finished basements

Finished Basement in Toronto

Most homeowners don’t make very good use of their basement.  If it’s an unfinished basement, it’s probably a laundry room and a very big storage space.  As a waterproofing company here in Toronto, the two biggest reasons people do not finish their basements are finances and chronic water leaks in their basement.

It’s hard to have a bright and airy basement when it feels and smells like you’re in a dungeon.  Chronic dampness and mold will do that.  If you have the budget, finishing your basement, or even creating a walkout basement can do wonders for ventilation and lighting.  Often times, finances don’t allow for a fully finished basement, though stopping the water leaks is probably a pre-requisite if you want to use the space, finished or unfinished.

Even in you don’t finish your basement, there are lots of creative ways you can make use of the space, and you won’t have to spend a fortune to do it.  Some ideas are:

 

Children’s Play Space

Create a safe and open space for you children to play.  It gets them out of the main living areas, reduces the traffic and cleanup for you, and creates a nice out of the way space for your little ones to play.  If they’re little, it can be a great downstairs play area while you take care of the laundry!

Kids Basement Playroom Toronto

Home Office

Need some peace and quiet so you can get some work done?  Find a cozy corner of the basement to concentrate on your work.  Often times, it may be simply running a cable line or power cord from the first floor so you can have your internet and power for you electronics and lighting.

Basement Home Office Toronto

Fitness Room

With some floor mats, a heavy bag, and some music, you can turn your dark basement into your own training center.  Exercise equipment can be loud and heavy, making it disruptive if there is living space below so the basement is a perfect place.

Basement Family Room

Family Room

A couple of couches, an area rug and a TV….and you have a great place to host family night!

Basement Family Room


Step 1: Make Sure It’s Waterproof

As you can see, there are lots of great ideas for turning that unused space into something you can enjoy.  Before you start, here are some ideas to keep in mind.

While a little moisture in an unfinished basement may seem unimportant, it matters a great deal when you’re investing money to build it out. Consider this. Damp is going to stain your new finishes and eventually ruin the job. You’re also going to have to rip them out to make repairs.

Moisture and lack of ventilation will ruin your basement fun if left untreated.  If you do have a water leak in your basement, find the source and call in a waterproofing company to fix it before you start.  Adding ventilation in the form of fans and possibly a dehumidifier will also help keep the air dry and circulating.

Step 2: Have a Proper Plan

Do you have electrical outlets?  Will you need them?  Is the space away from your utilities, especially if it’s a children’s play area.  Making sure the area is safe and that you have the proper resources before selecting the section of the basement for your new space.  Remove any clutter in the area and move it to a remote part of the basement.

Step 3: Lighting

One of the things that make an unfinished basement somewhat depressing is that lack of lighting.  If it’s going to be a space where you’re going o be spending any sort of time in, be sure to brighten the place up.  Ikea can give you some great, low-cost ideas for track lighting as well as floor and table lamps.

Step 5: Apply Finishes

Your choice of colors can make a big impact on the look and feel of your space.  There are several options for painting bare concrete walls and floors that can turn your basement into a bright and happy atmosphere without spending alot of money.  Also consider area rugs and child/gym mat flooring options that are also inexpensive.

Step 6: Install the Furniture and Fittings

Once the lighting, walls and flooring are in place, it’s time to move your furnishings in.  If you’ll be using furniture, consider using it in a way that sections off that part of your basement to give it it’s own unique space.

It’s easy to get more use out of your basement creatively. As long as your basement is dry, it’s not expensive to turn it into a space you can enjoy.    If you’re looking for ideas, check out there Pinterest images for some inspiration!

Nusite Group is a Toronto based basement waterproofing and foundation specialty company, we help get your basement ready so it can be finished for years of family enjoyment.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can help create get your damp, cramped basement into a fully functional living space.

 

Radiant Floor Heating in Toronto Basement

If you’re thinking about renovating your basement and are thinking about adding radiant heating to your flooring, then read on.  Not only is radiant heat possible for your basement floor, it can turn a cold, damp basement into the main gathering place for your home.

