Basement Contractor

Before the 1960’s a basement was thought of as a glorified root cellar in sections. There was a large space used for things that could not fit into the garage and another for the potatoes and canned goods. The third part might be for coal or sawdust storage because many Canadian homes had furnaces that burned these fuels.

Remodelled Basement

Oil and natural gas changed the basement, first by freeing up the fuel storage space. Gas came to the furnace in copper lines and oil tanks were usually stored outside so this meant that almost 1/3 of the basement was free for other uses. Many homeowners began to think of the basement as an extension of the upstairs and this blossomed in the 1970’s.

The one problem that plagued basement remodeling was moisture. To deal with this many contractors simply sealed the wall with plastic and then put up studs and that signature wall product of the 1970’s – wallboard. New shag carpets meant for concrete were glued right down on the floor and a for a few years the basement was a cozy living space. However, when basements began to smell musty the ideal living space became a musty dungeon.

Today basement contractors are specialized renovators. Before turning the basement into livable space they will examine the space and take moisture tests with a hygrometer. If the basement has been finished before their job may be easier because the studs and electrical can, in most cases, be used again. If there is visible moisture they will have to “follow the water.” This means that they may have to take everything out and start again. And this will mean fixing the foundation either by injecting filler into any leaking cracks or excavating outside the exterior of the walls and putting in a waterproofing membrane and a gravel fill.

Utilities

Before any walls can be built a plan of the basement should be in order so that the basement contractor will know where the utilities will go. The benefit of basement remodeling is that most of the utilities are close at hand. In most homes the electrical panel is in the basement and the water and sewer drains are in the space so it’s just a matter of planning where the rooms will go and

Interior Walls

In our climate any concrete basement wall will have to be insulated. The easiest way to do this is to frame the wall and fill the centers with either fiberglass or foam insulation. Fiberglass is cheaper but foam will resist any moisture that may build up. However, if the walls have been waterproofed outside then water won’t be a problem. The contractor will make sure all the utilities are in before closing and insulating the walls.

Basement Bathrooms and Kitchens

If the basement is to be living space then provisions will have to made to make sure that the main sewer line is accessible. In many cases the basement will be “below grade” which means that any drainage will have to be pumped up to reach the sewer. During the past few years there have been quite a few new products that allow for storage and pumping of drainage up to the main grade. These are now compact and can fit right in the bathroom or kitchen. Some are large enough to handle a kitchen, bathroom and as well, a washing machine.

Basement Windows

For anyone with the space and clearance basement windows are a welcome addition. However, if the space is too far down you may need to excavate to take full advantage. A contractor may have to cut windows holes in the concrete to allow for this.

Exterior Entrances

In some cases a homeowner wants a basement entrance. If this can be accomplished then a door can allow kids to have their own entrance to the home and this can solve a lot of problems in the winter. After rolling in the snow for hours they can walk right into the basement and change there instead of messing up the main entrance door and leaving puddles of water about. Again, this will require excavation but also landscaping in order to slope the ground away from the entrance. Drainage will also have to be considered because now water will able to get directly to the bottom of the basement. A trench might have to be dug and a drain tile installed to take this water away.

Choosing to remodel the basement may seem like a lot of work and money but it is still one of the cheapest additions for new space besides taking over the garage. The other options require months of messy construction while, with a basement remodel, the carnage can be restricted to an area that can be closed off.

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