A basement renovation is a popular home improvement project. Not only can this renovation provide some much-needed additional living and storage space, but it can also significantly increase the value of your home. eieihome spoke with Andrew Bridi, owner of On Centre Design Build, a custom home builder and renovator in the GTA, for his tips on what to consider before tackling your basement reno.
Decide how you want to use the space
Before starting a renovation, consider your family’s needs for now and in the future. Do you want an open family room with plenty of storage space? Do you need a guest bedroom, a bathroom, or perhaps a small kitchen that will allow you to rent out your basement in the future? The function of your basement will help your contractor determine the best layout to maximize both space and budget.
Consider your budget
As a general rule, Bridi recommends homeowners estimate $30 per square foot as a starting point. This includes the cost of perimeter walls, carpeting, drywall and simple light fixtures. Additional retrofits such as a bathroom, a bar or a fireplace will increase the budget.
Reach for the top
If you live in an older home, you may be limited by low ceiling heights. Digging out the basement to add height is one option to create a more functional living space, though Bridi warns this is a very expensive process, costing $50,000 – $80,000 for the excavation and underpinning.
Check for moisture problems
Before beginning a basement renovation, examine foundation walls and floors, looking for signs of excess moisture, and repair any cracks that could cause trouble down the road. “You want to make sure that the basement is watertight before you do any work on the inside,” says Bridi. If you live in an area that has experienced flooding, installing a backflow preventer is a good safety measure to make sure city water doesn’t flow back into your basement.
Consider electrical needs
Do you want to set up a home theatre system in your basement with a state of the art sound system? Be sure to talk to your contractor about where you want to position electronics before any walls are put up. “You don’t want to have to start cutting holes in the drywall in order to get wiring into the areas of the basement where you need it,” says Bridi.
For more information on home renovations, read eieihome’s story on 5 Aspects of a Kitchen Renovation that Affect Price.