5 Things to Look At Before You Finish Your Basement

We love finishing basements, heres's some tips if you're looking for a basement contractor in Lakeville, Farmington or the South Metro.

Basement Finishing by Country Creek

Looking for a contractor to finish your basement in Lakeville MN, Apple Valley, Farmington, Prior Lake, Rosemount or Elko New Market?  

We are Country Creek Builders and we specialize in designing, building and finishing basements here in the South Metro Twin Cities.

Contact us if you'd like to finish your basement!

One of our sweet spots is being able to deliver designs that really maximize your space, fit your budget, and the craftsmanship we deliver is second to none. If you're looking for a basement finishing company in Lakeville Minnesota, or if you're in Apple Valley, Rosemount, Farmington, Prior Lake or Burnsville, we'd be honored to help you design a finished basement and help you love your lower level.

If you live in the south metro Twin Cities, and you need your basement finished, you should reach out for a consultation and let's discuss what it takes to get your basement finished.

1. Think About Your City Codes

For example, Lakeville, Minnesota has posted a guide online discussing their permit and building code requirements here.

When you work with Country Creek, we'll make life pretty easy to build out your lower level. But if you're just starting, it doesn't hurt to connect with the city first to get an idea of what is possible, what the rules are and what your constraints might be.

Finishing the basement of a Lakeville or Rosemount new construction home is completely different than remodeling or updating a basement form the 1980's or 1990's.

It's often worth a quick call to your city to get an idea of what codes need to be considered.

Links to All South Metro Basement Finishing Codes

Lakeville Basement Building code here

Rosemount Basement Building Code here

Apple Valley Basement Building code here

Farmington Basement Building Code here

Prior Lake Basement Building Code here and here

Specific Codes to Look At:

It's a good idea to look at what your city's building code says about the following subjects: 

  • Ceiling Height
  • Staircase
  • Smoke Alarm & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Windows

The building code requirements can be somewhat complex, so we strongly recommend you speak with a professional in your city that specializes in basement finishing/remodeling.

2. Check for moisture

One of the biggest potential setbacks to a basement remodel job is the presence of moisture or water in the basement.

Easy way to test for moisture:

According to This Old House, you want to test for moisture by taping 2-foot squares of plastic sheeting to the floor and walls and waiting a couple of weeks.

If you get any condensation on the inside of the plastic then your foundation isn't sealed.

If you get droplets on the outside of the plastic then you need to have your basement dehumidified.

Easy way to fix minor leaks: 

In that same This Old House article, one of their general contractors - Tom Silva gives his advice on easy ways to fix minor leaks: 

  • Install diverters to send gutter water at least 10 feet from the foundation.
  • Slope soil away from the foundation.
  • Seal small cracks or gaps around pipes with concrete-patching compound.
  • Fill larger cracks inside and out with hydraulic cement, which expands as it cures. A structural engineer should inspect any cracks that are wider than a pencil.
Basement Finish by Country Creek Builders

3. Begin the design process

This sounds silly, but you need to start thinking about what you'd like to do with the basement.

There's a big difference between finishing your basement so your teenage kids have a place to hangout with friends, compared to building out a home office studio, wet bar, movie theater room or entertainment space.

If you're looking for ideas when it comes to finishing your basement, take a look at some of the projects we've done, head to Pinterest, and then give us a call to talk about building a budget.

Finishing a basement can really add value to your life, and dramatically increase the value of your home.

When you work with Country Creek & our Design team, you'll get insider perspective like what's the best toilet to use in your lower level basement, what's the best flooring options for basements, how can you make your basement look more expensive and high end than it really is and we LOVE helping people design the perfect wet bar for their basement.

The best way to start designing is to consider the following aspects:

Design Your Basement with Country Creek

We pride ourselves on helping you design the perfect finished basement to meet your lifestyle and your budget.

Why do you want to finish your basement? 

Ask yourself why you want to have your basement remodeled/finished.

Do you want more space for a game room or activities?

Do you need additional living space?

Do you just want to increase equity in your home? 

Needs vs Wants

Make a list of the different things that you need/have to have, and the things that you just want.

This will help you to make decisions as pricing comes into play.


Work out how much you have to spend on this project.

Consider how you will be getting the money: refinance, loan, cash.


Next take everything you compiled above and use it to work on a floor plan.

This doesn't need to be anything that is super professional - just get some ideas of a general layout down so you can give it to your contractor to head-start the process.

Keep in mind if you're going to try to DIY, that a proposed floor plan will likely be needed to get your building permit approved.

Ask for feedback

Any contractor that is good at what they do will likely point out design issues or code issues inside of your general layout, but it is always a good idea to ask your contractor for feedback and suggestions.

They do this every day and will likely have some great ideas to maximize space or storage and help you accomplish your goals.

4. Put together specific ideas

Earlier you began the design process and set out some basic ideas behind what you are trying to accomplish, but here we want to put together some more specific ideas that you like.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to look at various basements that have already been finished.

Sites like www.houzz.com, or www.pinterest.com, are great for finding inspiration and ideas!

Houzz.com actually specifically puts out lists of their most popular basement remodels/finishes. See a few below:

5. Get the best contractor for the job

The most important step in the process is to get the best contractor possible for the job.

Finishing a basement is a complex and potentially stressful process. To do it well you need to be able to: 

  • Deal with building permits
  • Meet building codes
  • Decide on finishes
  • Work within a set budget
  • and more!!

It is possible to DIY this, but it is a lot to take on. Because of this, we strongly recommend you find someone in your area who specializes in finishing basements.

If you live in or around the Lakeville, MN area, then we want to ask you to consider using us. We've brought hundreds of projects from start to completion and we LOVE finishing basements.

For more information about us and our remodeling process, check out our about us page here.

Wondering how to get started? Request a free estimate here.

We hope this guide helped you start to prepare some of the things you'll need to get ready before you dive into finishing your basement.

Pros and Cons to Finishing Your Basement
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