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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
United States


Since 1975, O'Donnell Bros has been providing greater Bristol and Central Connecticut with residential and commercial remodeling solutions. We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and so much more. We look forward to helping you with all your remodeling needs. 

A Rec Room Remodel Makes for the Perfect Pre-Winter Project


O'Donnell Bros President, Bob O'Donnell, is a regular contributor to The Bristol Press. Read his home improvement articles here.


A Rec Room Remodel Makes for the Perfect Pre-Winter Project

Chelsea O'Donnell

As the weather turns colder, now is a great time to think about giving the kids some play space to help them explore their imaginations without turning your house upside down. Plus, who doesn’t want a designated zone to kick back and enjoy Sunday football or a place to get the whole family together for a winter movie marathon? So this week, let’s talk about how to turn that unused basement into a recreation area that can keep the family occupied while keeping the rest of your home intact.

One of the greatest outcomes of a basement remodel is that it gives you the opportunity to go through all your old belongings and get rid of anything that’s past its use by date. As we get closer to winter, our shelters will be in need of extra warm clothes and furniture banks like Bristol’s For Goodness Sake can use additional inventory to make a family feel at home this holiday season. Decluttering is a great start for any remodeling project and the additional room and space will make the project much easier to tackle.

Once your space is clear, you can start to develop your floor plan. You want to think about what it will be used for today, but you’ll also want to consider future plans. As the kids grow, will it be easy to transform that arts and crafts nook into a movie room? If it’s a large space, are there ways that you can divide it to create different areas of enjoyment for everyone in the family? Be practical and be sure to take measurements. There’s no use buying a regulation pool table or having a custom bar made if you can’t fit it through the door!

Once you have an idea of your layout, my next step would be to evaluate the moisture situation. Because basements are underground and most have cement walls, they are generally damp, dark places that can attract mold. If you get water in your basement after a big rain storm, you’ll want to have that taken care of before any remodeling work starts. You don’t want to be dealing with flooding after a new carpet has just been installed and you definitely don’t want your kids spending their snow days in a place that’s festering with mildew.

Another thing to think about is your mechanical systems. It’s expensive to rewire and move around furnaces and hot water systems, so try to design around them. If it’s not possible, be prepared to factor the plumbing and wiring work into your overall budget.

If you’re starting from scratch and need to build walls and ceilings, it’s important to note that the materials you use may be different than the ones on the floors above. Assuming the basement is dry, you’ll want to make sure to insulate it before installing any drywall. You’ll also want to inspect any pipes for leaks or condensation before covering them up. Sealing gaps, insulating pipes, and waterproofing any potential problem areas before you start your framing will make your life a whole lot easier than having to deal with an issue once your walls are up.

That’s all for this week, but check back in next Friday when we’ll talk about insider tips and pitfalls to avoid when creating the rec room of your dreams.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit Advice is for guidance only.