How to get the most out of a basement renovation’s extra square footage.

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More evolved than rec rooms of years past, today’s basements are being transformed into any imaginable setting: home office, gym, bedroom, family room, laundry room, kitchen — the possibilities are endless.

As with any renovation, planning is crucial. Before starting a basement reno, be sure you have a strong, well-thought-out plan in hand before beginning the transformation. Since most homes’ mechanical systems, plumbing pipes and electrical wiring are found in the basement, consider hiring professionals to help you ready the space for its makeover.

Ceiling

Once you’ve ensured that your plan addresses adequate storage, lighting, electrical and data needs, discuss what type of ceiling to install with your builder. If your basement has a ceiling height of less than eight feet, finishing off the ceiling with painted Gyprock or sheetrock is a good option, but requires the installation of access panels to pipes, wires and plumbing for any repairs that may be required.

If your basement’s ceiling height is more than 8 feet, consider installing a suspended ceiling. Functional and attractive, a suspended ceiling consists of a grid that is installed to cover and hang from the existing ceiling. Grids are available in a range of colours or can be concealed with decorative strips. The ceiling panels, typically measuring 24” x 24”, are set inside each square of the grid, forming a dropped ceiling that allows for access to wires and pipes behind. Panels that mimic the look of tin, beadboard, and gypsum board are available and can easily be matched to the style of your space.

Lighting

Lighting is an important consideration in a basement renovation, as these areas are typically dark, dim spaces. Recessed lighting is one of the most widely used and effective fixtures on the market. Paired with ambient lighting, recessed lights brighten a room without taking up floor space. However, recessed or pot light fixtures require more space for installation above the finished ceiling. Be sure to have your contractor or electrician check that you have enough height above the ceiling to accommodate the can part of the fixture (the smaller the can, the more expensive the fixture). If the height of your basement ceiling does not allow for recessed lighting, wall sconces are another suitable option, while table and floor lamps can be situated almost anywhere in the room, providing there is an outlet nearby (be sure to include numerous outlets in the design of the space).

Storage

Built-in storage always looks sophisticated, saves space and can further add to the function of your new room. Always try to plan for the maximum amount of storage possible: from drawers carved out under the stairs, to built-in shelving and closets — one can simply never have enough.

Trim and Moulding

Inject character into your new basement living area by adding architectural details found in the rest of your house like wainscoting, crown moulding and baseboards but be sure to design these to scale. For example, 36” high wainscoting will look more appropriate with a basement’s lower ceilings than the standard 42” height variety.

Flooring

Consider the function of your renovated basement when choosing flooring for the space: a playroom will benefit from a soft floor made from play mats or carpet while laminate or hardwood flooring will add warmth to a guest bedroom. Since basements are moisture-prone, be sure to prepare its sub-floor before installing whatever type of flooring you have chosen for the space.

Have A Question?

Frequently Asked Questions?

If you decide to tear down and build new you will be subject to new set-back bylaws that could mean your home will have to be smaller or not situated on the lot the same as the original home.

Typically renovations can be less expensive than building new, but this depends on the type of upgrades you choose and how much you decide to renovate. You may start out with a budget to renovate the kitchen and bathrooms but later decide to include living spaces which will increase your budget depending on the quality of upgrades.

When choosing to renovate or build new look ahead 10-15 years. Is your family size going to change? Do you plan on living in the home for the next 30-50 years? A quality renovation and proactive design and planning could make this your forever home or a great investment.

The Innovative Group is here to advise you on whether a renovation or new build is your best choice. Our knowledge and experience in the construction industry gives us the ability to help you understand how your decision will affect your home’s current and future values in the local market.

This depends on the size of the renovation. Many large renovations can be done room by room, but this could leave you without a kitchen or bathroom for a period of time. An unoccupied home allows for a faster completion timeline.

The Innovative Group strives to be as discrete and non-invasive as possible. We pride ourselves on having professional, efficient and respectful trades and staff.

Cost is always dependent on many factors but The Innovative Group will work closely with you to work within your budget.

It’s important to agree upon a scope of work and how you want to handle unexpected costs. We use transparent billing and open communication to ensure spending is on track.
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We are here to help you understand how long projects could take. Working with a designer, an architect, an engineer and applying for city permits can take a few months but if you involve your builder from the beginning we can help lay out a timeline and schedule.

We recommended consulting a designer once you’ve decided what work you want to do. They can help you decide if a renovation is worthwhile based on your needs. Designers will create sketches and plans based on your input and ensure you have included all the required details.

We work closely with engineers, interior designers and architects to ensure your project is of the highest quality and meets all your expectations and needs.

All our project sites have liability insurance for the construction work being done. We recommend you notify your home insurer about the work you are having done including the scope and timeline. Also, check our detailed post about “The Ultimate Guide to Renovation Insurance

Our relationship and knowledge of city hall means we can arrange all the required permits and inspections for your project accurately and efficiently.

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