Q: My husband and I are considering finishing the basement in our circa 1950 cape cod. I had read that the ceiling clearance must be at least 7 feet in New Jersey. We measured the height to the support beams (I believe that is what they are called…) and it’s just about 6 feet-8 to 9 inches. It’s higher to the actual floor boards. Does this mean we can’t finish the basement to code without lowering the floor in the basement (i.e., digging deeper)? Thanks!

Katie Puniello
Metuchen, NJ

A: Ceiling height for new construction has to be a minimum 82 inches. The permit for your basement will be written under the rehab code. There is no minimum ceiling height written under that code. Your Twp. could ask you to file for a variance. The paperwork is easy to fill out. The contractor you chose to have the work done with should be able to provide you with the information necessary to fill out the form.