Posted on March 12th, 2010
Many of our clients renovate to upgrade their homes as a result of wear and tear over the years. Others choose to transform unused spaces into additional living area, like basement suites or secondary suites. Whether you are considering a home theatre system or an adaptable living space (for growing families), renovating your unfinished/out-dated basement can create extra space and improve comfort for your growing family.
Before you hire a contractor, have a plan! Think about how you want to use your basement and what needs should be met. While you’re at it, think about how you can increase your usable space and reduce renovation costs at the same time. Consider opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of your home. Things like proper insulation, caulking and air-sealing can make your home more comfortable and reduce the need for energy consumption throughout the year.
Lighting is often difficult to achieve in basements but an experienced renovator will be able to offer practical solutions. You can enlarge existing windows or add new one, but be sure to check code requirements before you get too excited.
Many basements pose structural challenges like supporting posts in the middle of an open area or floors that are too low for proper connection of bathroom fixtures to municipal sewer line. Depending on the site, it may be necessary to open the concrete floor for plumbing, etc. Your contractor should be able to identify these problems and provided solutions.
Moisture and air quality are common issues in basements and should be addressed before going ahead with the renovation work. A separate exhaust fan or heat recovery ventilator may be necessary for proper ventilation & improved indoor air quality.
If you are planning an entertainment room in your basement, then consider sound-proofing or sound-dampening solutions to minimize noise transfer to other areas of the house.
Other things to consider are storage space (make sure you have enough room for it). While you are at it, consider updating your laundry room at the same time (it’s more cost effective to do it all at one, than to have your contractor return later down the road). Consider a two-piece bathroom for the added convenience. If you are planning to do more renovations down the road, consider roughing in wiring/plumbing now while your walls are open so you don’t have to deal with the added cost of upgrading later down the road.
Here is our latest basement renovation: