What are the primary concerns with renovating a basement?

There is a hierarchy of your concerns when renovating a basement and above all would be the need to ensure the space is dry and watertight.  Eliminating any water from your basement is of the utmost importance as it can affect all other aspects of the project including your construction materials, the foundation of your home, and your overall health to name a few.  All of this should be discussed with a professional renovation company like The Reno Pros to ensure your design can be a reality without compromising anyone’s safety.  Other concerns would include:



  • Insulation – Most unfinished basements amount to not much more than cinder blocks walls and that barrier is not conducive to withholding warmth during the winter or cool air during the summer. When renovating a basement you should consider a foam moisture barrier and anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of fiberglass insulation.
  • Support plates – Securing the baseplate and top wall plate of your new walls is extremely important as well and you must make sure to firmly secure them to the cement floor and joists along the ceiling. The 2x2s or 2x4s you use for these pieces of your wall should be made from pressure-treated lumber.
  • Foundation – Ensuring tight corners and joints requires a flat and properly graded surface. You can hide small imperfections if the floor is slightly uneven, but applying too much pressure to level a basement wall can ultimately damage framework in the upper regions of your home like floors and countertops.
  • Plumbing – Plumbing is best left to the professionals. You can design your basement with a wash room and a bathroom, but installing the plumbing should be done by someone who is licensed and certified. There is a lot of knowledge and experience in a master plumber’s head and your money would be well spent to use it.
  • Electrical – Electrical work would echo the plumbing situation. Hiring an electrician when renovating your basement is a sound investment if there is no pre-wiring in place.  Many DIYers can install an outlet or wire a fan, but starting from scratch is best left to the professional.  Breaker boxes can be confusing and the voltage they use can kill.
  • Load bearing walls – This should be a no brainer, but it’s worth discussing nonetheless. More than likely there will be piers or beams from floor to ceiling throughout your basement and you need to consider if your basement design is still desirable with them in the picture.  Hiring a company like The Reno Pros to come in and check for load bearing supports is vital to the structure of your home and safety of those living there.

Now back to the issue of water.  A basement with little ventilation and a tepid climate like one you might find for some of the year in Toronto is a haven for mildew and mold if water is present.  Black mold is extremely dangerous to your respiratory system and could eventually kill you if there is prolonged exposure.  Other major concerns would be the gradual breakdown of the structural integrity of your basement.  Drywall does not handle water very well and ground water will leach up through concrete if exterior walls are not properly sealed.

The overall sentiment is that water is extremely bad and you should leave the technical work to the professionals.  Otherwise, get in there start renovating your basement!