finished basements

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aa_design_build_remodeling/4348521568/

Looking to transform your old musty basement into the family room you’ve been dreaming of?  Since a basement has different water/moisture issues, it’s important to use the right flooring in your basement.

If you are remodeling your basement, the floors are an important element of the décor to consider as you design and plan. By finishing or remodeling the space, you are creating more value for your home and a better value proposition for buyers interested in your home in the future. For that reason, the floors should be an investment that adds value. You should choose a material that will be functional in a basement, is conducive to a basement environment, and one that will be sought after by future home buyers.

 

Even if you are looking for a budget-friendly option, there are lots of materials that will function well in a basement. To find the right flooring for you, consider some of these popular styles below. Not only will these materials hold up well in basement conditions, such as damp basements, but each has its own look and feel and will bring a different ambiance to your space.

 

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl is one of the most popular materials for floors – whether you’re remodeling your basement or any other part of your home – due to its durability, low price, and realistic look. It’s easy to clean, long-lasting, and extremely moisture-resistant, making it an appropriate choice for a basement where water may be more likely to leak. Vinyl is also a perfect option if you like the look of stone or hardwood and don’t want to pay as much. It can often resemble these materials so closely that it can be hard to tell the difference between them. Vinyl comes in many different styles and colors, giving you lots of choices. For a practical option that will make your basement both stylish and functional, vinyl may be one of the best options.

 

Laminate Flooring

Like vinyl, laminate flooring can also have the same look as other materials. There are many different possibilities, including ceramic, slate, or wood laminate. However, laminate flooring is more affordable than these other materials. With this many options, you can replicate the look of almost any flooring for a lower price. It’s easy to maintain, durable, warmer and more comfortable than a ceramic or slate. This makes it a good option if you have kids or pets, or if you expect a lot of traffic in your space. It will also hold up well to humidity and water, which is one of the reasons why it is ideal for a basement.

Ceramic Flooring

Ceramic flooring may be a bit more expensive, but it’s an investment that will add value to your home. It can give rich texture and color to the space, and it brings an element of natural beauty into the room. Ceramic tiles also have great wear and durability and will function well in a basement. This type of flooring will also work with any type of décor, ranging anywhere on the spectrum from traditional to contemporary. If you’re looking to invest a bit more in the floors, ceramic flooring can give the room a luxurious, elegant feel.

Finished basement with musty odourFinishing the basement of your home provides an opportunity to improve your property and increase the value of your home for future buyers. An unfinished basement is a blank canvas and there are many factors, ideas, and options that must be considered in the process in order to create a space that accomplishes everything you’re looking for.

The flooring you select for your basement is one of these important factors to be considered, as flooring can define the purpose of a space, add value, and give a room a certain feel. Before you consider spending the time and money renovating your basement, be sure that it’s free of moisture and mold.  Here are a few key points to think about as you select the flooring for your basement:

1.       Purpose of the Space

The reason for finishing your basement should help you decide what flooring will work best in the space. Are you looking to create a game room for your children, a family room, a workout area, or a guest bedroom? Think about who will be using the space and what will be taking place. If the room will be multi-purpose, then consider dividing the flooring accordingly. For example, a room that will be used both as a play room and a space for entertaining may need carpet for a soft, kid-friendly surface, and hardwood or a hardwood lookalike to work well with a kitchen.

 2.       Design for Style and Functionality

Even if you plan to create a space for everyday use, chances are you will also want a portion of the space to allow for storage. For the section of your space that will be visible and frequented by guests, consider flooring types that will add style and that will not quickly become out-of-date. For the storage section, style is less important than functionality. Choose flooring that is less expensive – as it will be less visible – in order to save money and serve the purpose of storing your things.

 3.       Think About Traffic

Different flooring materials are more durable than others and hold up better in heavily-trafficked areas. If you expect high traffic, a surface such as vinyl may be a better option than traditional hardwood. Not only does vinyl have the look of hardwood without the added cost, but it is durable and easier to clean. If you’re looking for durable carpet, a loop carpet may be your best option. It is built-to-last and perfect for high-trafficked areas such as a play room or family room.

