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Toronto Basement Underpinning, What is it?
The residential homes in Toronto from that are 40 or more years old were built by old standards. These standards did not include ideas which we love and value today. Amongst these ideas is a usable, bright basement space as an extra storage or a basement apartment. Since adding extra square footage as a third or fourth floor may not be allowed or financially feasible basement underpinning or basement lowering is a very popular choice. These old Toronto basements were either only functional for a as a cantina and furnace room with a head height clearance of about 5 feet, yes a very uncomfortable head ben position, or they were simply a crawl space of no more than 3 feet tall on top of earth. This is when lowering your basement starts to make sense. Essentially, you break the existing concrete floor, dig down, form and pour new footings (also referred to as new bench footings) underneath existing footings (hence the official name of basement underpinning) and pour a new concrete slab floor achieving a space of 8 or 9 feet ceiling height. This is best money spent as you get extra square footage for your use or you can get a legal basement apartment making your home an income property. You need to be careful when you are selecting a basement underpinning contractor as they need to be properly insured and experienced in this labour intensive and risky sector of construction. It is best recommended that every step is documented and inspected by a licensed engineer. The Reno Pros works closely with a designated engineer just for basement underpinning and has an enriched experience in Toronto basement lowering. We are open to discuss any questions so feel free so contact us to explore your construction options. The most common type of basement lowering is done through a process called underpinning. The process is somewhat complex and should only be done by a qualified and insured expert. Basement underpinning is not simply a matter of digging up the existing floor – in fact, doing so could cause damage to the structure of the house. Rather, it is necessary to dig under the home’s foundation and essentially create a new foundation under the existing one that is capable of bearing the additional weight. Here is the detailed process in which you will have everything explained in greater detail.
Cost of Basement Lowering in Toronto
When talking about costs there are many extra add-ons which make sense to be included during the construction of the basement underpinning. These include things like changing the furnace to a more efficient and healthier radiant floor heating, extra insulation in the new concrete slab, wall and even ceiling as well as roughing in any other piping or cables since the basement is wide open. These are the true factors which make the entire budget go quite above the typical underpinning portion only. When considering the cost of basement lowering alone there are only a few key factors to consider which impact the range of prices greatly.
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Residential Underpinning Access
Just like in residential real estate location, location, location means everything. Access means everything in residential underpinning projects. How hard it is to park the cars, the trucks, the disposal bins and offload the machines means more wasted time. Can we use machines to remove the demolition debris and soil or is it all by hand. Can we set up a conveyor belt to take the rubble outside into the bin or is it all wheel barrow pushed. These are the main initial questions that we need to asses in order to price the basement underpinning jobs in Toronto.
Basement Underpinning Height
The height which is existing dictates how many cubic yards of earth we need to dig down in order to get the basement lowered. If you have a crawl space you will need to go an additional 5-6 feet down which is roughly the average height of an adult! That is a lot of earth which needs to be moved.
Lowered Basement Soil Type
The soil conditions greatly impact how difficult it is to dig while doing the basement underpinning. Clay, sand, gravel, tree trunks or roots and bedrock all factor how long it will take to get to the desired lowered height. It is a simple calculation at the end of it, time = money. Cost are calculated based on linear footage with many factors that need to be considered. They can range from $450 dollars per linear foot to over $600 dollars. Toronto basement underpinning is a very difficult type of construction. Leave it to the Pros, call The Reno Pros to assess your residential underpinning project and give a free, detailed quote.
Basement Underpinning Process
The most common type of basement lowering is done through a process called underpinning. The process is somewhat complex and should only be done by a qualified and insured expert. Basement underpinning is not simply a matter of digging up the existing floor – in fact, doing so could cause damage to the structure of the house. Rather, it is necessary to dig under the home’s foundation and essentially create a new foundation under the existing one that is capable of bearing the additional weight. Here is the detailed process in which you will have everything explained in greater detail.
Step 1: Demolition:
Most Toronto basements are over utilized for storage or living accommodations. To start the underpinning process we first demolish existing floors, walls and other finishes to make sure we have a clear and open work environment to start the basement lowering.
Step 2: Concrete Floor:
This is where the transformation really starts. The hardest part is getting the heavy concrete out of the basement. Once the concrete slab is broken the heavy demolition is over.
