Leave basement renovations to the professionals!


Basements of past decades have traditionally been used as recreation rooms. Today’s basement is much more and can be converted to almost any household space desired. Houses are now very rarely built with crawl spaces, so newer basements are roomier and allows for multiple usage in a single basement. For example, there may be a bedroom, washroom, tv room, home office and a gym in one basement.

The decision is all up to you to choose how the space will be utilized. Yet, basement renovations are not for amateurs. Be aware that all the mechanical, electrical and water supplies are generally located in the basement. Therefore, these should not be modified or moved by someone who was not trained to do so. In addition, proper access would need to be provided for future maintenance of these items. Prior to finishing a basement, it is advisable to review any future modifications of the upper levels that may require access to the basement. Interconnecting the smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors using hard wired models throughout the house, would be a good first step when performing basement renovations.


Many people prefer drop ceiling in the basement to allow flexibility for future access. Yet drywall ceiling is a cheaper choice and provides better fire rating security between floors. Drywall ceiling also allows for better headroom, especially in basements with heights of 8 feet or less. It is generally better to use a 5/8 inch drywall to provide better fire separation. You may also consider sound proof insulation in your ceiling to reduce noise levels between floors. Sufficient access panels should be provided for electrical, water valves and manual dampers in the ductwork.

Our team can help you to plan your basement layout to maximize space and to make proper usage of the existing windows. In addition, if a basement apartment is being planned, you may need to provide at least one egress window. An egress window is one that is large enough for someone to escape through during an emergency, such as fire. It should also be in a location that is easily accessible and should be easy to open thoroughly. Generally, a 30 inch x 30 inch window with both panes either being removable or tilting in would be the minimum requirement. If such a window is not already available, one may have to be built using a steel lintel and a window well.

A basement apartment also requires fire rated doors with self closures separating the apartment with other parts of the house, including the furnace room. The City would also have other criteria for basement apartments, such as parking, entry doors, sufficient windows for each room and laundry facilities.

Since a basement apartment would need to have a stove and possibly a washer and dryer, our team would need to review your electrical panel capacity. In many cases, the panel and sometimes the meter base may need to be upgraded to handle the heavier load on the electrical system.

If the house does not already have central air, you may want to consider installing one prior to finishing the basement or to at least provide a rough in, so that you will have access to install one at a later date. The same may be said for central vac, extra cable connections to the upstairs or home theatre wiring.

Basement external walls need to have a properly installed vapor barrier, sufficient insulation and the use of tuck tape to keep it all sealed. Improperly done basement walls can cause mold buildup which is adverse to your family’s health. Sufficient electrical, cable and phone outlets should be installed prior to installing the drywall.

Laminate or tiles are the favored choices of basement flooring material. Hardwood can be installed but with additional cost and difficulty. For children’s playrooms, soft foam or carpet may be better choices. Yet many people may tile or laminate the entire floor then use the foam on the top. This way when the kids grow up, they only have to discard the removable foam pieces as opposed to changing the floor again. Whatever the flooring choice it is always important to choose a proper subfloor to reduce coldness and moisture.

Adding a washroom to the basement can be a time consuming and laborious task if the rough in was not previously done. This would involve breaking of the concrete floor, installing sub-floor plumbing, then repairing the concrete floor prior to building the washroom. This would explain why the basement cost would increase when a washroom is added. When installing the shower valve, try to get it installed on an interior wall. That way there is easier access to repair or replace it in the future. This of course would also impact whether a left or right handed bathtub is needed.

For lower headrooms, recessed or pot lights are a necessity. These are also the lighting of choice for most basements. They are very modern, and provide sufficient lighting while maintaining elegance. Please discuss with our team as to whether or not the basement ceiling would have enough room to install the housing for recessed lighting. These can be bulky and require a fair amount of room for installation. Smaller models are available but come at a higher price. Cove lighting is also very stylish for a basement but does not provide as much light and requires more structural preparation.

Choosing the correct paint colour is also important in the basement. Basements generally have less natural light than other rooms in the home, so it is important to use lighter or brighter colours when painting basement rooms. Keep in mind that darker colours absorb light and lighter colours reflect light. Choose paint with the mood of the room in mind. When painting a kids play area, use colours that are soothing and still bright, such as light blue. For an entertainment area choose a more artsy, sexy look. To accomplish this, accent one of the walls using a darker shade of red. To achieve a friendlier, fun look use a brighter shade of orange.

Take a look at our Design pages to get better ideas for your Basement renovation. New ideas would be added to our site periodically, so if you do not see what you are looking for please return at a later date for more options.

Our project managers are very experienced in basements; they can provide helpful advice and guidance in creating the perfect space for your family. Ask about designing a side or back entrance to your basement.