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Basement Lowering

Basement lowering is the lowering of your basement floor to increase the basement’s height and at the same time improve its foundation strength. Most of the older homes around Toronto have low basement height due to the way they were built making them more or less a crawl space where you cannot walk around comfortably.


In the present, people are conscious of the houses they are buying and want one with a high enough basement for a variety of purposes. Thanks to the advancements in building and construction as homes can now be improved and the basement lowered with much ease. There are two main types of basement lowering which include underpinning and benching.


Underpinning involves adding a new structural footing beneath the initial foundation and adding a concrete slap to support it. As for benching, it is all about adding new walls at a lower basement floor level and adding benches on the sides where the new foundation has been established.

Lowering Basement Process

Our Recent Underpinning Projects

bench footing job

What is included in basement lowering process?

Basement lowering is a procedure that involves digging up the basement floors and establishing a new basement floor that is lower, adding height to it and turning it a livable space. In the two techniques of lowering the basement process, there are a few things that differ. This is because each procedure is different from the other and installations used are not the same.


However, both are similar in the sense that they require structural improvements on the foundation walls and footings. Understanding underpinning better, it is ideal for basements where the foundation has developed cracks and has weak fault lines on the walls. Holes are dug strategically on each side of the foundation, dip enough to extend the foundation. Once new footings and walls have been added, then the floors are done, but at the new low level. For benching, it is also ideal for weak foundations that have been established on poor soil conditions.


Unlike in underpinning, no holes are made to add new footings, instead, the entire basement is excavated and the new walls and floor are built up from the new low level. To enhance support and stability of the house, reinforcements are added that form a bench-like structure. To hide the new additions, cabinets/shelves/book cases are added to make the new living space classy and modern.

Difference between basement lowering and home addition


Basement lowering entails modifying the basement through the lowering basement methods to create more space in the original home structure. On the other hand, home addition or garden suite in Toronto are adding a new living space say on the backyard if there is enough space left. In short, a whole new structure is established.


Land in Toronto can be very expensive and establishing a new living structure will be more expensive compared to basement lowering. In terms of the money you will spend, basement lowering will be more cost effective than home addition. This is because in basement lowering there are wall already established and you are only modifying your already existent home.


On whichever decision you make among the two, one thing that sticks is that you need to acquire permits from the Toronto Municipal offices. However, the permits for basement lowering may be processed faster and do not encompass much complexity as compared to those of home addition processes.

Basement Lowering

Basement underpinning vs

bench footing

Basement lowering can be done in two ways – underpinning and bench footing. These methods of basement lowering are generally very similar; however, they have differences in the way they work and in the final result. Let’s take a closer look at the main advantages of each type of work.

 Basement underpinning

The main difference of this method is that the load-bearing walls of the house are lengthened with basement underpinning. This allows you to increase the height of your basement to the required value while maintaining its original area. This process is more time-consuming and difficult to implement, which affects the time of the work and the cost of the project.


Homeowners are more likely to choose basement underpinning for homes they plan to live in themselves and for homes that will be listed for sale according to statistics and our experience. Bench footing is more often used when planning to rent out a basement or when there are reasons forbidding basement underpinning.

 Bench footing

This method of basement lowering is quite different from basement underpinning. The main feature is that the outer walls remain the same length and special concrete benches are installed at the excavated depth. They reduce the area of ​​the basement a little and are visually visible after finishing, which some homeowners may not like.


bench footing has its advantages. First of all, this is an easier way for basement lowering. Basement bench footing is cheaper, faster, and can be done where basement underpinning is not allowed. For example, these are houses with a separate wall or too close proximity to neighboring houses.

Our Work from Clients’ View

What to consider when lowering basement in Toronto

Basement lowering is not something you wake up and decide on doing it. No, you need to plan beforehand and make sure you have the necessary details at your fingertips. Most importantly, you need to be financially prepared and work within a budget according to what you can afford. You also need to choose a lowering basement company in Toronto to handle all the floor work and building procedures.


Will the demolition in place have any impact on your home? If yes, what can you do to minimize risk? Finally, you need permits to authorize the renovation procedures and set a specific time when you want the basement lowering to take place and how long it needs to take before completion.

Underpinning with support poles
Basement Lowering Contractors

What do I need to know from my basement lowering contractor?

Well, besides the fact that your contractor can offer you the basement lowering services you require, there are other fundamental things you need to know before the process begins. How much does basement lowering cost? Which one is better, underpinning or bench-footing?


What materials are required by the contractor to successfully lower the basement? These are just few of the question you need to ask your contractor to clarify before giving the go ahead of the process to commence. If at one point you feel uncertain of things, you can turn to your contractor for advice and guide you through the pre-basement lowering process, at the time when they are actually in action and probably how to maintain the basement.


Anything you need to know about construction permits and other legal documents, your contractor should know what is needed. Before hiring architect or contractor get to know how much does basement underpinning cost and what to budget.


VMB Group has been performing basement lowering in Toronto area for over 15 years. We have extensive experience in this area and use it to help our clients. A team of specialists guarantees a professional approach to each individual project and will cope with basement lowering of any complexity. Fill out the form below and our manager will contact you and discuss all the details.

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