How to Convert a Basement into a Light, Bright Space

Converting a basement into a living space is a popular option but one of the things that can often put people off the idea is that there’s seemingly no straightforward way to get natural light into the room. This, however, is not always the case and there is one great way to get that natural light into the room to complete your conversion – use Walk-on Flatglass skylights.

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Basics of Basement Conversion

The cost of making a basement into a habitable space often works out roughly the same as converting a loft. There are factors that can impact this cost such as if there is a need to underpin the building, lower the floor level to give more ceiling height or move services as required. But if you have a basement that is just being used for storage then converting it can give you the space you need in your current home.

If you don’t have a basement but want to add one, then obviously this will cost a lot more. There are also considerations such as party wall agreements if you have neighbours and boundary walls are affected. The ground conditions also play a big part.

Finally, as well as professional fees, remember there may be planning permission needed and a building regulations application will cost £750 or more, depending on the value of the work.

Waterproofing the basement

One of the key parts of converting a basement is ensuring that it is waterproof. There are a few ways of doing this with tanking is one of the most common. This involves adding a special coating to the walls that prevent moisture coming through the bricks. Membranes, drainage systems and pumps are another way.

Building regulations mean that any underground area needs to be waterproofed otherwise damp can get in – and spread around the house. Depending on the age of the property, some work may have been carried out in the past, but you will likely need to upgrade this to current standards.

Getting natural light into the basement

If you want a basement that is comfortable and suitable for any purpose, natural light is very important. The easiest way to utilise this light is with skylights or roof lights, either straight into areas of the roof, or with light wells, depending on the layout of the basement. These can also be a great way to allow ventilation into the space.

You can choose from fixed Walk-on Flatglass rooflights that are ideal if you don’t need them to open or are in an awkward position. You can also get electrically-operated Flatglass rooflights that work by a remote and allow you to open the rooflight even if you can’t get access to it. This second option is perfect if the rooflight is the main ventilation in the space and you don’t need to walk on it.

Maximising the light

Getting light into the room is one step, the other is to make the most of the light. Pale or white walls are excellent in basement areas because they bounce that light around and make the whole room seem larger and airier.

Also, make sure that any plants growing near the rooflights don’t grow over them and cover them. This will reduce the light into the basement dramatically so ensure you can get access to keep foliage under control.