Basement Company in London Recommends Essential Safety Features
If you’re converting your into a living space, safety should be a top priority. Let’s explore key safety elements to transform your basement from a hazard zone to a haven. A reputable basement company in London can help install these protections.
1. Secure Railings & Handrails
Basements can be great spaces for extra living areas, home gyms, workshops, and more. However, basements often have stairs leading down that require proper railings and handrails to prevent injuries. Investing in secure basement railings and grab bars is essential for preventing falls and providing stability along stairways and edges.
Why Basement Railings Matter
Unprotected stairs or open edges in a basement create major fall and injury risks. Building codes generally require graspable handrails on at least one side of stairways with more than a few steps. For safety, railings should be installed on both sides of basement stairs.
Sturdy railings give you secure support when using stairs, especially helpful when carrying laundry baskets or other items. They also provide a clear boundary so you don’t accidentally wander off the open edge when reaching the basement floor.
Choosing the Right Railing Materials
High-quality wood, metal, or composite materials are ideal for basement railings. Look for strong, study materials that will stand up to wet conditions and regular use over time.
– Wood railings should be sanded and sealed to withstand moisture. Oak, maple, and ash provide attractive, durable options.
– Wrought iron and steel offer classic black metal railings. Stainless steel resists rust.
– Aluminum railings are affordable, low maintenance, and lightweight yet sturdy.
– Composite materials blend wood and plastic for a look that won’t rot or splinter.
Railing Height and Grasp Requirements
For safety, basement railings should meet the following standards:
– Top rails need to be 36-42 inches above the leading edge of the stair nosing.
– Balusters spaced no more than 4 inches apart for infill panels.
– Returns back to wall surface for a clean finish.
– Designed not to allow passage of a sphere 4 inches in diameter.
– Graspable handrails 1-1/4 – 2 inches wide on at least one side.
Professionally installed with secure mounts, railings meeting code help prevent accidental falls by providing a stable handhold and protective barrier.
Extending Railings Along Open Basement Edges
Any open edges in a basement, such as along a stair landing, require railings for safety. The same 36-42 inch height standard applies. Extending the stair railing or adding a matching railing provides secure boundaries wherever a hazardous drop-off exists.
Investing in proper railings and handrails is essential for preventing costly injuries in the home. Contact a qualified basement company in London to install secure basement railings that look beautiful while keeping your family safe.
2. Proper Ventilation & Humidity Control
Don’t let mould and mildew take hold. Proper ventilation is key to controlling humidity and keeping your below-grade reno fresh. Let’s review smart techniques to banish that problematic basement dampness. A reputable basement company in London can handle installation for ideal air circulation.
Vents Invite Fresh Air
Stuffy, stagnant air breeds mould spores and musty odours. Introducing vents allows fresh, dry air to flow freely, inhibiting mould growth. Strategically place vents to whisk away stale air and prevent pockets of poor circulation. Powerful ventilation fans supplement vents to actively expel humid air.
Dehumidifiers Maintain Ideal Humidity
Along with ventilation, controlling humidity is vital to prevent mould in London basements. Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air, maintaining humidity at around 50%. This dry environment starves mould and mildew growth. Portable dehumidifiers work for smaller spaces, while whole-home models tie into HVAC systems for comprehensive control.
Exhaust Fans Remove Lingering Dampness
Even with vents and dehumidifiers, areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms require extra moisture control. Install exhaust fans to directly expel humid air from the source. Vent fans should duct outside, not just recirculate inside air. Run fans for a period after showering or washing to clear residual wetness.
Circulating Fans Keep Air Moving
Supplement fixed ventilation with circulating fans to act as air circulators. Mount fans high on walls to push air downward and create active airflow in every corner. This air movement helps basements maintain a consistently dry environment.
With the right humidity-busting ventilation plan in place, your London basement remains a fresh, livable space safe from problematic mould and mildew.
3. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Converting your London basement? Don’t neglect smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. These essential devices provide live saving alerts against dangerous gases and fires. Strategically placed detectors offer 24/7 monitoring for total peace of mind. Let’s review where smoke and CO detectors belong in your below-grade reno.
Smoke Near Bedrooms for Overnight Safety
Install smoke detectors near any basement bedrooms or sleeping quarters. Opt for units with battery back up in case of power failure. Interconnected detectors provide whole-home coverage, sounding an urgent alarm if smoke is detected anywhere.
CO by Furnaces to Detect Deadly Fumes
Carbon monoxide is an odourless, invisible gas that can be fatal. Place CO detectors near all fuel-burning appliances like furnaces, water heaters, and fireplaces. Choose models with digital displays that show CO levels.
Smoke at Top of Stairs to Catch Rising Smoke
Since smoke rises, installing detectors at the top of basement stairs provides vital early warning. If fire starts below, you’ll be alerted as soon as smoke wafts up. This quick notice gives precious time to respond and exit safely.
CO and Smoke For Comprehensive Alerts
For complete protection, basement spaces need both smoke and CO detectors. Smoke units sense fires and smouldering hazards. CO models provide advance warning against dangerous gas build-up. Used together, these devices offer 24/7 monitoring.
With professional installation by a qualified basement Company in London, smoke and CO detectors safeguard your below-grade space. You’ll gain peace of mind knowing your basement has comprehensive alert protection.
