Is it Worthwhile to Finish a Basement?

When owning a house there is always focus placed on the upper levels of the home. Now we’re turning the tables and talking about the lower floor, the basement! There’s a lot of considerations you need to take when considering fixing up the basement.

We spoke with Brendan Charters the co-owner of Eurodale Developments (find them on houzz here) to learn more about finishing a basement. “In an urban environment like Toronto, every square foot is so expensive from a land value perspective,” says Brendan, “It’s a way to add living space to the main house,” he adds. Before you start any renovation or home project it is always good practice to follow these tips straight form Brendan himself!

Why do you want to finish your basement?

When finishing your basement it’s easy to get lost on Pinterest or in a design magazine when looking for inspiration. It’s in your best interest to take a step back and really think about what finishing this basement would do for you. Here are some reasons we discussed with Brendan:

  • A second income: finish the basement and rent it out! This helps with affording property in the city that might otherwise be too expensive.
  • An extra bedroom: whether it is for kids when they come home from university, a live in nanny, or extra space to host guests, it’s a definite bonus!
  • Create a separate entrance: having more entrances will make the basement more private. You won’t have to go through the main living area to access it.
  • More recreational space: kids play time, or movie time might disrupt the main living space. Placing this all downstairs will keep your main rooms less hectic.
  • Need an at home office: separate your living space from your working space.
  • More wine storage: impress your guests with the latest vintages in your very own wine cellar.
  • Extra livable space = increase in house value!

Finished BasementWhat is your budget?

Next on the list is how much money are you willing to invest on this project. It’s easy to outline the above and have an idea of what you want going into a project but making sure it’s all within a budget is incredibly important. Talking to an expert builder or renovator will help you with determining what a good budget is, and will help determine with you what is doable within your price range.

Is your basement water tight?

This is one of the most important considerations when deciding whether or not to finish a basement. It is usually something you can check for to see if there has been any water damage in the past. Check for staining on concrete or the foundation. Brendan advises that it’s best to fix this problem on the exterior of the home. There are some interior water fixing solutions but ultimately water will still be getting in which isn’t good. “Degradation of the foundation is something you want to avoid given that it’s what supports your whole house [if] the foundation starts to break down, water gets in easier,” explains Brendan. It can be a costly task but is usually necessary when attempting to finish a basement.

How much head space do you currently have?

A lot of old houses were not made with the intention of being turned into a living space which means that there might not be enough head space to meet Ontario’s Building Code. This results in a larger issue where you will need to meet code in order to actually finish the basement. This is another time where it is essential to have an expert contractor that can help you determine what your best options are.

What does your basement look like right now?

Get a head start and take a step into the basement to investigate what is required of you for this project inspect for moisture damage. Check how much head space is currently available, look for where any electrical/plumbing or other mechanical spaces are and see if it will inconvenience the project.

Go the extra step! Do the research.

It is always a timely task but definitely needed, read more about basements here. If you’re looking for a second opinion you can always get in touch with Brendan’s company Eurodale or come visitDestination Renovation at the GTA Home & Reno Show and meet a renovator or builder face to face! Each image below links directly to a different basement project Eurodale completed.

 

This post was produced in collaboration with Toronto Home Shows.