A finished basement is not always the same thing as a designed basement. Sometimes, the basement begins with the basics: walls, a ceiling, lights, and a floor. Gwen Hefner and husband Micah wanted to turn their tiny, airless basement space into a comfortable mancave. They had the basics to start with. The next step, Gwen says, would be a true test to her design skills.
Failure to obtain proper permits can result removing (demo-ing) any current finishing work or remodeling already installed. You could also face fines. A "stop work order" may be issued, which usually causes double the fees when you do, eventually, apply for the permit(s). If you have to file an insurance claim and can't produce any permits, the insurance company may deny the claim. Finishing a basement without permits also can affect the home's resale value.
But beforehand you’ll want to prep the brick or masonry walls by building a simple wooden framework against them that you will use to attach the paneling or gypsum board (another name for sheetrock).Do that by attaching 2-inch by 2-inch furring strips to the walls. These are inexpensive and lightweight lengths of wood that look kind of like skinny versions of traditional two-by-fours.
Get 'labor only' bids and buy the materials yourself. This allows you to use a 10% off coupon at Home Depot or Lowe's (available on eBay). You can also use a 5% cash back credit card like Discover when buying materials. (BONUS: Our readers get $50 free when they get a Discover card - sign up here.) And be sure to join ebates first to save an additional 1%. These are all small percentages but when taken off potentially very expensive items they really add up.