring remains dry enough for the adhesive. Take extra care preparing the sub-flooring before you start installing the tile.

Avoid at All Costs

Unless you live in the driest of climates and have ideal basement circumstances, these flooring options are generally not recommended for basements:

  • Solid hardwood flooring — There’s really no way to justify the cost of a solid hardwood floor for a below grade installation. Engineered hardwood flooring looks and feels nearly identical to its solid hardwood counterpart and will hold up under basement conditions much, much better.
  • Carpet — The most common mistake homeowners make is installing carpet in their basements. Carpet will trap moisture and is especially susceptible to mold and mildew. If you feel strongly about the feel of carpet, it may be better to throw down some large area rugs and plan on having them replaced every few years.

Major Basement Remodels on the Rise

 Major Basement Remodels on the Rise

by Marianne Cusato


This article originally appeared in Qualified Remodeler in June 2016.

It would stand to reason that homeowners seeking more space would renovate their basements when the housing market is weak and move into bigger homes when the economy is strong. A recent analysis of HomeAdvisor data shows the exact opposite to be true.

In 2015, 6.31 percent of homeowners categorized their basement remodels as ‘major remodel — multiple rooms.’ While the percentage may not seem high it represents a 7.5 percent year-over-year increase from 2014 and a nearly 200 percent increase from 2008.

Encouraged by historically low interest rates and the strengthening economy, the percentage of major basement remodels has steadily grown year over year for the past several years. The question now becomes: Will the percentage of major basement remodels continue to increase given the drop in existing home sales and the rise in new home sales? And, if major renovations represent a small percentage of basement renovation projects, what relative jobs represent the higher percentages?

According to HomeAdvisor data, homeowners have most frequently submitted requests for the removal and hauling of waste, junk, building materials and debris over the past four years. Since this project represented 15.87 percent of basement projects in 2015, this could indicate that these homeowners are preparing for a larger remodel down the road. Other health-and habitation-related maintenance projects — such as air duct and vent cleaning, replacing a water heater and removing mold and toxins — also consistently ranked in the top categories for basement renovation.