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Old 11-02-2008, 05:53 PM   #1
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Renovate the basement or add an office shed?


I recently purchased my first home last month. It is small at <1K sqft but the yard is large at about 3/4 acre. It was completely gutted and renovated to new walls, windows, insulation, carpeting, appliances, plumbing, electrical, everything except the roof and the basement. The home was inspected and it had an A+ rating (or basically excellent). However, the main level looks great, but this 1940's home has an unfinished almost scary basement to go into. The house is on a hill so 1/2 of the basement is basically a crawlspace but the other 1/2 is useable and has about 6.5' height or so. It has a dirt floor with gravel, plastic and left over carpet to cover it up to walk on. It has 2 large plywood doors that open to the back yard that the riding mower drives into for storage. We had a yard sale this weekend and sold almost everything in there except for the riding mower - so I have space again.

Ok - here is my problem:

I have gotten estimates from 3 people (handyman to licenced) with quotes from 8K-12K+ to finish the basement to make it look as good as the main floor of the house. Currently I have 2-3 folding tables as a lab bench area to work on my electronics projects. However, they are in the bedroom and I wanted to have my own space to work on my projects outside get it out of the bedroom. The natural choice is the basement to have it "finished" and use some of the space there. But I would still need a place for my riding mower. I found a couple of local places with Amish type sheds in the 3K-4K range with financing. I was thinking about using something like this as an office and keep the basement for the mower and some storage.

Does this make sense to do something like this?

I am concerned about heating and cooling during the seasons and moisture too for the sheds. Do people use these sheds as a labortory or work areas? I basically need an area to work with electricity and don't care if it is finished or not so much. I just want to make sure this makes sense or go the more expensive finished basement route (and then buy a small shed for the riding mower).

Since I am a new home purchaser. I am going to collect the $7.5K that the goverment is giving out when I fill out my taxes next spring. This and perhaps 2-3K more is about all I could pay in large increments towards any project. Occaisionally I may be able to add $500 to 1K increments to either job from my normal paychecks.

I am not in the best of shape and would need to have either project done by someone else - not me. I might be able to add in electrical outlets and run cable but that's it. I have never done this before and worried if I attempt something on my own I may not know about something and have it redone again.

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Old 11-02-2008, 06:17 PM   #2
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Renovate the basement or add an office shed?


You have 6 1/2 feet to work with. If you put in a floor and cover the ceiling then you will have less head room.

You could dig out some of the dirt and lower the current floor and then put in a solid floor. But this will allow water to drain in since the floor will be below grade. You would have to put in some underground drain pipes to get any water away from the floor. And after this is all done it will not be classified as anything except a bonus room if you sell the house. Legal rooms have to have 8 foot ceiling in most area's. The money you spend here would not get back a lot of money for resale.

Then there is the issue of where would you put your yard tools?

I have little advice for you. Just my thoughts.

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Old 11-03-2008, 12:18 AM   #3
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Renovate the basement or add an office shed?


I finished my basement when child #1 came along and the wife turned it into a play room. I still had my shop and Bar which is two thirds of the basement. When child #2 came I lost my bar to my wife, it is now her office due to losing her office to child # 2 up stairs.And the laundry room is now in my shop. Needless to say I lost my Mancave to the kids and wife for six years so far. I am slowly reclaiming it though, It's a slow process but I reclaimed a third so far. So on that note, I would get the shed and make a nice little shop for yourself outside. Tv, Refridgerator, or (kegerator), Heat, A/C whatever floats your boat. I don't know if you have a wife and kids or not but if you finish that basement say goodbye to it. Just a little food for thought.
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:26 AM   #4
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Renovate the basement or add an office shed?


Get the shed for the garden tools and finish the basement. I don't like the idea of gasoline and propane tanks in the basement. I think they should be stored outside.
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:40 AM   #5
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Renovate the basement or add an office shed?


James,

I do have a wife and a 13 yr old daughter. My wifes space is the Sun room above the basement level on the main floor. I don't think I will have any issues with being kicked out.

Other comments? I really like the idea of the shed / office.
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:50 PM   #6
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Renovate the basement or add an office shed?


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Originally Posted by tdg8934 View Post
James,

I do have a wife and a 13 yr old daughter. My wifes space is the Sun room above the basement level on the main floor. I don't think I will have any issues with being kicked out.

Other comments? I really like the idea of the shed / office.
I like that idea too, It's like your own getaway. I'm already jelous.
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Old 11-03-2008, 02:38 PM   #7
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Renovate the basement or add an office shed?


The office shed is a neat idea, but I always keep resale value in mind when thinking of renovations. If resale is a consideration, I'd recommend finishing the basement and erecting a garden shed in which to store the stuff currently taking up your basement.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:52 PM   #8
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Renovate the basement or add an office shed?


Tonight I purchased (rent to own) to pay off in the spring a 12' x 36' office shed. After coming home it was much larger than I thought (biggest that they had). I will get it finished with electricity, heating/cooling, etc over the next few months. I just had 2nd thoughts about digging into the dirt basement to remove 6" to a foot and wondering if the structure might colapse in this old home. Now the issue is that this "long" office shed will take up a lot of the yard's view. If I keep it on the side of the house, it is visable from the street but still leaves the back yards view. The normal office shed comes with a 4' porch deck but I changed it to 8' and removed 4' from the remaining 36' to make it 12' x 28' plus a 12' x 8' porch area.

Here is the place I bought it from (local dealer in town here): http://oldhickorybuildings.com/products.php

I bought what they call the 12' x 36' "Playhouse".

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Old 11-10-2008, 07:44 AM   #9
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Renovate the basement or add an office shed?


Once the backyard office arrives, I will have an electrician wire it to the house.

However, I have spoken with 2 electricians. A older retired electrician said he would run 100 Amps and aluminum "trailer" wire to the office with 240 vac because I purchased a Kenmore air conditioner that does heat and cooling.

The other electrician (larger company) said not to run aluminum wiring and all he would need is 60 amps (as there is limited space in the circuit box) but did not recommend the single unit heating/cooling but 2 separate units at 110vac (air conditioner and a heater). I have already ordered the 220 vac heat/cool single unit from Sears.

The sales guy of the backyard office says their office (like mine) has 100 amps as it is required for units like this with I'm not sure if he has copper or aluminum wiring but at 120vac.

What is the best or correct way to proceed?

Also, once the electrical is in, then the insulation, it is time for putting in panneling, flooring, ceiling. What is the order for this?

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