Is the family expanding and in need of an extra bedroom? Want to add a modern home theatre or do your teens want to have a cool hang-out place with their friends? Renovating a basement is likely the ideal solution for any of these needs and also spares yourself a move. However, before undertaking this type of renovation, there are several important points to consider.
What needs to be checked before starting a basement renovation?
Most newer homes have basements in relatively good shape that require fewer modifications than pre-1950 homes. If your house is on the older side, it’s critical to ask yourself the following questions:
Is the current space safe?
- Check for any water infiltration, cracks in the foundation, mold or other environmental factors such as asbestos.
- Is there an exterior French drain and, if so, what shape is it in?
- What’s the condition of the concrete floor?
- If there are ventilation ducts and pipes in the ceiling, are they exposed or hidden above a suspended ceiling?
What is the municipal regulation for the layout of one or several rooms?
- Required window dimension, minimal height for ceiling, etc.
- What will be the finished height, once the ceiling, floor and subfloor are installed? Is this sufficient? If not, is it worthwhile to dig to add more height?
What is the basement’s accessibility?
- Does the exterior exit, if existing, need to be modified? Oftentimes the doors tend to be low—several feet off the ground—and accessible by concrete steps on the inside (which isn’t helpful if the door in question leads into a room you want to renovate).
- If the space is not accessible from the upper floor, will you need to install a staircase?
- If you’re planning to install a bathroom, in what shape is the plumbing, and is it easily accessible?
- Get more information on access safety on the CAA Québec website.
Depending on the scope of work involved, these factors can have a major impact on the decision to renovate a basement or to simply move.
If you elect to stay and increase your living space, you want to have the work done according to industry standards and regulations, in order to get the most out of the renovation.
If it’s well done, a basement renovation can have a significant impact on your property value, which is why we strongly recommend turning to the professionals to get the renovation job done.
Maximize use of your space
When it comes to a basement renovation, it’s important to plan out the space so you can get the most out of it, while taking into account constraints of any fixed elements, such as the exterior exit, the staircase, and the furnace room with concrete walls.
A sound plan will allow you to evaluate several options and pick the best one.
Use good materials
In the case of high humidity levels, you want to be sure, for instance, to choose a flooring that will be less affected by this condition. In other words, engineered wood versus hardwood. Spray polyurethane foam insulation versus mineral wool. A honeycomb membrane beneath the subfloor can help in the case of minor water leaks.
Be sure to insulate and soundproof
If you’re redoing all the ceilings and walls, now is a good time to rethink insulation and soundproofing. This can translate into a considerable drop in your electricity bill while boosting your comfort. In certain cases, such modifications while installing the new concrete slab can reduce humidity levels coming from the ground.
In short, this unused space can greatly improve your quality of life by providing more room and storage. It can also prove lucrative if you’re creating a new dwelling in the process, provided you get the okay from your municipality.
For more ideas, don’t hesitate to check out our previous article on basement layout.