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One way to increase the living space in your home is to add a basement bedroom. If your home is a rental property, you can increase your cash flow by doing this as well. Here are 6 tips for adding a basement bedroom

Tip 1: Check your local building codes. Regulations vary state to state and even county by county. For example, most areas will require a bedroom to have a closet and an egress window. An egress window serves two main purposes

  • It allows an occupant to escape in case of an emergency (such as a fire)
  • Allows a firefighter a point of entry in case of an emergency These windows must meet certain opening sizes and the sill must be a minimum height, again based on local code

Tip 2: Seek the help of an experienced window installer. Typically, adding an egress window involves cutting a hole in the concrete walls of your basement with a very large circular saw. This can be very dangerous, messy, and result in a low quality result if you choose to “do it yourself”.

Tip 3: Section off all areas around where the new window will be installed with dividers such as plastic film. Cutting the hole in the wall will create a lot of dust and debris, and the plastic will contain it and make for easier clean up.

Tip 4: If possible, place your egress window in a place that exits above ground. On many homes, the lot is sloped and will allow a window to be installed without needing a well and ladder (which add cost to the project and are, in my opinion, ugly)

Tip 5: Look at a casement window for your egress window. A casement window is one that is hinged on one side and swings open to the exterior of your home. In terms of the size of the hole cut in the wall relative to the size of the window’s opening, casement windows are very efficient. Casement windows are cost effective as well, mine were under $300.

Tip 6: Instead of replacing an existing nonconforming window, with a larger one (to reduce sill height and meet code), consider leaving the non-conforming window and adding an additional egress window. Often times, this is more cost effective and will result in more natural light, which will make the basement bedroom feel less like a dungeon.

Tip 7: Double, Triple, and Quadruple check both your local codes and your measurements to ensure you meet said code before cutting that hole in the wall. If you’re having someone install the window for you, have them explain to you in a way you can understand before they cut the hole in the wall.

Hopefully these tips will help you transform your basement into a beautiful living space, and if it’s a rental property, give you a few extra dollars every month.