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These days more and more Canadians are avoiding the cost of unnecessary moves, and upgrading their homes instead. Adding an extra bedroom is a popular project because bedrooms are key factors in property valuations. However it’s important to comply with a number of factors in order to fully reap the benefits of the expense.
The basement is an obvious place to locate a new bedroom. That’s because the walls, floor and ceiling are already there, and that’s a huge cost saving already. Building standards for bedrooms are more demanding than those in basements. This means you’re going to have to consider all the following factors carefully.
Caring for Your Health
- Continuous dampness causes mould that’s bad for you, and can encourage incessant colds and flu. If the water’s actually pooling then your basement project may not even reach the starting blocks. However very minor moisture penetration problems are often cured by applying the appropriate water-lock, after clearing out and correctly sealing cracks. If you have persistent water problems, you should call in a licensed waterproofing company to fix the problem or else the problems will just resurface again.
- Aesthetics are important too. We’re warm blooded creatures, and a lack of sunshine makes us feel generally low. Is your basement best described as cold, remote and isolated? It could be better to move the after-hours games room down there instead, and turn the existing one into an extra bedroom.
- Temperature control is vital. Basements are generally-speaking, cool places that warm up when the central heating furnace comes on. While this may seem an ideal arrangement, the actual temperatures may not be suitable for living space. Speak to an expert. Resolve any concerns before you call the decorators in.
- Make sure your electricity supply is installed by a registered electrician who is able to provide you with a compliance certificate afterwards. This is especially critical where there’s any chance of damp returning. While you’re at it, provide an adequate supply of power points. Extra ones don’t cost that much individually, and you never know what lies ahead.
- Canadian building codes require that every bedroom have at least two exit points. This is especially relevant with a basement-upgrade project. If your home’s on fire how on earth are you going to escape up the stairs? Don’t take the easy way out by pretending you’re creating a workshop, rumble room or sewing room. You need an outside door (or window) that’s equipped for emergency escape.
- Don’t take short cuts on these all-important health and safety considerations. The health and welfare of a family member living in your converted basement matters a whole lot more than the money you could otherwise save. Consider the home-insurance implications too, just in case there’s a problem later and the inspector picks the discrepancy up.
- Go through the due process of local government authority approval before you begin making any alterations. Make sure your contractor understands that you want everything legal too and they have the required permits and certifications to get the job done. Be present every time the inspector calls. Listen and respond to what they say as they have the ability to shut down your project if your not up to code.
Long Term Benefits
When you put a bedroom in your basement correctly and legally, you achieve a lasting benefit that adds genuine value to your property. An illegal or botched alteration can have the exactly opposite effect. You could even end up devaluing your home, especially when a buyer asks to see the approved plans.
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