Do you avoid your basement?

Basements account for so much of the square footage of our homes but so many people don’t utilize this great space. Just think, if you have a bungalow, you could almost double your usable living space by finishing your basement! Relatively speaking, basement renovations are non-invasive (compared to say, a kitchen or bathroom renovation). Since you are already avoiding the area you won’t be so impacted by the tradespeople in your home.

 

Basement bathroom with tub

Basement bathroom with tub

That said, there are some very important things to consider before jumping into a basement renovation. It’s important to take a look at your City’s requirements for permits and safety features. You will most likely need to obtain a building permit which lets the City make sure that everything you are doing is safe and up to current building codes. You will also need permits for any plumbing and electrical work, if you hire professional plumbers and electricians they should include for the cost of these permits in their quote.

 

The most important safety features that your basement needs are:

  1. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These need to be in each bedroom, and also in a “hallway” within 5m of each bedroom door. In Alberta, these also need to be “interlocked” with your detectors throughout the rest of your house. This means that if you have a fire in your basement in the middle of the night, your alarm will go off upstairs to make sure that you wake up in time to get out!

  2. Speaking of getting out of the house, you will need egress windows. Egress windows are windows that are large enough for a person to get out during an emergency. Most newer homes already have basements equipped with egress windows, but in older homes you will need to cut the concrete foundation to install a larger window and a window well.

 

So now comes the most important factor - how much will your basement renovation cost?? While square footage prices are not the best, it’s an easy way to get the ball rolling until you know exactly what you are wanting in your basement. A very basic basement will cost at least $40/sq.ft. assuming that all of the plumbing is exactly where you want it, and that there are already egress windows installed. If you are looking for extras like a customized bathroom with steam shower, a home theatre, a wet bar, etc that cost will increase exponentially. Like any home project the budget is very easy to increase, because who doesn’t want a wet bar in their basement?

 

Basement living room with built ins

Basement living room with built ins

Planning is essential to sticking to your budget! By knowing exactly what you want before construction starts you will drastically cut down on the number of change orders (aka extra costs) throughout the project. Good planning also ensures that materials are available when you need them, which helps keep everything on schedule - some tiles can easily take 3 months to arrive, which means that they should be ordered long before anything else starts! There are a tonne of little decisions to be made throughout your basement renovation. Let me help you get through the process and make it as easy as possible for you!

 

So how would you utilize this awesome new space in your home? Man cave? Kid cave? Home office? Home gym? Home theatre? The possibilities are endless!