How to Maximise Light in your basement conversion

How to Maximise Light in your basement conversion

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Maximise Light

We’ve covered extending upwards, outwards… now it’s time to talk about extending downwards! Unlike extending into the roof, basements and cellars are closer to the main living area which means they are ever more versatile than roof spaces. Everything from theatre rooms to play rooms to gym and spas have been created in a space that was formerly non-existent in some cases. There are 3 main routes to adding space below your home these are:

1. Creating basements as part of a new or self-build
2. Renovating an existing basement or cellar
3. Creating a new basement in an existing home. This can be done by extending into the (Or below) the garden or directly underneath or to the sides.

5 design details to consider

1. Planning Permission

Planning permission is generally not required in most cases (Conservation areas, listed homes etc will differ) as it does not alter the appearance of the property, excavation to create a new basement (Major work) will likely require permission.

4. Means of escape

External door or window suitable for egress should be provided (>0.33m²)

3. Building Approval

You will require Building Regulation Approval for creation of a new habitable basement however for renovation of existing basement does not require approval.

5. Ventilation

Ventilation to be designed to take into account moisture content in the structure and air quality in the basement.

2. Ceiling Height

There is no minimum ceiling height, a practical minimum would be 2400. Unlike roof extensions if you need more ceiling height all you need to do is dig a little bit deeper!

Introducing Light into a basement

There are multiple ways to bring natural light into a basement dwelling which all vary depending on how you wish to build your basement. The majority of basements are under the existing house which creates a few challenges with solid walls or where the building is below ground.

1. Sun Tunnel

The easiest way to get light into the basement in this instance is to use a Crystal light pipe F400. This specially designed light tunnel uses a large wall mounted light collector and a smaller diameter tubing which allows the tunnel to travel horizontally over larger distances. Minimal structural alterations are needed due to the small diameter tubes. Other alternatives can start from the roof and make their way downwards through a series of extensions tubes and elbows. Though this generally isn't advisable for large distances as the light transmittance will be lower over longer distances.

2. Glazed Floor Lights

Possibly the most aesthetically pleasing way to get light into the basement, glazed floor lights are recessed glass panes in the floor. They can be installed internally or externally and feature double glazed ‘walk on’ glass.
Floor lights are usually fixed however Surespan can offer openable floor hatches which can be used for access or ventilation. Pair it with a staircase into your garden for easy access to outdoor areas or even access to a pool area above ground from the basement!

Get Bespoke Quotes on Floor Lights and Floor Hatches

Visit Surespan Covers for more information

3. Basement or Cellar Access Door

Have you considered how best to access the basement or cellar? There are a variety of methods for accessing underground areas. Recessed floor covers can be gas spring or electrically operated and feature a recess in the lid to accept the surrounding flooring to provide a clean, flush finish that matches the existing floor. Chequer plate lids can also be specified for a more industrial look. Recessed covers can take a wide variety of flooring infills at a variety of depths. They are ideal for accessing areas in smaller spaces such as wine cellar from a kitchen or plant access for boiler work or similar.

4. Light Wells

Light wells are created when you dig down to basement level from the ground and install a reinforced structure freeing up the space to include horizontal lighting such as the sun pipe above or a window.

5. Sun Pipe through Wall

Our Sun pipes may not always be considered for basement applications however they can be adapted and used in the horizontal application with use of two 45° elbows to create a 90° bend. In addition, multiple extension lengths can be used to carry light from the roof down into the basement, the pipes can easily be concealed behind the brickwork or incorporated as an architectural element. Tubes can extend up to 5 metres for larger domes.
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