Step 3: Soil Removal:
Basement underpinning involves getting the dirt excavated so that the height in the basement is increased. Once we have access to the dirt we remove it either with conveyer belt or by wheel barrels out of the basement.
Step 4: Sections of Underpinning:
With proper engineered and city of Toronto approved drawings the existing basement foundation is divided into vertical sections. They are marked 1, 2, 3, 4 over and over again to signify where the same numbered sections need to be excavated. These underpinning sections or teeth are what makes the structural integrity of the underpinning. A number is picked, for example a 3, so all the 3’s in the foundation are cut and excavated down. Then they are formed and new concrete is poured to the lowered height.
Step 5: Inspections:
Throughout all the structural excavation stages and putting in drains a licensed engineer or city inspector needs to sign off to make sure the basement lowering scope of work is done as per the Ontario Building Code. The Reno Pros works closely with licensed engineer to inspect, go above and beyond on every underpinning project.
Step 6: Drains:
New drains are installed, connected and inspected. We perform pressure tests to make sure all the plumbing connections are correct and no leaks are detected.
Step 7: Waterproofing & Gravel:
Once the basement is properly dug the new foundations is set, the next steps to ensure any future drainage or water leaking problems are eliminated. Professional waterproofing delta foundation wrap is installed and gravel is layered on top of the soil. This is the proper set up by the best underpinning contractor, The Reno Pros.
Step 8: Insulation & Radiant Floor Heating:
With underpinning a client should consider marginal costs involved to improve their basement even further. Installing radiant flooring bellow the new concrete floor creates a massive heat pad which radiates heat and solves any dampness or cold feelings you may have even with a new basement. We can advise on all the Pros and Cons of adding this as an additional heat source.
Step 9: Sump Pit & Pump:
The city of Toronto experiences at least once a year a massive rain which over loads the outdated city drainage infrastructure. This is the number one cause for basement flooding. There are city incentives, rebates which are paid directly to the client if a licensed contractor installs a new sump pump with a proper sump pit. The absolute best time to upgrade this and make your home safe is during the basement underpinning project, right before we pour the new concrete floor slab.
Step 10: Basement Concrete Slab:
The basement underpinning is almost complete once the concrete pad is poured. Finishing touches, proper circle checklist and a cleanup is all that is left.
Things to Consider for Your Basement Underpinning
There are several things to consider when you are planning your basement lowering project.
- Drawings and Engineered reports are utterly important in a structural construction component. There has been horror stories of unprofessional underpinning gone wrong. Homes collapsed, lives lost, financial ruins. Make sure the contractor knows how to work with permit drawings and has a safety procedure in place about the construction site.
- Good contractors have general liability insurance. Toronto underpinning contractors need much more insurance to carry the specific task of underpinning. Verify that the insurance policies actually cover the work scope needed.
- There are numerous rebates that the city of Toronto provide to the homeowner for improving their homes. Efficient heating and cooling, windows, insulation and of course mechanical, sewage ejectors, sump pumps and backflow water preventers are among them. Check which program is in effect at the time of the basement underpinning and apply to receive some money back.
- Timing is key when it comes to any construction undertaking. Instead of moving up our out of your house underpin gives you a much better alternative. Plan it so you have all the drawings, permits and trades lined up. You need to know exactly who, when and how will be doing this major structural component of your home.
Underpinning Prior to Renovation
If you are considering renovations or finishing of your basement, it is a wise move to consider whether basement lowering or underpinning should be performed first. Making your basement more livable through renovation is a great way to add enjoyment and value to your home, but this can be diminished by ceilings that are too low.
Since underpinning involves digging a new foundation for your home, it should be done prior to any basement renovations if it is deemed necessary. Not every company does both basement underpinning and basement renovation, and homeowners who have to deal with two companies can run into logistical problems which may cost them extra time and money.
Add Value to Your Home
Because The Reno Pros do both basement underpinning and basement renovations, we can help you from the very beginning stages of the planning process in order to ensure that you get the basement living space that you want.
If your Toronto home was built prior to the 1940s, there is a good chance that your home is a candidate for basement underpinning. Not only will this process help to give you more headroom, making your basement more enjoyable as a living space, but it will add value to your home as well.
Find out why so many Toronto homeowners are trusting their basement lowering to The Reno Pros. Give us a call today to book your free consultation.