For diehard fans of “America’s pastime” there is nothing like the thrill of watching the old ball game, live at the field. Unfortunately we can’t always get tickets to all the big games or follow the home team around the country throughout the season.
That leads us to the next best thing for sports fans: the sports party. Few things are more fun than watching the game among family and friends, enjoying great food and cold beverages while cheering for our favorite teams.
While sports bars are often a popular choice for such events, home parties are a growing trend. The freedom and informal atmosphere you can enjoy in a home hosted sports party, shared only with your closest friends and loved ones, appeals to most people.
The one thing that usually keeps homeowners from hosting sports parties more often is lack of a space that is either big enough to accommodate guests or “party friendly.”
After all, even if you love to entertain, the idea of having a living room full of eating, drinking and rooting guests — as well as the thought of having to clean up after the party is over — can be quite discouraging.
If you have an unfinished basement, however, you can quickly and affordably turn it into the ultimate sports-themed party room.
By combining intelligent design, the right finishing materials, versatile furniture and good media equipment, you can create a sports fan’s dream room, where you and your friends will be able to watch the big game, season after season.
Here are some tips to help you plan your sports room and have it ready for 2013 World Series!
Make sure it is dry
Chances are that you will be furnishing your room with some pricey items, like flat screen TVs, home theater systems, computers, game consoles, and other electronics. Maybe you’ll be using the room to display some of your priceless sports memorabilia.
Whatever the case, the last thing you want is to have your basement room (and valuables) under water. Basements can get flooded for a number of reasons ranging from sump pump failures to natural disasters and plumbing accidents. Before you start spending money on design and finishing, take a few extra steps to make sure your basement stays dry.
Things like an internal perimeter drainage system (even if you have an external French drain), and a powerful sump pump system, complete with a battery-operated backup pump and a water alarm, will become your first line of defense against flooding and water accidents.
The safety of your family and friends is priority in any project. If you don’t have a walkout basement, consider installing an egress window. An egress window is a code requirement for a finished basement in some states. In other states it is only required if the finished room will serve as a bedroom.
Even if your state does not require an egress window to issue a permit for your project, it is a good idea to provide your family and guests with two ways out of the basement in case of an emergency.
The fire rating of the finishing and insulation materials is also very important when it comes to basements. The typical basement has poor ventilation and smoke tends to build up rather quickly inside. Finishing materials with a class 1 fire rating are the safest options for use in finished basements.
Have the wiring of your new basement space planned and installed by a certified electrician and don’t forget to install enough outlets for all the electronics, fixtures and appliances you will be using. Adding some extra outlets for cell phone chargers and other gadgets you might need to plug in when you entertain guests is also a good idea.
Accessibility is Key
Consider that your guests come in different sizes, shapes, ages and levels of ability and mobility. When designing your basement room, it is a good idea to make sure they are accessible by everyone, and keep the main area and entryways as free of clutter as possible, especially if someone in your inner circle uses a wheelchair or other mobility aid equipment.
If you or most of your usual guests have (and bring) children to the gatherings, consider a separate room or area for them to play and eat, with age appropriate furniture and entertainment so that they won’t be running in front of the TV while you and your guests are trying to watch the big game.
Controlling Humidity and Avoiding Mold Problems
The last thing you want is a basement room that makes people sick due to humidity and mold. Consider that even the driest basement has some level of moisture seeping through the concrete, as well as some condensation issues due to temperature differences. In addition, a plumbing accident can quickly transform your basement into a moldy nightmare.
For that reason, the ideal basement finishing materials are the ones that are both waterproof and mold resistant. Materials such as drywall, wood, fiberglass insulation, wooden subfloors, laminates, and carpet should never be used in basements. They all absorb water and since they are made with organic compounds, they will support mold growth.
Insulated, cement-core basement wall panels and basement flooring options designed specifically for the basement are the best options for any finished basement room, because they won’t get ruined if your basement floods and will not allow mold to grow. They are also very easy to clean and maintain, which is a desirable feature in any room designed to entertain guests. The cement core panels are so sturdy, that you can hang that flat screen TV on them without the need for studs or special hardware.
A powerful basement dehumidifier with an air filter is also highly recommended to keep the basement dry and mold free, and to improve air quality in the basement by filtering out mold spores, dust mite pellets and other harmful particles.