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The ABCs of Basement Renovations

November 29, 2017

 

 

Here’s the plan

 

When you’re planning to do a basement reno you want to start by looking at the whole space and see what’s around you - starting with looking up. Look at where your ducts are run for your heating and cooling and especially look at what else will need a bulkhead so you can plan around it. You don't want to have big ugly bulkheads that are in the centre of the room. Especially if you have duct work that tucks underneath your main beam. These will be an eyesore if it’s in the centre of a room. Not good.

 

What we like to do is tuck it into a closet or work them into built-ins on either side of the wall to hide those big ugly vents. When renovating you’ll want to think about the purpose of your basement. How will you be using the space? Are you building additional rooms for people? Is it going to be a rec room? Tv room? You want to know how your basement will be used so you can plan properly.

 

 

 

One thing you want to keep in mind is if you want to put a bedroom downstairs, there needs to be a separate means of egress. This means that there needs to be a window big enough that someone can escape through in case of a fire.

The same thing goes when installing kitchens - you can usually get away with a small kitchenette and a bar fridge. As soon as you get into full kitchens the City looks at that like a separate apartment which means you’ll need to go through the proper permit channels. Sometimes it’s just easier to make your update to just include a rec room or an office so that way you don’t have to go through the headache of pulling additional permits.

 

Girls (and boys) just wanna have fun

 

Don’t forget that when you’re designing and planning your basement to have fun with it! You have a blank canvas to work with. You can incorporate a dry or wet bar or a 2 piece or 3 piece bathroom. You can even throw in a nice big theatre room - the sky's the limit down there! You can do whatever you want so don’t be afraid to have some fun with it. Ultimately you want to design and come up with something that will fit your family's needs. Another small design note is that when it comes to painting, the majority of basements don't have large windows so you won't have a lot of natural light. Stick with light colours. It's always good to be bold and have a feature wall but for the most part stick with those light colours so your basement doesn't become a cave. Unless you’re building a man cave. In which case, cave it up. Cave it all the way up.

 

 

 


Everything you need to know about insulation (okay, not everything)

 

Now that your plan is complete and you know the basic layout the next step will be insulating the basement walls. If the basement is below ground you’ll have concrete walls all around with pink insulation that falls halfway down your wall. That insulation alone is not sufficient for your basement. It is usually only an R12 and you’re required to have R22 in a basement with a minimum of at least R20. We usually start by taking down all that insulation and starting fresh. Some options are to insulate with Roxul and vapor barrier to get yourself to R20 or in some cases R22.