What You Need to Expect for Your Basement Renovation in The GTA
The potential for unfinished basements is endless! All you need is a vision and the right construction company to help you make it happen.
When you have a fully finished house, not only does it give you more livable space to work with, but it increases the value of your home. You can turn your unfinished and unutilized space into an office, family space, or even a rental opportunity. One thing you need to keep in mind if you are in the GTA is that your basement renovation might be affected by the humid and freezing weather that we have around here. It can be a problem and mess with your new investment.
When you are ready to begin your renovation project, Home Renovation Plus has come up with this guide to help you with your starting point on what you should expect for your major renovation project.
One of the first things you need to assess is if the ceiling height is adequate enough to turn it into a livable space or whatever it is that you want to do with your basement. The best height for a ceiling is 8 feet but 7 feet can do without it feeling too low. A lot of older houses throughout the GTA do not have very tall ceilings in the lower portion of the home. When they were built, most of them were not supposed to be used as a living space, so the ceiling height is considerably low. However, now, you have the ability to underpin your home to make it deeper. Allowing the foundation to be extended deeper into the ground, which allows for higher ceilings.
Keeping Your Basement Water Tight
There are so many homes, especially in older ones, that have water leaking into them and mold. If your basement is suffering from this, before you start renovating your basement in Richmond Hill, you need to fix all the issues leading to water leakage and moisture in it. If you are having underpinning being done, these issues can easily be addressed and fixed during this process.
Outside of your home is where the process starts. You need to make sure that the ground around your house is sloping down and away from your house foundation. Your downspouts will also need to be extended at least 6 feet from the base of your house. You should also be inspecting your downspouts regularly to ensure that they are properly cleared out, allowing proper water drainage. Confirming that the foundation drainage system is working correctly, this will ensure that any excess moisture is being removed from the soil surrounding your house. When your drainage system is not properly maintained, it will not keep moisture out of your basement. Luckily, the system can be redone or you can replace it with a new one. This new one can be added to the inside bases of the footings by the foundation. Another solution for this can be a sump pump.
Additionally, in order to keep moisture out, your walls will need to be properly waterproofed. You can do this when your drainage system is done. When your moisture issue is properly dealt with, you will not need to use a humidifier.
When the lovely weather in the GTA hits, it can cause you to get water leaks, even when you didn’t have them before. What happens is that in the spring, when the ground and ice thaw, it can cause small cracks that you have in your foundation to grow enough that water can now get into your basement. If you have any cracks in your foundation, they need to be addressed and dealt with by properly sealing them, which will prevent them from turning into a big problem.
The Basic Considerations for Your Basement
As soon as you have any water issued under control, now you can start on your work with all the various fixtures and basic utility elements you have chosen in your design.
Insulation and Walls
Usually, if you have an unfinished basement, the walls will be either brick, cement, or block. You will then need to install the proper barriers in order to keep moisture out and before you finish the walls. This is a critical step in the process. If any moisture gets in during the wall assembly, it needs to be able to dry on the inside of the wall without creating mold. Additionally, any warm moist air from the finished drywall needs to be prevented from getting to the cold masonry wall. In order to prevent this, it is important to use a drainage plane and rigid insulation against the masonry. Doing this will help prevent a vapor barrier on the warm side of the space with the insulation. If dampness enters through the masonry, it will end up being trapped in the wall. You can build steel or wool studs for the wall that can have paneling or drywall attached.
Another choice you have is to add additional walls in order to partition the space. These walls allow you to easily run electrical wiring and they also provide a more efficient temperature control for your space.
Exactly like your walls, you are going to need to install a moisture protection barrier before you finish the floors. You can put in a vapor barrier under the sleeper grid, which is 2×4’s on their side, then apply a plywood subfloor. This is also where you can put your rigid insulation, between the floors. Another choice you have is to utilize a subfloor panel system with a water-resistant 2×2 inch Dricore floor that will keep it dry.
When you have the protection down, you are able to pick from the different types of flooring available, specifically for your new space. This can be things like vinyl tile, ceramic, engineered wood, or sheet flooring.
The existing structure of your basement ceiling and its height will dictate what type of ceiling options you have. For instance, in older homes, it is most likely that the plumbing is below the joists, meaning that you will need a dropped ceiling in order to accommodate the needed space. You can use either drywall or tiles for this.
For newer homes, you will be able to attach your ceiling directly to the joints. Your simple option is to choose wall paneling or drywall. For a modernist look, you can also decide to keep a few beams or pipes exposed and paint over them.
Cooling and Heating
If the bottom level of your house is really cold, chances are that no one is going to want to spend time down there. Therefore, you are going to need a HVAC system put in to regulate the temperature so that it is a pleasant temperature down there at all times. To do this, you will need to hire a professional to come and assess if your current unit has the ability to heat and cool your basement. If the answer is yes, it can, then all you will have to get done is extending the ductwork done around the area.
However, if your current HVAC cannot support this and it is inaccessible or if getting a whole new system just isn’t in the budget, do not worry because there are other options for you. One alternative is getting electric heaters and installing them at floor level to use during the legendary cold Canadian winters. Another option is to get several mini-split A/C units that can both heat and cool the space.
Making sure that the lower levels of your house are properly lit is very important. Lighting has the ability to make or break how livable a space is. Having windows in your basement is a great way to let natural light in. It is also a legal requirement to have in case of an emergency exit.
Adding lights in a lower level of a house can be limited due to the wiring and allotted space. One of the most common lights for a basement are pot lights. These have a low profile, meaning that they do not stick out of the ceiling much, making low ceilings easier to work with. They also use LED lights. Another option is track lights. Both are easily installed. The distribution of your lights is important in order to keep your whole space well lit.
How We Can Help
When you want to finish a basement, it can be costly. To give you an idea, on average, the cost can be anywhere from $50/square foot, if you decide to do DIY. Or if you choose to go with a professional contractor, it can be about $125/square foot. So, unless you are experienced in construction and building codes, we would not recommend a DIY project. When you work with experienced contractors at Home Renovation Plus, you are guaranteed to get the best results and within your budget! Our team has many years of experience under their belt and will be able to complete your basement renovation project in Richmond Hill quickly, efficiently, and professionally. If you are interested in our amazing services, give us a call today to 416-887-4858! You can also check out our website for more information!