 4.       Add Value

Not only should you evaluate the current needs of your family when it comes to your basement, but what future buyers may look for. For example, a basement finished with premium, high-quality flooring will be a big selling point for those looking to buy a new home. The flooring or carpet you choose should be functional and neutral enough that various buyers can imagine how they would be able to use the space. Moreover, consider converting the space into an apartment that can be rented out. This will add significant value to your home by increasing the future selling price.

 

Larry F. writes about home renovation and home décor on behalf of Empire Today, which specializes in carpeting, laminate and hardwood flooring, window treatments and more. Visit Empire Flooring for more home decorating ideas.

 

walkout basement under construction in TorontoMany older homes in Toronto have leaky basements with low ceilings, uneven floors and moldy walls that are little more than cellars. Their owners often only go there to check their boilers, or store something they’ll never use again. That’s a great pity, because they never know the potential that they wasted as they closed the door behind them.

These days, basement lowering specialists use modern building methods to dig out cellar floors and convert dead space into living space, with good headroom at a fraction of the cost of attic conversions. The common method is known as underpinning, or basement lowering.  They use technology to preserve the home above from any risk of damage as they go about their work. When their job is complete, they have added considerable value to their client’s home at a fraction of the cost.

Five Reasons to Do a Basement Conversion

  • Create More Living Space – There’s hardly a home that wouldn’t benefit from an extra room. Teenagers suddenly need their privacy. Mom or dad decide to work from home. The family is growing up and needs an informal place to meet, or at least a place where the kids can play without driving anyone crazy. There’s no end of reasons. It just costs too much to move.
  • Add Value to Your Investment – There’s no doubt that a home is still one of your safest investments, notwithstanding the fact that the real estate market’s taken a knock lately here in Toronto, but it always rebounds with a bang. It’s important not to over-capitalize. Digging out a basement costs significantly less than attic conversions and home extensions. This means greater profit when you sell someday.
  • Create a Healthier Environment – Neglected basements accumulate dirt, damp and mold. Nobody in their right mind would leave the spare-room looking like that upstairs. If they did, they would be at risk of respiratory infections. The same applies when there’s mold and decay on the far side of the door leading to the basement.
  • Benefit from Extra Income – As time passes, kids leave home, and retirement age is reached, many Canadian’s suffer income contraction as they enter a new phase. There are always clean and decent youngsters looking to establish their first base. This brings income that makes holidays affordable again. While there are hoops to jump through in order to have a legal basement apartment in Toronto, it can be done.
  • Achieve the Impossible Dream – Many of us have “secret hobbies” that we enjoyed when we were younger. These could include dressmaking, building model cars and boats or even something more artistic. A lack of dedicated space often holds us back from rediscovering them. Dig out the cellar, and you’re on your way to doing what you love….or even replacing your day job one day!

Basement movie theatre in Toronto home

A Word of Caution

A cellar or basement with low head height still bears the full weight of the home above it. This is definitely not something to be done by amateurs as you can see from the news lately here in Toronto.  I the hands of professionals, it’s a safe and painless process.

There’s good reason to hire a foundation specialist who also understands the importance of effective ground-water management. They can ensure that there’s no structural danger at any time, and that the living space above is unaffected while the job is on

Finished basement with musty odourMany older homes in Toronto have basements with low ceilings, uneven floors and moldy walls that are little more than cellars. Their owners often only go there to check their boilers, or store something they’ll never use again. That’s a great pity, because they never know the potential that they wasted as they closed the door behind them.

These days, basement lowering specialists use modern building methods to dig out cellar floors and convert dead space into living space, with good headroom at a fraction of the cost of attic conversions. The common method is known as underpinning, or basement lowering.  They use technology to preserve the home above from any risk of damage as they go about their work. When their job is complete, they have added considerable value to their client’s home at a fraction of the cost.

