Is It Legal to Have a Kitchen in the Basement?
Do you have a basement in your home that you’re using for storing old things that you no longer use?
Many people often use their basements as store rooms without realizing the number of opportunities the basement presents to enhance their property’s value.
If you’ve got a basement that you’ve neglected for far too long, we suggest you consider building a kitchen in the basement. It’s one of the best ways to utilize the space that’s lying unused.
Is it Legal to Have a Kitchen in the Basement?
Yes. Building a kitchen in the basement is absolutely legal. You can have a basement kitchen, but you’ve got to fully ensure that you’re following the building code.
There are numerous guidelines when it comes to the basement kitchen.
You’ve got to ensure you don’t miss out on any legal requirements when building a kitchen in the basement, from plumbing to electrical work to ventilation to the construction itself.
Your basement kitchen will be considered illegal if you fail to comply with the building code and secure valid permits.
However, as long as you ensure you’re complying with the building code requirements concerning building a kitchen in the basement, there’s not much you’ve got to worry about!
Why Build a Kitchen in the Basement?
You may wonder what the point of building a kitchen in the basement is when you already have a fully functional and equipped kitchen on the upper level of your house.
Well, building a basement kitchen is one of the most commonly undertaken home improvement projects.
There’s no denying the fact that building a basement kitchen is definitely a step towards home improvement.
There are plenty of reasons why we suggest you consider building a kitchen in your basement. Some of them are:
Many people remodel their basement into the living room, guest room, or simply a sitting area where they can entertain their guests.
Others prefer to use their basements as study rooms because of the silence and lack of any sort of distractions.
Whatever it is that you’re using your basement for, you’ll have to make several trips to the kitchen on the upper level to fetch water, drinks, refreshments, or food for your guests or yourself.
However, having a kitchen in the basement offers a lot of convenience. It saves you the hassle of moving to and from your kitchen that’s located on the upper level of your house.
Expansion of Living Space
Building a kitchen in the basement opens up several opportunities and options. You can use your basement as an independent rental unit if you’ve got a kitchen in the basement.
If you’ve got someone over who plans to stay for a while for work or personal reasons, you can accommodate them in the basement and not worry about them invading your personal space.
You can even use your basement as an independent rental unit and make some extra money!
Enhanced Property Value
Anybody would be more than willing to pay a higher price for a property that has got an additional kitchen in the basement.
Building a kitchen in the basement enhances your property’s value significantly. Your property will be a major catch in the market when you plan on selling it.
Things to Be Careful About When Building a Kitchen in the Basement
There are several factors that you must consider when building a basement kitchen.
You can’t build a kitchen in the basement without any preparation. It requires you to take permits and ensure that you aren’t violating any building codes of your zone.
The first thing that you’ve got to ensure when building a kitchen in the basement is taking a permit from your local building authority.
The local building authority evaluates whether the type of kitchen you wish to build complies with the building code.
They’ll point out all the areas you need to address when building a kitchen in the basement. It might feel like a very difficult thing to do, but it’s their way to ensure your kitchen is safe.
Once you’ve got the permit, consider it a green signal and hire professionals who have experience building basement kitchens.
One of the most important factors when building a basement kitchen is ventilation. Without proper ventilation, your kitchen won’t be given a legal status.
There’s usually a lack of ventilation in the basements since there are no windows or exhaust systems installed.
When we talk about kitchens, there’s fire involved. There will be smoke, fumes, and odors when you cook, and you certainly wouldn’t want all of that to stay in your kitchen.
For this reason, you’ve got to ensure that there’s adequate ventilation in your basement. There should be a window.
If there isn’t, you should either get one made or install a proper electrical exhaust system. Installing a range hood is an expensive addition, but it’s totally worth it if you ask us!
Remember that ventilation isn’t something that can be done after your basement kitchen is in place. It’s something you’ve got to do before you start building the kitchen.
Adequate ventilation is a prerequisite for a basement kitchen.
Another important consideration when building a kitchen in the basement is safety. It’s also one factor that’ll decide your kitchen’s legal status.
In order to ensure your basement kitchen complies with the building code and is considered a legal addition to your home, you’ve got to ensure it’s equipped with the right safety features.
There should be a window big enough to allow you to escape through it in case there’s a fire. The window in the basement will serve as the emergency exit if something goes wrong.
Not only should the window be big enough for you or anyone using the basement kitchen to exit, it should also be at a height that’s easy to reach.
If the window is the right size but too high, it’s of no real use.
Another important element that affects the safety of your basement kitchen is whether you’ve got carbon dioxide monitors installed.
A buildup of carbon dioxide in the basement can cause difficulty breathing.
It can also make you feel lightheaded and even unconscious if you stay in the basement with too much carbon dioxide for too long.
You should install carbon dioxide monitors in the basement kitchen to ensure the air in the basement isn’t saturated with carbon dioxide.
You’ll need sufficient lighting in your basement kitchen. Not only this, but you’ll also need power sockets for heavy kitchen appliances if you’re planning to build a fully functional kitchen.
Make sure the electrical work is done properly. The electrical wiring shouldn’t be open. The power sockets should be of the right amperage to support the heavy kitchen appliances.
It would be best if you asked the contractor to install a separate circuit for your basement kitchen to prevent the circuit of your house from getting overloaded. Overloading of the circuit can result in short circuits and fires.
Water leakages are a common problem in the basement. You can’t build a kitchen in the basement without first fixing the water problems.
Water leaks will affect the integrity of your kitchen, but they’ll also put your safety at risk.
The water from concealed pipelines can get to the electrical wiring behind the walls and lead to severe consequences.
When you’re planning to build a basement kitchen, waterproofing your basement is often the first thing that you’ll have to get done. It’s a legal requirement.
The authorities require you to waterproof your basement to make it into a livable space.
When is a Basement Kitchen Considered Illegal?
In some instances, a basement kitchen is considered illegal. It’s better to be aware of them beforehand so that you can prevent falling into this category.
If your house is zoned as a single-family home, building a second kitchen in your basement will be illegal.
If you’re building a kitchen in the basement, it means you have multiple families living there, or you’re planning to use your basement as a separate living unit.
If you aren’t getting your property rezoned for multi-family living or taking permits to use your basement as an independent living unit, your basement kitchen will be illegal.
An egress window is a legal requirement for any finished basement.
If you’re planning to build a basement kitchen or use your basement as a living space, you’ve got to build an egress window of the right dimensions for an emergency exit.
Your basement kitchen can’t be considered a legal addition to your home without an egress window.
No Plumbing and Electrical Permits
The plumbing and electrical work in a basement kitchen has to be in accordance with the building codes.
You need a permit for everything well in advance, from water inlets and drainage systems to electrical fixtures and lighting.
In case you don’t secure these permits before installing your basement kitchen, your kitchen will be considered illegal.
As long as you ensure compliance with building codes, it’s legal to have a kitchen in the basement.
However, if you fail to comply with the building code requirements, you might have to face legal consequences.
Other articles you may also like: