Achieving a Greener Basement

Whether you’re thinking of remodeling your basement, or you’re thinking of building a finished basement with your new home, you may be wondering what ways you can go about preserving this undoubtedly large investment. Fortunately, there are options out there to ensure that your basement is made safe and ready to use for your home project. But the best ones are the ones that help you create a greener basement for your home, like using green, sustainable materials and implementing proper waterproofing! 

What Does a Green Basement Mean? 

When the term “green” comes up for a basement, it’s more of an all-encompassing term than just relating to our home’s relationship with the outdoor environment. A green basement is more than just one that might benefit the environment, it’s also one that’s healthy for you and your indoor environment as well! But to make that happen you will need to consider variables including: 

  • Taking proper measures to control moisture in your basement 
  • Using green materials that are made to last 
  • Avoid materials that can contaminate your basement or compromise your moisture control 
  • Energy-efficiency measures 
  • Strategies to mitigate radon gas 

This may sound like a lot of extra work, enough that you may be worried about the cost. But the benefits of going green in your basement go beyond just helping the world. 

What are the Costs of Going Green? 

You may be concerned about the costs of creating a green basement but going green is more affordable than ever. What’s more, green products pay you back by being more energy-efficient and made of high-quality materials designed to last. This will save you on energy, maintenance, and replacement costs, saving you more money over the course of time than you would if you had to repair damage such as a bowing basement wall, mold growth in your insulation or on your walls, or damaged basement carpet because of water seeping through a foundation crack. Standard basement construction can create challenges ranging from moisture-related problems like mold and groundwater intrusion to difficulty in temperature. A green basement can help greatly reduce the likelihood of these problems, promote a healthier environment for you, and even save you some green in the long run! 

How to Create a Green Basement 

By nature, your basement is relatively green when it’s first made. Since it is beneath the ground, it is relatively protected against the elements, except for water whenever it rains or the snow melts. But it is when it is subjected to the forces of time and water that eventually it can become hazardous and even difficult to utilize as a home space. To have a truly green basement, you’ll need to put in place the measures that will maintain a basement’s safe and useable nature while making it comfortable and healthy for you as well. Here are some steps that you can take to make your basement a greener space… 

Basement Waterproofing 

Invasive moisture can cause a number of problems to your basement that can reduce its quality as a green space. Along with damage to property, water intrusion can lead to potentially hazardous mold growth and wood rot that can compromise the structural integrity of your home’s wooden support structures. From the health risks created by excess moisture to the costly repairs required to return you basement and home to normal, water in the basement can prove to be a lot of trouble for any homeowner. Fortunately, there are waterproofing measures that can be done to protect your basement against water and protect yourself from the effects of excess moisture. Here are some components that would go into a proper basement waterproofing system: 

  • Drainage channels 
  • Sump pump and a sump pit 
  • Wall vapor barriers 
  • Dehumidifier 

While these components can help waterproof your basement from the inside, there are some measures that you can take outside your home to help ensure your basement remains green. 

  • Maintain and clean your rain gutters 
  • Extend your downspout to ensure rainwater is deposited further from your home foundation 
  • Improve the grading around your home so that the land slopes away 

With these preventative measures in place, you can keep moisture from invading your basement and causing problems for you and your basement. Oftentimes with the help of a basement waterproofing expert, you can also have radon mitigation measures put in place to work in concert with the waterproofing system—this can help keep you and your family safe from the harmful gas that can cause lung cancer. 

Material Choices and Clearing the Air in Your Green Basement 

When we think of a green environment, we’re not just thinking of the land or the material surfaces. We’re also thinking of the air. The air of your basement plays a part in how green it really is. Excess moisture, mold, and radon are all things that can harm the quality of your basement’s air. But the considerations go beyond just the waterproofing—your green basement will also be counting on your choice of materials and products when you get to remodeling or finishing your basement. Here are some variables to consider as you prepare your basement for its transformation: 

Wallpaper and carpeting 

These materials can release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, into the air. VOCs have been linked to asthma and even cancer, and they have been linked to damaging our atmosphere. So, avoiding sources of VOCs in your basement is both green for you and the environment. 

Choose the right paints and sealants 

There are a lot of paints and sealants that release VOCs, which can be hazardous in a space like a basement. Find paints and sealants that are low-VOC products or contain no VOCs. 

Keep your basement concrete 

Instead of installing carpet on your basement floor, keep the concrete exposed to prevent moisture concerns. 

Watch out for formaldehyde 

From fiberboard to certain types of insulation, there are building materials that can off-gas formaldehyde into your basement environment. Look for sustainable materials to substitute these building materials. 

Finding Green Materials and Products 

You may know that some products and materials that we use in a home are harmful to our indoor environment. Those VOCs are also not good for the outdoor environment either. Consider these strategies to help make your basement’s remodeling or construction more environmentally friendly: 

Flooring Materials 

You can find FSC-certified wood products and other materials to give your basement a nice flooring while remaining green. From wood and bamboo to ceramic and stone tiling, there are many options to create a stylish finished basement. FSC-certified means that the wood you’re using is sustainably harvested from a location! 

Recycled Materials or Materials with Recycled Content 

You can help the planet and your basement by finding sustainable materials that are recycled or contain recycled content. For example, you can replace insulation that off-gases formaldehyde with environment-friendly cellulose insulation that’s made from recycled cardboard or paper. 

Professionally Protecting Your Green Basement 

Your basement is a vital part of your home. Whether you mean to use it for storing items or as an extra living space. Remodeling and finishing your basement are significant investments that you should protect. That’s why it is crucial to seek out a reputable basement waterproofing company.  Look for one with decades of experience as well as methods that work. From patented basement waterproofing systems to EPA-approved mold removal solutions, consider the trusted experts at ’58 Foundations for your basement waterproofing needs!