Renovating your basement for various reasons is essential to achieve more space and create an extra room such as a playroom, study room or a small theater for family movie night. Whatever your reasons are, basement underpinning is one of the renovations that will also help add value to your home. The truth of the matter is that buildings are built over a strong foundation, but with time, it can weaken due to certain factors. Weak foundations can be attributed to a pest infestation, leakages or weak structural faults caused by shifting earth or floods. To counteract the weakened foundation, you can consider underpinning as a preventive measure to keep your building strong and standing.
So what exactly is basement underpinning? It is the act of adding bulk beneath your basement to repair weakened and faulty basements. It practically involves digging up soil beneath the basement so as to lower the basement surface. Once the soil is removed, new concrete is added to the extended surface, below the initial foundation making the building stronger. In addition to that, the basement room also has more height and you can modify it into anything you like.
Basement underpinning is one of the most valued procedures that involve lowering the basement foundation to increase its stability. It may be because of the value it adds to your home in terms of space and basement height, but it generally is a good measure of basement renovations. Unlike in other methods of basement lowering, basement underpinning increases the height of the basement since the concrete slab is added directly beneath the foundation that had been created earlier on. With new developments in the building and construction industries, the basements in the traditional homes can now be modernized from a storage compact room to a more useful space. Basement underpinning is also of value since it can be a possible rental income where you rent it to someone to live there, a way to a dryer home and improved air flow and quality since the floors are no longer damp and smelly.
Underpinning is not an easy task and it requires someone with skills and experience to properly carry out the job. To successfully and legally allow your home basement to be lowered, a few parties need to be present to conduct the process accordingly. First of all, as the owner of the building, you need to be present to authorize and monitor that the underpinning is going according to your plans and expectations. But, before the process even takes place, you need to acquire approval permits from the Toronto Municipal Offices. In addition to that, your house needs to be inspected by the building city inspector in your area and determine whether or not it is allegeable for underpinning. This is mostly based on the foundations and the positioning of the building. If any signs are detected of default and further damage if the contractor goes ahead with the digging, then your house is put out of the list for basement underpinning and other procedures can be considered. Finally, an architect is also needed to perform structural planning and ensure that the process is going on smoothly and conduct the renovation step-by-step until the end. The architect is also in direct contact with the home owner to give updates on how the underpinning is progressing. He/she also provides information on whether the process is going on fine or there are any hitches experienced.
As the owner of the building which is being underpinned, there are certain fees and charges you are subjected to. The most obvious fees is that paid for the construction and installation of the concrete slabs and other works that are done during the procedures. However, the basement underpinning fees will vary depending on the intensity of the job and the square foot of concrete slabs added. As a Toronto home owner, who has been considering basement underpinning, it is important to identify yourself with the overall cost you are most likely to spend. Since basement underpinning is not easy, the fees may be a little higher because a lot of work is needed and has to be carries out carefully. Needless say, the numbers of slabs used also determine the price range if the process.
Despite the benefits that basement underpinning offers, there are dangers associated with the procedure and building. The worst that can befall a building under basement underpinning is the collapsing or sinking down of the building. In case of full collapse, the damages may spread to your neighbor’s home if your proximity is very close like most urban buildings are. Other dangers are posed to the contractor and the workers who may experience exposure to harmful fumes from the machines and materials being used. In rare occasions, one may fall into the excavated ground accidentally and get seriously injured. So, if you are thinking of underpinning your home, then have a look at various insurance options you have and if any feels right, then insure your home in case of any damages that may occur during basement underpinning.
We were thinking about extending our living space in Toronto downtown older home. These guys gave us a good option on getting more height in our basement and to finish it properly. Now we have extra bedroom and washroom that can be easily used for guests or as a rental unit.
Underpinnings.ca gave us awesome explanation of how excavation and lowering of the basement is done. They also included step by step video in the email with a quote. All these little details that the go above and beyond with just did it for us and without hesitation we started the permits and work. Such a great experience with all plumbing and waterproofing!
Our idea was to either do extension of the house on the side or do basement lowering. To our surprise home addition was much complicated and expensive. All quotes were at least double the price of what underpinnings.ca quoted us for giving us extra 2 feet of height and full basement finish. We recommend them to all Torontonians.