​Basements are more than just an area for storing holiday decorations, suitcases, and sleeping bags. When you look beyond the concrete floors and walls of an unfinished basement, this space has tons of potential for an additional living space, whether it be a game room, home gym, movie room, or man cave! Not only will you have a space where you can temporarily hide from your kids (it's okay—we all do it), but finishing your basement could also add considerable value to your home.

​2020 has become a year of DIY projects and home improvement. The Internet is booming with thousands of DIY ideas, but some homeowners don’t take the time to assess if it’s truly within their power to go the DIY route.

​If a finished basement is on your wish list, you may be wondering what the steps are to finishing a basement. Once you know what it takes to actually finish a basement, then you’ll be able to decide if you’re up to the DIY challenge or if you want to hire a professional.

Step 1: Clean and Prep the Space

​Before beginning your basement transformation, you’ll need to clear out all the junk, boxes, and plastic bins you’re currently storing here (in addition to the spider webs). This task may be daunting, but the end reward is worth it since you’ll both have a space ready to finish and maybe minimize on your “stuff,” too!

Step 2: Conduct a Moisture Test

​It’s always a good idea to perform a moisture test before renovating to ensure your finished basement won’t be ruined by any leaks or issues you weren’t previously aware of. If you do have a leak, make sure to perform another test after fixing it so you know the issue is completely remedied. You can also consider adding a coat of waterproofing membrane to prevent future issues.

Step 3: Familiarize Yourself with Building Codes and Permits

​This is important! Before you start your DIY project of finishing your basement, you will need to apply for the appropriate building permits and make sure your plans are up to code:

  • Does the ceiling need to be a certain height?
  • Is there a required number of exits?
  • What plumbing regulations need to be followed?

Did you know? At M/I Homes, we go beyond the standard building codes. To learn about our commitment to quality and the materials we use, find out more.

Step 4: Finish the Walls

​Say goodbye to your concrete walls! Your dream of a finished basement starts to come to life when you finish the walls.

​To do this, you’ll need to install insulation, frame your walls, and hang your drywall. We recommend R-19 insulation – your home will be more comfortable, and your energy bills will be lower. And don’t forget to take windows and outlets into account when hanging/cutting drywall! Once the drywall is secured and the seams are sealed with caulk, your walls are ready for paint!

Step 5: Choose the Right Kind of Flooring

​Concrete floors are a thing of the past. Say hello to carpet, vinyl, tile, or whatever type of flooring fits your vision. It’s also a good idea to seal your basement floor to reduce the risk of moisture.

​Keep in mind the types of activities that will be taking place in your newly finished basement space and plan flooring accordingly.

Step 6: Install Your Ceiling

​Your basement is almost complete. Once you install a finished ceiling, covering pipes, and utilities, your finished basement will look completely transformed and ready for guests. You can choose between a drop-ceiling—allowing you to still access overhead utilities—or a drywall ceiling, which conserves more space.

Step 7: Decorate and Personalize!

​Finally: the fun part! Your basement is no longer the cement bomb shelter it was before! Not only can you store those holiday decorations here, but now you have a home gym, bar, place to watch the game, or movie room with reclining couches and a large flat screen TV. Whatever plan you had for your basement has now come to life.

​You can officially cross “Finish the Basement” off your list of home improvements and move on to the next DIY project. Hungry for another DIY idea for your home? Read on here!


Laura Kornaker


As the Internet Sales Manager in Cincinnati, Laura's goal is to make your new home investment a smooth and easy process. With her 15+ years' experience in the new home building business, she’ll help you navigate through the best scenarios and opportunities. Laura has lived in Cincinnati for over 20 years and knows all of the best schools, shopping, restaurants, and recreation. She’ll help you find the perfect location and home. She’ll even get you started on financing! Whether you are relocating or local, moving up or downsizing, Laura is the expert to get started with!