Is it Legal to Have a Kitchen in the Basement?

  • By: Promise
  • Time to read: 8 min.
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It is legal to have a kitchen in the basement as long as you obtain a permit to build a kitchen in your basement, follow all the building codes of the state and meet all the minimum requirements that make an apartment legal.

When it comes to setting up a house or making a renovation, you have a particular picture in mind. You have the design the house according to your preference. You can decide to have just one kitchen in your house or two. But then the other one would be in your basement.

A basement is a space underneath the house. It is always below the ground level of the house. In history, the basement was created mainly as a storage area for wines, water, and food. It later became a place for hiding during the wars.

The basement in recent years has now been used for different things. It could be a game room, laundry room, fitness area, or even a living room for you to enjoy with your family. It also houses the main drains of the house and the main electrical circuits.

However, recently, people have started building kitchens in their basements. It just depends on your budget and why you want to have one in the basement.

If building a kitchen is now a trend, the question is, Can I put a kitchen in my basement?

You can have a kitchen in your basement as long you know what it entails. Building a kitchen is not that easy. You will have to get contractors if you really want a standard one. Also, you might need a permit depending on your city. But it depends on what you want and if you have enough money for it.

Is it legal to have a kitchen in the basement?

Legality or illegality is determined by the rules guiding the ways things are done in a state. Many cities don’t see building a kitchen in the basement as an issue once you have followed the rules guiding buildings in that city. Other cities issue permits for building the kitchen.

One of the things that would be considered when issuing you a permit to build a kitchen in your basement is if there is a door or egress. Code has it that there should be egress windows in the basement. This is for escape when there is a need to; like a fire hazard.

It is not illegal to have a kitchen in the basement as long as all the building codes were followed while building the kitchen. Once you have obeyed the codes, you can have your kitchen in the basement.

How Much Does it Cost to Have a Kitchen in the Basement?

It will cost between $5,000 to $10,000 to have a kitchen in the basement.

When it comes to building, money must be spent. Well, you are going to spend more money if you want to build a standard kitchen in your basement. This will include renovation, flooring, lighting, ventilation, waterproofing, and many more.

However, you can cut costs by doing much of the work. On the other hand, it is advisable to allow contractors to do the job. They are experts in the field.

Sometimes DIY is not needed. If you just want to have a place where you can just chill out and think, you don’t need to spend so much on the basement. You’ll only need a kitchenette. And that would have basic appliances needed in a kitchen such as a stove, refrigerator, coffee maker, DIY cabinet, lights, rolling island, etc.

Therefore, having a kitchen in the basement would cost you between $8,000 – $30,000; lighting, waterproofing, ventilation would be included. If you desire something more than that, then your budget will increase between $30,000 – $50,000. Here you have extra lights, the floor is done by contractors, not you. 

You can decide to go higher if you have the money. Premium appliances will be bought for this kitchen. This is a total renovation of the basement. Also if you don’t have a door or egress window, you must install it. The egress window should even be the first thing you look out for when building your kitchen in the basement.

The installation of the egress will cost you between$2,500 to $5,000. Installing a door will cost between $2,500 to $10,000. To build a kitchen in your basement, you really need to save up.

Why Do People Put a Kitchen in the Basement?

Reasons, why people build a kitchen in the basement, is because:

  • Building a kitchen in a basement beside the main kitchen on the ground floor can increase the resale value of the house.
  • If your basement is used for family time, a kitchen there would be useful. It wouldn’t be cool going up and down the stairs to bring food to your family.
  • Also, you might miss the family talks because you are busy upstairs cooking. So to be part of the family talks, a kitchen in the basement is needed.
  • Having a kitchen in the basement can also reduce the space on the ground floor.
  • You can also make good use of your basement by holding parties with your family and friends and with lots of food to go around.
  • Well, some people build kitchens in the basement because it’s the new trend. They want to go out of the norm.

Do I Need a Permit to Put a Kitchen in the Basement?

Yes, you need to obtain a permit such as building permits, electrical permits, and plumbing permits, etc., from the Building Department to put a kitchen in the basement.

Codes differ from city to city. When it comes to putting a kitchen in your basement, you have to be familiar with the codes of building in that city.

Many cities will issue you a permit when you want to renovate, install new electrical work, and so on. Flooring doesn’t need a permit.

A permit is not something very difficult or something that will stall your plans. When you get a permit, you are saying your basement is open to inspection.

Inspectors come over after you have applied and they check if everywhere is safe. They will check if the works were properly done to avoid danger in the future.

Some people bypass getting a permit and still build or renovate the kitchen. But it might affect the sale of the house because the buyer might be concerned about the safety of the house. It is better to get one and be sure that your basement is safe.

How to Build a Kitchen in the Basement?

To build a standard kitchen in your basement, you need a contractor to help with the conversion. They know about space and how they can renovate the basement to your taste. They will be in charge of the wiring, flooring, ventilation, installation of lights, and many more.

When it comes to building a kitchen in the basement, the height of your basement must be put into consideration. Check for places where you crawl into. When the ceiling is too low, you won’t be able to move freely. If the ceiling is too low then it means you have to dig deeper so that you can get the right height. The floor shouldn’t be bare.

Floor the kitchen with laminate flooring. This flooring can not be easily damaged so you don’t have to be afraid that it won’t last long. You can also place your appliances on it. Pick from the diverse colors that exist.

You can decide to use tiles also. It’s your choice. Be creative with the colors. Let the color of the floor blend with the color of the wall. If you wish, you can also paint the wall the same color as the ceiling.

Basements are usually flooded so you have to waterproof the walls to prevent leakage. Repair any crack in the wall or on the floor. A mold or mildew grows in a damp place.

Your kitchen must be very clean because your food is prepared there. The waterproofing can’t be done by you so you need a contractor for that.

After that, you can then paint the walls and decorate them. Luckily, the main circuits of the house are always in the basement. So it won’t be difficult to do the wiring. Let there be a separate circuit for the basement so that it won’t cause overloading.

Have outlets that can carry the lighting and your appliances. The main drains are also in the basement. So you can just connect your sink to it. It is better for a contractor to help you with it to avoid leakages.

There is no ventilation in the basement due to it having one or two egress. Get vented or ventless ducts to help with the ventilation.

Also, fans are needed so that the smell of food wouldn’t linger too much. There should be a fire extinguisher and an escape door or window.

Since fire mostly starts from the kitchen, your basement should be safe from fire hazards. Also, there should be smoke detectors in the rooms and they should be connected to the main house so that anywhere you are in the house, you can easily escape when there is a fire.

Lighting is very important. The basement is a damp and dark place so you have to lighten up the place. Recess cans are available and affordable. Set them close to one another so that the lights will get everywhere.

Cabinets are needed to store things. There are varieties of designs to choose from. Also, there should be lighting in your cabinets so that you can see clearly. You can also get the sink and faucet of your choice.

Since the basement is always cold due to its location, you should have a temperature regulator in it. This will regulate the temperature in the place.

When you have set up your kitchen, you need appliances. Now, this depends on what you want in the kitchen. Apart from a refrigerator, stove, cabinets, a mini microwave, you can decide to add ice coolers, a coffee maker, and so on.

Lastly, decorate the kitchen. If there’s still space, you can have a dining area in the basement. This will be more fun as you will really maximize the family time you have by talking with your loved ones.

Final Thoughts

Kitchens in basements are becoming a trend these days. It is also a way to use your creative ideas. And it will reduce the space in the main house. Also, it will make for good family time. So why not give it a try if you want it?

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