Five Reasons to Do a Basement Conversion

  • Create More Living SpaceThere’s hardly a home that wouldn’t benefit from an extra room. Teenagers suddenly need their privacy. Mom or dad decide to work from home. The family is growing up and needs an informal place to meet, or at least a place where the kids can play without driving anyone crazy. There’s no end of reasons. It just costs too much to move.
  • Add Value to Your Investment – There’s no doubt that a home is still one of your safest investments, notwithstanding the fact that the real estate market’s taken a knock lately here in Toronto, but it always rebounds with a bang. It’s important not to over-capitalize. Digging out a basement costs significantly less than attic conversions and home extensions. This means greater profit when you sell someday.
  • Create a Healthier Environment – Neglected basements accumulate dirt, damp and mold. Nobody in their right mind would leave the spare-room looking like that upstairs. If they did, they would be at risk of respiratory infections. The same applies when there’s mold and decay on the far side of the door leading to the basement.
  • Benefit from Extra Income – As time passes, kids leave home, and retirement age is reached, many Canadian’s suffer income contraction as they enter a new phase. There are always clean and decent youngsters looking to establish their first base. This brings income that makes holidays affordable again. While there are hoops to jump through in order to have a legal basement apartment in Toronto, it can be done.
  • Achieve the Impossible Dream – Many of us have “secret hobbies” that we enjoyed when we were younger. These could include dressmaking, building model cars and boats or even something more artistic. A lack of dedicated space often holds us back from rediscovering them. Dig out the cellar, and you’re on your way to doing what you love….or even replacing your day job one day!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aa_design_build_remodeling/4205554485/

A Word of Caution

A cellar or basement with low head height still bears the full weight of the home above it. This is definitely not something to be done by amateurs as you can see from the news lately here in Toronto.  I the hands of professionals, it’s a safe and painless process.

There’s good reason to hire a foundation specialist who also understands the importance of effective ground-water management. They can ensure that there’s no structural danger at any time, and that the living space above is unaffected while the job is on.

Have questions about creating a full height basement?  Contact us here, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have :)

 

 

Ideal Humidity in Toronto basementDoes your basement feel like a jungle in Central America during the Winter?  Maybe it’s time to check the humidity levels in your basement.

Humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air. When air has absorbed all the moisture that it can, we say that humidity is at 100%. When the humidity level is at say half of that, it is defined as being at 50%. In other words, measures of humidity are relative, which is why we speak of RH, or relative humidity.

The Effect of Seasons

Everything expands as it gets warmer, and that applies to the air itself. As a consequence, it absorbs more moisture when the ambient temperature’s warmer. This is why us homeowners in Toronto are plagued by humidity when the heating’s turned up in their basements – especially in winter when the windows and doors are tightly closed.

You can track humidity by purchasing a mechanical or electronic hygrometer that records the RH, although you do need to allow the instrument to settle for twelve hours first. Note that the same absolute moisture-level will produce a different relative reading at different ambient temperatures.

The Human Factor

What we described so far is theoretical. Humans have a habit of changing their environment everywhere we go (and that includes our homes). Air pollution and global warming are extreme examples. It may come as a shock to know that even breathing affects the relative humidity in your home.

Most everything we do in our home involves the use of energy. Energy that is released warms the air. Warm air absorbs more moisture. Up goes the humidity level. It’s as simple as that. But we don’t stop there, do we? We release moisture into the air every time we bath or shower, wash dishes or do the laundry.

The Right Humidity

Our bodies require a level of humidity for health. When it’s too high we may develop respiratory problems because of mould spores drifting through the air. By contrast, if the RH is too low we get scratchy throats and noses, and chapped skin and lips. These are Mother Nature’s natural hygrometers we need to listen too.

After you’ve purchased a mechanical or electronic hygrometer, you can assess humidity more accurately, although do remember that hygrometer readings are relative to ambient temperatures. When your home is nice and snug in winter, it should range between 30 and 50 percent. However when the outside temperature drops to -10c / 14F, you should aim for 30.

When Humidity’s Too High

You can use humidifiers and dehumidifiers to control relative humidity selectively. However you can also influence things by venting clothes-driers, opening doors and windows daily, and taking cooler showers and baths. As you bring your humidity levels down you’ll also have less mould. And that should make your family healthier, happier and more relaxed.

 

photo credit: Flckr