Bring Outdoor Light Into Your Basement

Bring Outdoor Light Into Your Basement

Natural light is often in short supply in basements unless you do something about it. That’s why you need to pay attention to strategies for maximizing brightness. You’ll get some ideas on this topic later in this section. Don’t just hope your basement will be bright enough when you’re done, make it that way. You need to be proactive about doing more than most people do to bring light into your basement. It’ll really pay off. Basement certainly don’t have to be dark and dingy these days.

Sunlight Tunnels

Sold under different names such as Solatube and Sun Tunnel, these are like big fibre-optic cables for your home. Instead of an actual cable, sunlight tunnels are 12” to 16” diameter sheet metal tubes with a very shiny inner surface. Light enters through a clear rooftop cover, then travels down to a ceiling-mounted lens. Sunlight tunnels can be bent or angled as they travel down and they’ll still work.  It’s like a tubular mirror.

Can sunlight tunnels help a basement? Yes, absolutely. If you’ve got a closet space on your first floor, consider punching through the roof above the closet, then installing a sunlight tunnel underneath and leading down into the basement. The best sunlight tunnels include an electric light fixture built right in to provide light at night.

Large Windows & Doors

Of course egress windows are larger than typical basement windows so people can get out of them in an emergency (that’s what egress means), but they also they let in more sunlight. You might consider installing more than one egress window to boost light levels in darker areas of your basement. Also, any exterior door you choose for an outside entrance should have a window with a screen in at least the top half. Besides letting in more light, windows and doors that can open are a big benefit when temperature and humidity conditions are right for ventilation. There’s nothing like fresh air when it’s the right kind.

Interior Wall Locations

This is important, but often overlooked. As you plan your interior partition walls, keep in mind how wall location will affect the spread of natural light throughout the basement. All else being equal, fewer walls and wider doorway openings mean that whatever sunlight gets into your basement can penetrate further into other rooms. Wall placement really makes a big difference. Don’t forget to simulate the effect of walls with sheets of plywood or OSB. Stand them up here and there at the planning stages to see how different wall locations affect the brightness and feeling of basement rooms.