What to Know Before You Finish Your Basement: Tips and Tricks

GTA Homeowners know that the perfect remedy to an undersized home is often sitting right beneath you in the form of your unfinished basement. Spreading out and making more room is as easy as putting in walls, floors, and lights. Except it’s not as easy as it sounds. Transforming your unused basement space into a new living space takes a lot of planning, and requires coordination and time. Since a basement renovation is a costly project, take the time to make sure that you do it correctly, and avoid making mistakes that can set you back in both money and time spent. Here are the tips and tricks you need to know before you finish your basement:

  1. Never skip the necessary permits: You may be tempted to simply go ahead and renovate, since all work will be happening downstairs and out of sight anyway. While you don’t need to apply for building permits if you’re merely renovating in most areas, certain spots have rules regarding finishing of previously unfinished interiors. As the expanded living space will likely incur extra taxes, you risk getting fined heavily if you get caught. Similarly, you might be forced to tear down the project and rebuild it with the proper permits. Even if you avoid these eventualities the possibility of your selling the home is lowered, as many buyers will avoid purchases without official certification. Don’t skip the permits, it’s worth filling in the paperwork if only to avoid future problems.

  2. Invest in headroom: A basement should have at least 7 feet of headroom, as designated by most building codes. If you have less, you may need to relocate pipes or ducts to make do with the minimum. Check your local requirements to make sure you have the necessary clearance.
  3. Moisture management is a must: In Canada, moisture is a real problem for many homeowners and unmanaged moisture is the number one issue in a basement. When let to run rampant, moisture can lead to mould, rot and unwanted reparations you’d rather avoid. Before building, invest in a proper drainage system is your basement is prone to moisture. A good investment is a sump-pump, a backup- battery to protect you in the case of power outages, and good drainage systems. All of this will prevent cracks in the foundation, floor and wall rot, mould and clogged gutters. Even with these safeguards, mould can be a huge problem. In order to really ensure the longevity of your basement, avoid using natural materials such as wood studs, plywood, drywall and wooden elements. Instead, opt for fiberglass, plastics and metals. A good way to reduce excess humidity is to install heavy-gauge plastic sheeting before finishing walls and floors. This way, you ensure your basement will stay cool and dry.
  4. Noise control is important: One of the positives of having a living space in the basement is that it allows for a quieter space in which you can work or spend time together with family. Capitalize on this by reducing overhead noise and insulating the ceiling using fiberglass or stone wool insulation. This will prevent noise reaching the main floors from the basement and vice versa.
  5. New products are beneficial to your project: With a variety of new products on the market, we recommend shopping around for building materials which offer unique solutions to issues that you may encounter. Don’t be afraid of trying products which your contractor has not used before, so long as you do research before.

    Interested in a Basement Renovation in GTA, Toronto or York Region?

    Give us a Call: 416-877-7670


Moose Basements is a GTA based firm specializing in basement renovations. Having served the area for over 15 years, our company has wide and varied experience in finishing and renovation. With our expertized and dedicated teams, we will make your interior stand out from the rest. We offer basement design, finishing, renovation, remodelling and construction services throughout the GTA and York region.  We are WSIB Insured and Liability covered and offer competitive prices. Give us a call today for a free quote.