Question About Living in Basement

Updated on September 12, 2007
S.S. asks from Highland, MI
9 answers

My daughter is 5 months old and we are staying in my future in-laws basement. It has drywall and we are putting in carpet. I am not real comfortable with it. My doctor said as long as it is finished it should be okay. I just wanted to know if there is anyone out that there that has been in my same situation and if it had any affect on their child or themselves?

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answers from Benton Harbor on

If the basement is dry, you shouldn't have any problems from a medical standpoint. Wet basements or walls that 'sweat' can cause mildew which can lead to respiratory issues. Sometimes basements are dustier than upstairs and bugs tend to pile up in the corners, but that is just characteristic of a basement, even on brand new houses. It'll just take some extra cleaning, but it can be just as cozy as anything else! Just get the kids outside often so you don't go!

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answers from Detroit on


Have you considered testing the basement for RADON. I don't know too much about it, only that it is an odorless gas (found in many basements) and it is the second leading cause of lung cancer. You can read more about it at this website:

My husband bought a test kit last year and tested our basement. The results came back as "extremely dangerous" We had to have a ventilation system installed.

My advise to you is to purchase a test kit just to be sure; the website provides info on how/where to purchase one.

Best of luck to you and you daughter.



answers from Detroit on

My husband lost his job and we didn’t have any other choice but to move into my in-law’s basement. Before we moved in, it was just a regular basement, but they let us build our own place and it turned into a mini apartment. I became pregnant a few months later and my son is now almost 20 months old and having lived in the basement his whole life, he is just fine. We still live here, but my husband got a new job and started school just after we moved in and we will be here until he is finished early next year.

As long as the basement is dry there shouldn’t be any problems. But if you are worried, then ask your doctor some “what if” questions so you will know what symptoms to look out for just in case. But I wouldn’t worry too much.



answers from Grand Rapids on

S., Hi my name is K. and I know what you are going through. I am a 28 year old single mother with a 5 year old and a 7 year old. I am currently staying with a friend in the basement that is not finished. I am sure that the health of your child is not an issue as long as she doesn't breathe alot of dust or anything like that. She will be just fine and so will you! I wish you and your baby all the best!



answers from Saginaw on

I did that for the first 6 weeks of my sons life. He was so sick. My dr said it was because basements are underground and you get the cold from the ground comming in through the walls. He still has lung problems to this day from it. Just be careful especially with carpet. It holds in the moisture from the gournd onto the basement floor and can hold in mold spores.



answers from Kalamazoo on

We have a finished room in our basement that is used as our family room. We spend much of the day/evening down here. It is where the TV is and where all his toys are. He is nearly 3 now and has been a very healthy kid...and an expert stair climber. Just make sure you get up into the sunlight every day and spend a little time outside as weather permits.




answers from Detroit on

I have been there and done that! Right after my ex and I split, I had to move into my dad's basement for awhile to get back on my feet (I was a SAHM before). Unfortunately there was not enough room for my kids to have their own sleeping area as well as a play area so their cribs ended up a foot from my own bed. Bedtime became a game because they expected me to go to bed with them, they just didn't understand that I didn't have the same bedtime as them and they would cry and cry, which never happened when they had their own room (Probably because they never knew mommy stayed up once their door was closed!) So I used to have to lay down and pretend to sleep until they fell asleep every night which became a big pain! After a few months my youngest started to refuse to even get into his bed and want to sleep in mine. But luckily enough when we finally moved into our new house when I got remarried a year later, all the problems disappeared the first night we stayed there. I was not expecting that, I thought it had been too long for them to go back into their old routine and had become too attached to sleeping so close, but they went into their own beds and fell asleep with no problems!

I hope your situation works out much better than mine did. But on the positve side, staying there saved me tons of money since my dad refused to let me pay rent (I just had to provide our own food since he doesn't really eat at home anyways) and was able to move into a great house and lease a nice car faster than if I had struggled to get my finances in order after my split. Good Luck, and I am always available to vent to if you need!



answers from Detroit on

I lived in a finished basement of an aunt while I finished my student teaching and things were going great until winter really hit. Just like most houses, it would be much warmer upstairs than it would be downstairs and she wouldn't turn the heat up anymore to take the chill off because it would get too hot for her. I safely used a portable electric heater but would turn it off before I fell asleep because I was afraid of a fire. I ended up getting a severe respiratory infection, had to move home with my parents for three weeks, missed school and almost didn't finish college. Once it warmed up, things were inhabitable again. Hopefully, it will be warmer for you. Use electric space heaters (never gas indoors) if necessary and wear layers. At least the basement gives you your own space. If it does get cold, maybe you can send your daughter upstairs with your in-laws.



answers from Detroit on

for comfort, you may want to look into getting a dehumidifer (seems to come in handy in most michigan basments)... I also agree with the radon testing- particularly if it is an older home.
The absolute biggest concern however, is that you have a way to make an exit in case of fire. Unless the basement is a walkout, it is actually required by law that you have a window large enough to open and exit through down there in case of fire (should the path to the stairs be blocked off). Now to sound al dooms-day-ish, but you need to make sure that is taken care of- even if it means simply replacing a glass block window with one that can be removed in case of emergency (though a dug out with a ladder is prefferable, just lots of extra money in contruction)...
Aside from that, our family also spends most of our together time in the [finished] basement. Definetly follow the advice about the sunshine, you may even invest in some uv simulating bulbs for winter...
hope this was helpful!