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What to Consider When Turning Your Cellar into a Liveable Space

Looking to create more space and add value to your home? Converting your cellar may be the best option.  That dark and dusty space at the bottom of your house may not look very impressive now, but even the tiniest and most neglected cellars can be transformed into beautiful and functional extra rooms. Read on to discover how you can turn your cellar into a brand-new living space.

If you are lucky enough to live in a Victorian, Georgian or Edwardian property, it is likely that your home has a cellar. While cellars room would be used for as a scullery, larder or for storing coal many years ago, these days they are mostly ignored, which makes them perfect for development by property owners wanting more space in their homes.  If you would like more room in your house but you do not want the hassle of moving, it makes sense to convert your cellar. Close to the ground floor, this type of conversion is unlikely to significantly alter your property’s exterior and rarely requires major extension work. On top of that, cellar conversions almost always increase the value of a property.

How to Convert a Cellar into a Liveable Space

Before you start ordering the pool table or 60-inch flat screen, the first thing you will need to do is find out if your cellar is suitable for a conversion. An experienced builder can arrange a cellar survey and let you know your options as well as advise you on any issues you are likely to face.  There’s a lot to think about when you are considering converting your cellar, but an experienced builder or a  cellar conversion specialist  will have the answers to your questions and ensure that you adhere to UK Building Law.

Before you consult a building company, it is a good idea to create your own checklist to see if your cellar may be suitable for a conversion. 

Look at the following factors:

  1. How big is the floorspace?
  2. Is the floorspace divided into smaller rooms that will require opening?
  3. How dry is your cellar?
  4. How tall are the ceilings?
  5. Is there good access to other rooms or will you need to create access?

Converting a cellar may seem like a daunting task, but  with the right team on hand, it is usually a smooth and stress-free job.

How to Tank a Cellar

Your cellar may soon become the most impressive room in your house, but right now it is likely to be damp and unused (apart from storing that old tin of paint and the odd bottle of wine!). If you want to transform your cellar into fully functional and comfortable space, you will need to keep it dry by going through the process of tanking it.

Tanking systems provide an impermeable waterproofing coating to the walls and floor which helping to keep cellars free of damp. The best way of tanking your cellar is with tanking slurry(sometimes referred to as cementitious tanking.) Tanking slurry is specifically designed to deal with issues such as damp, condensation, and mould by forming a long-term waterproof barrier. Unlike cavity drain systems which still allows water in, tanking slurry completely blocks water from entering your cellar.  Tanking slurry either comes as a powder or is pre-mixed on site with clean water.

It’s important that once your cellar is tanked, you keep it dry. Ventilation or heating systems (even underfloor heating) can be considered to help with this.

Average Cost of a Cellar Conversion

The average cost of a cellar conversion in the UK is around £2000-£10000 (or £150-£200 per day). Material costs may include: –

  • plumbing changes
  • new electric
  • windows
  • underpinning

You may also need to factor in flooring, paint, and light fixtures as well as any furniture or amenities you want to add. Although converting your cellar comes with initial pay-outs, you should see it as an investment rather than a cost, as the extra living space will almost certainly add significant value to your home and attract potential buyers should you ever wish to sell in the future.

Cellar Conversion Ideas

With so many possibilities for transforming your vacant room into a fabulous and fully functional living space,  the options for what to do with your cellar are endless. Here are some of our best small cellar conversion ideas to help you decide:

Playroom – If you cannot walk through your house without experiencing the heart-stopping pain of stepping on a Lego piece, it may be a good idea to convert your cellar into a playroom. Kids need space to release their energy, and houses need space to store their toys, so creating a designated play area is a win-win solution.  

Home cinema – Imagine being able to visit the cinema without leaving your house! Creating your very own home cinema is one of the best cellar conversion ideas as the underground location  lets in minimal light for the perfect cinema experience.  Squishy sofas or individual armchairs? You can make your home cinema as authentic as you like.

Gym – One of the hardest things about working out is showing up.  At the end of a long working  day, battling with the rush-hour traffic to go and sweat it out at the gym can seem like a mountain we can do without climbing.  Transforming your cellar into your very own personal workout  room means you can stay in shape without leaving the comfort of your home.  There is no excuse for not getting fit when you only need to walk down the stairs to get to the gym!

Mancave – Every guy dreams of having a mancave to escape to, and a cellar conversion is the perfect way to make one. Whether you are single or married with kids, a man cave is the perfect way to chill out and unwind.  Wide-screen TV, pool table, video game console… the options for creating your haven of relaxation are unlimited.

Extra bedroom – Many people chose to convert their cellars into additional bedrooms. Whether you are extending your family, or you are just in need of a guest room, transforming your cellar is a lot easier and cost effective than moving home or  building expensive extensions.

Garden – If you live in a city with little outside space, a cellar conversion can allow you to bring the beauty of nature to your home.  Garden basements are a unique way to connect  with your home with the garden, making them a fantastic alternative to a conservatory.

Are you ready to convert your cellar?

Converting your unused cellar into a liveable area can be an easy and cost-effective way to create additional space in your home. Unlike attic space at the top of the house (which is usually used for making additional bedrooms) a cellar conversion offers a more flexible range of use, thanks to its proximity to the main living areas.  Older properties are ideal for cellar conversions, as the work can usually be carried out from outside, allowing you to easily continue to live in your home while the renovations are underway.

The cost-effective craze of cellar conversions has been big news in London for a long time, with homeowners keen to use every inch of space their homes have to offer, but the trend is now taking off in other parts of the UK, too. Additional space and increased property value without breaking the bank; what is there not to love about a cellar conversion?

I am an underfloor heating expert and have been writing articles for our blog for over eight years. During this time I have discovered new and inventive ways to introduce underfloor heating to contemporary homes, and I am more than happy to offer advice on saving on energy, maintenance, installation, and much more!

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