We’ve been renovating basements in Toronto and the surrounding GTA for over 30 years.  We’ve also installed several radiant heating floor systems as part of converting damp basements into full height, finished basements.

In-floor radiant basement heating is based on the principle that the amount of energy required to maintain the existing temperature is low, when compared to that required to raise it. In a nutshell, the system comprises two main components. The first part is a network of flexible tubing around which the concrete slab is poured. The second is a hydronic pump that forces heated liquid through this piping to create a warming effect.

 

When to Install Basement Radiant Heating

A hydronic basement heater is an efficient way to keep a basement comfortably warm, especially as heat eventually transfers to the entire structure if it is left ticking over. However, it is not recommended for drying out a damp basement despite what some salespeople may say. This is because it does not prevent moisture entering the structure, and gradually degrading it.

Manifestly, the preferred solution is to cast the radiant piping into the slab at the time of original construction. Should you decide to retrofit the system, there are two possibilities, though not as ideal as installing it with a new floor:

  • Chop up the floor slab, compact the rubble, cover it with a layer of sand and cast a fresh reinforced concrete floor with integral, radiant system.

 

  • Add an above-floor grid covered over by a false floor. However, this option is not integral with the structure and consequently less energy-effective.

Convenient Energy Sources

Almost any energy source can be used to heat the liquid and power the pump that circulates it. Common solutions include coal, electricity, a heat pump, natural gas, oil, propane, solar energy, and wood. Factors influencing the final choice incorporate local building codes, general safety considerations, architectural constraints, the level of ambient temperature desired, and, of course, the homeowner’s budget.

 

Why You Should Consider Radiant Heating in Your Basement

Assuming that you have in mind to keep your basement warm – as opposed to drying it out which is counterproductive for reasons mentioned – then in-floor radiant heating has a number of significant advantages as follows:

  • It is economic to install and operate, especially when fitted during the construction phase.

 

  • It is gentle to the environment as it produces less greenhouse gases and can be fired by renewable energy.

 

  • It is unusually quiet as does not rely on electric fans, rattling ductwork and hammering pipes.

 

  • It is exceptionally clean and healthy as it is totally concealed and releases no pollutants to the air.

 

  • Being ideally integrated with the floor slab, it does not rob your basement of precious headroom.

In Conclusion, is Radiant Heating a Good Idea?

Anything that adds value to your home in a cost-effective manner is an investment worth considering. This is especially true if it converts a chilly basement into useful living space. If you plan on creating a finished basement that will be a hub for the family, then consider adding radiant heating during your renovations.

Have questions about basement renovations or radiant heating for your basement?  Nusite Group has been repairing and renovating basements in Toronto for over 30 years.  We offer a free onsite evaluation for your radiant heating project and will provide you a list of recommendations as part of our free estimate.  You can contact us here.

Finished Basement in Etobocoke Ontario

For homeowners looking to increase their living space, finishing a basement can be a cost-efficient and practical way to do so. If moving or building onto your home is not an option, turning your unfinished basement into a comfortable living space is a great way to add room and increase the value of your home.

There are some precautions that need to be taken to protect your valuables and newly created living space from damage due to water leaks, mold or mildew. This article will walk you through the “do’s and don’ts” of basement remodeling, as well as offer some sound reasons as to why this is the most cost-efficient way to add to your habitable square footage.

 

Make Sure to Waterproof your basement. Your home might not be susceptible to flooding, but basements tend to be dark and damp places. Whether you have water leaks, noticed small areas of moisture on the walls, or smelled a musty odor, it’s important to waterproof your foundation walls before doing any sort of the remodeling construction. There are many professional waterproofing companies for hire, as well as ways to do it yourself.