4. Emergency Escape Access
Plan Your Exit: Ensuring Emergency Escape from London Basements
Converting your basement in London? Don’t neglect emergency escape access. Having alternative exit routes can be a lifesaver if fire, flood or other danger strikes. Let’s review smart ways to plan safe, quick getaways from your below-grade space.
Install an Egress Window for Alternate Exit
Basement egress windows provide occupants with another escape option besides the stairs. These special windows are sized and positioned to allow even larger people to exit quickly. Openings must meet minimum width and height standards with window wells allowing full operation. Properly installed egress windows can be a basement lifesaver.
Add an Exterior Exit Door for Direct Access Out
Along with egress windows, adding an exterior exit door in your basement creates an alternate way out. Opt for steel or solid wood construction. Include a deadbolt lock to secure the door when not in use. Be sure to create a clear path from interior areas to the door for easy access.
Keep Emergency Routes Unobstructed
Once emergency basement exits are created, keep them free of clutter and impediments. Stored items or furnishings can block access when seconds count. Conduct occasional drills to practice utilizing escapes. Identify any hazards like narrow passages or tripping points needing correction.
Discuss Options with Your Contractor
There are often multiple options for basement emergency access – discuss ideas with your contractor. They can help select optimal exits considering layout, foundation type, budgets and building codes. Some homes may benefit from both egress windows and a new door.
Don’t wait for an emergency to realize your London basement lacks escape routes. By planning ahead, you can create safe, reliable means of egress that could one day save a life.
5. Fire Extinguishers & Sprinklers
Having the right equipment on hand allows you to respond quickly if a fire starts below. Let’s look at two important options: fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems.
Keep Extinguishers on Every Level
Portable fire extinguishers allow you to tackle small fires immediately. Keep ABC multipurpose units on each floor. Teach household members how to use them safely. Install extinguishers in basement common areas like recreation rooms where fires may start. Always maintain devices properly with annual inspections.
Consider a Sprinkler System for Added Protection
In addition to extinguishers, basement sprinkler systems provide an added layer of fire protection. When flames activate the heat sensor, a network of piping releases water to suppress the fire. This rapid response can control blazes before they spread. Wet pipe systems with continuous water supply are typically used in finished basements. Installation costs more than extinguishers but may be worth considering for maximum safety.
Create an Escape Route Too
Along with active measures like extinguishers and sprinklers, be sure to install emergency escape and exit routes from your London basement. This allows quick evacuation in case fire prevents reaching the stairs. Adequate fire preparation includes both suppression devices and alternative ways out.
Discuss Options with Your Contractor
Review your basement layout and risk factors with contractors to determine suitable fire protection. They can explain pros and cons of various systems. Combining extinguishers, sprinklers and well-planned exits creates a layered approach for best safety. Don’t wait until it’s too late – a small investment in fire protection now can prevent immense tragedy down the road.
6. Sump Pump & Perimeter Drainage
A wet basement is a common problem for many homeowners in London and surrounding areas. Excess moisture can lead to mould, mildew, and damage to walls, floors, and foundations. Investing in proper waterproofing measures like a sump pump and perimeter drain system can help keep your basement dry all year long.
The Causes of Basement Water Problems
Groundwater, rainwater, and runoff from downspouts are common sources of basement moisture. High clay content soil that doesn’t drain well is often the culprit. Water follows the path of least resistance, seeping through cracks and pores in concrete walls and floors. A high water table level can also cause the ground to become saturated.
How a Sump Pump Works
A sump pump is a pump and pit system designed to collect and discharge excess groundwater before it accumulates. The pump itself is an electric device placed in a sump pit or hole dug at the lowest point of the basement floor near the foundation. The pit fills with water, and the pump activates to push the water out through a discharge pipe.
Sump pumps run automatically by a float switch or sensor. As the pit fills, the float rises until it triggers the pump to turn on. The pump evacuates the water through the discharge line. Some sump pumps have a battery backup in case of power outages.
Perimeter Drainage Systems
A perimeter drain is a drainage system that works together with the sump pump. It consists of a perforated pipe that runs around the foundation footer to intercept water before it enters the basement. The drainpipe slopes down to the sump pit so water flows by gravity into the sump.
The perimeter drain is usually installed by excavating a trench along the outside foundation. The trench is filled with gravel, and the perforated plastic pipe is placed on top before being buried. This creates a channel for groundwater to move to the sump pump. Some systems also include interior drain tiles.
Keeping Your Sump Pump System Operational
Proper maintenance is crucial for your sump pump system. Here are some tips:
– Regularly check the pump and float switch to ensure proper functioning. Test weekly by pouring water into the pit.
– Listen for pumping sounds during heavy rain to confirm it’s working.
– Keep the pump cleared of debris like pebbles or dirt.
– Have a professional service the pump annually before the wet season.
– Consider installing a new pump every 5-10 years or at signs of failure.
– Check discharge pipes for blockages.
– Install a battery backup system in case of power loss.
– Keep the sump pit lid secured to prevent accidents.
It is a wise investment for any home with chronic moisture issues. A dry basement provides healthier air quality and can prevent thousands of pounds in structural damage over time. Contact a qualified basement company in London for an evaluation of your home’s drainage needs. With the right perimeter drainage and pumping solutions in place, you can enjoy a drier, more usable basement space.
Take safety seriously when remodelling your basement in London. Following building codes minimizes hazards. But adding extra safeguards, like these 6, helps ensure your basement becomes a safe gathering spot for your family to enjoy for years to come.