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Basement Renovation Guide

Basement Renovation Guide

Renovation guideBasement Renovation Guide

Being able to enjoy a cozy basement free of cold floors is probably something you have been dreaming of. If not, should you happen to have an unfinished basement, the possibility of converting this area into a livable space is probably at the forefront of your mind.

In any case, properly carrying out the first steps of your basement renovation will ensure the durability of the work that will be undertaken, which is why it is always a good idea to be well-informed beforehand! Here are 5 key points to consider when renovating your basement.

Basement Renovations: 5 Key Points

1) Waterproofing the foundations

First things first, make sure that there is no water ingress that could lead to mould growth. Therefore, it is highly recommended to perform a waterproofing inspection to ensure that the foundations are properly sealed. Thus, ensuring that your French drain is properly functioning is essential to prevent any basement water infiltration. Should it be faulty, have it repaired before starting any renovation work. Also, click here to learn more about installing a French drain.

Any cracks will also need to be carefully repaired to prevent any water seepage in the basement. Note that a vertical crack less than 3.2 millimetres wide can be fixed by homeowners using hydraulic cement, which is a product that is available in most hardware stores. However, a horizontal crack or a crack larger than 3.2 millimetres requires the assistance of a contractor to be properly repaired.

basement renovations_basement renovation guide: starting point

2) Basement wall insulation

While both fibreglass and rock fibre insulation were commonly used quite some years ago, these are no longer recommended. Instead, opt for extruded polystyrene insulation panels or spray-applied polyurethane foam, both of which are mould resistant.

Note that ceiling insulation can be left by the wayside, after all, numerous devices within the ceiling act as a barrier against heat loss. Therefore, prioritize wall and floor insulation. A well-insulated floor requires a subfloor, regardless of the flooring material selected

Remember to insulate your hot and cold water pipes. And, speaking of which, note that insulating the water heater considerably increases its energy efficiency (by about 20%). Also, insulating cold water pipes should not be overlooked as it prevents condensation from damaging the structural materials located near the pipes.

Are you planning on renovating your basement in the near future? Check out our article Checklist of the Steps to Follow: Basement Renovation Project

basement family-friendly space_basement renovation guide: starting point

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3) Radon gas

As defined by the Government of Canada, radon is “a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rock. It is invisible, odourless and tasteless.” Given that your renovation project has yet to be underway and that any air infiltration points in contact with the ground have not yet been sealed, radon may have insidiously entered your basement.

To ensure that the radon gas levels do not exceed 200 becquerels per square foot (maximum acceptable level), Health Canada recommends purchasing a DIY radon test kit or seeking professional help in testing radon levels.

For more information, check out our article about radon and the appropriate measures to rectify elevated radon gas levels in your basement. 

basement staircase_basement renovation guide: starting point

4) Check valve maintenance

The check valve is a round trap located in the basement, and it is designed to prevent municipal sewers from backflowing into your home's drainage system. This device should be cleaned on a regular basis, but especially before starting any work, as it could be damaged in the event of a liquid/gas backup. Thus, it is essential to clean the flap gate and thoroughly check the gasket for leaks.

5) Ceiling height

For a basement to be considered livable space, ceilings must be at least 6 feet high. Note that some municipalities may require ceilings to be 6.8 feet to issue a building permit.

Also, note that a forced-air ventilation system is highly recommended for basement use. This ventilation method releases clean, preheated air into the basement, thus limiting the need for space heating. 

For more information about the subject matter, check out our article: Standard Basement Ceiling Height

Are you looking for more information in regard to your basement? Check out these articles: 

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Last modified 2024-04-17

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