 

Planning the Design. Once you have your basement protected from possible water damage-either by a professional company or by doing it yourself-the next step is to have a plan of how you want the new space to function for your family. Adding a bedroom, bathroom, and living/family area seems to be the most popular division of basement space. If your home is on a grade, a walkout basement can create a totally new dynamic for your home.  Leaving storage and utility space is also a good idea when designing your new space. Once you have that drawn out, deciding who should do the work is the next step.

 

The Actual Construction: to hire or not? Whatever you decide, researching contractors, plumbers, and carpenters is essential. A do-it-yourself project can quickly become overwhelming, and seeking out a professional quickly can be difficult. The time spent researching before starting the project will be time well spent when you have a finished basement completed in a timely fashion.

 

Enjoy Your New Space and Your New Investment. Once the construction is done and you are enjoying your new living space, sit back and take some satisfaction in knowing you have just added substantially to the value of your home.

Final Precautions: Your finished space is worth more to an appraiser than your empty basement was before the remodel. However, to be officially recognized as living space it needs to be heated, have the required permits, and proper inspections completed. If the homeowner fails to do these requirements it could end up costing more in fines and permits after the fact. If done properly, when you do think about selling, having that finished living space downstairs will increase your chances of selling quickly as well as having that added value placed on your assessment.

 

How much value will your finished basement add your home?

A 2010 study completed by Remodeling Online found that, on average, 74% of the cost of remodeling a finished basement is recovered when the homeowner sold the home.  That was as we were in a downward slide of housing prices throughout most of North America.  The return on investment may be much higher, depending on your part of the country.  Additionally, energy savings from a remodeled basement can pile up to around $400 dollars a year.  Overall, these factors make remodeling your basement a very sound investment, even in a rebounding housing market.

Nusite Group is a Toronto based speciality trades group, specializing in basement waterproofing, foundation repair and other basement based projects.  Contact us today to learn more.

Finished Basement Family Room Toronto

With the housing market boom going on in Toronto, homeowners are trying to make the most of the living space they have.  One of the biggest opportunities for additional living space is down in the basement.

Most basements in Toronto were not originally designed to be used as living space and can be dark, wet and cramped with the utilities that service the home.

Unfortunately, a home’s basement can often be a breeding ground for problems such as mold, radon, carbon monoxide from faulty HVACs, water-borne bacteria, and hazards caused by electrical wires being exposed to water. Most homeowners may be familiar with most of these problems, but radon could be something they aren’t too familiar with.

Below is a list of some common basement issues we come across, which should all be inspected before considering turning your basement into a living space.

Radon
Radon is basically a type of dangerous as which is caused by radiation. Radon is tasteless, colourless and odourless, making it hard to detect. It’s created by the decay of radioactive minerals or uranium which can be found in the earth’s crust. It’s harmless if it is able to disperse into the atmosphere, but creates a problem if there’s a home or some other type of structure in the way. In this case, the radon can enter a basement through the soil and will begin to accumulate. A cement basement floor will help fight it off as long as it doesn’t have any cracks and is nonporous and solid. But radon can enter through a drainage system or water sump hole and then rise through a home via the heating ducts.

Radon can also possibly be emitted through things such as fireplaces, stone foundations, wood, concrete, wallboard and even water supplies via deep wells. Radon gas is a health risk if breathed in since it can damage the lungs and cause cancer. This is the reason homeowners should have a radon-detection-kit in their house or have a professional contractor inspect the home. The kit consists of a charcoal-filled canister which positioned in the home’s lowest living level or basement and in a still area, away from windows and doors. After a specified period of time the test kit is delivered to the manufacturer and it will be evaluated for the results.

Radon levels in a home can be lowered via a variety of methods and costs. The method used will depend on the type of soil around the home, the design of the building and level of radon in the air. The best solution is to seal entrance points to keep radon out. This means caulking floor cracks, sealing drains, waterproofing basement floors and walls, covering up bare crawlspace floors and capping sump-pump holes. Basically, any type of method which is used to lower the level of moisture in a basement can be effective when trying to lower the levels of radon.

Mold, Mildew and Fungus
Most homeowners are aware of the damage that mold and fungus can do to a home as well as the health risks they present. Most molds aren’t toxic, but can produce mycotoxins which can cause health and respiratory problems if you’re exposed to them. Mold spores are often absorbed through the skin or inhaled while fungal infections can originate inside the lungs or on the skin. The elderly and infants are typically more susceptible to mold, mildew and fungus health risks. Some types of mold found in basements care more dangerous and toxic such as black molds and these can cause pulmonary hemosiderosis, which is a rare lung disease which causes internal bleeding.

Mold is typically caused by flooding, moisture or condensation in the basement along with high humidity and can often go unnoticed. It usually starts in the insulation, carpeting, piping, floor, vents, ducts, furniture, the ceiling, wallpaper, wood or drywall. If your basement has been flooded it’s recommended that you contact a professional waterproofing company to have it inspected. You may need to have any wet materials removed such as drywall. Moisture can also enter a basement through leaking pipes and cracks in the floor or walls. You may realize you have mold in the basement as it usually smells musty and stagnant. If you suspect you have mold, but can’t find a sign of it, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a waterproofing company.

Carbon Monoxide
Another odourless, tasteless, and colorless gas is carbon monoxide, and this can prove to be fatal if it gets into your home. This is why it’s imperative you have carbon monoxide alarms installed. In fact, in many areas of the world it’s the law. Carbon monoxide is a by-product of fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, propane, and wood and is created in appliances such as stoves, furnaces, and gas fireplaces (electric fireplaces are a good alternative). It can cause flu-like symptoms, but be deadly if it escapes into your home while you’re sleeping. Make sure a carbon monoxide alarm isn’t placed next to a basement furnace.

The alarms should be located in the living areas and close to bedrooms since the gas travels through vents and ductwork. It’s important to have your gas appliances inspected regularly by a licensed HVAC company to make sure they aren’t faulty and leaking carbon monoxide. They need to be vented properly and unblocked. Chimneys and fireplaces also need to be free of any blockage so the air can escape. Also, don’t forget to test your alarms on a regular basis too.

Electrical Wiring
It’s important that all electrical wiring in the basement and anywhere else for that matter be protected from water. Electricity and water don’t mix and can result in fire and other damage. If your home has ever been flooded or subject to any type of water damage you should have all of the electrical wiring and equipment in those locations properly inspected. Any water-damaged wiring and/or equipment should be repaired or replaced immediately. One way to make sure you aren’t subject to any electrical damage is to have your basement properly waterproofed.

Nusite Group is a Toronto waterproofing and foundation repair company that has been serving Toronto for over 30 years.  We provide free, in-home inspections and estimates, schedule your today.

Your home is most likely the biggest single investment you’ll make in your lifetime.  Your home is your sanctuary, the place where you relax on the weekend and where the kids can always call home.

Investing money to renovate your home is a great way to further invest in your biggest asset  Not only does it allow you to improve and customize your home the way you want, it also increases the value of this asset when the time comes to sell one day.

Since we’re basement contractors, of course we believe that renovating your basement is a great investment for a number of reasons.  First, it can create additional living space in your home without the need to add an extension and go through red tape permit hell.  Second, it gives you a number of options like creating a rental space or an in-law suite for aging parents.  You can also make it the perfect family room, complete with fireplace, large screen tv and sectional sofa for the perfect movie night.

There are hundreds of different types of renovations in and around the home, the graphic below has a good list of the different types of renovations you can consider.

Increased value of renovations in the home

As you can see, there are lots of different renovations you can do in your home.  Some improve the livability of the home, others are structural repairs and others are more cosmetic in nature.  Some improvements, like a new bathroom, kitchen or basement, tend to recoup most of the investment when it comes time to sell.  Even something simple like spending a few hundred on landscaping improvements can add thousands to the value of your home.  Getting a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) to pay for these renovations can be a great way to fund these renovations.

While can’t answer questions about every type of renovation, if you live in Toronto or the GTA and have a basement renovation questions, you can contact us here.  Thanks!