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Bench Footings


Bench footings, also referred to as benching is a basement lowering process that is meant to add living space to your home at an affordable price and in a shorter time. If you have been longing to change your basement into a more useful space and want to modify it say to a study room or bedroom, benching would be a nice way to fulfill your needs.


Bench footing can be easily done and is not as involving as underpinning which is more expensive and takes longer to implement. That aside, bench footing is ideal for you if you want to increase living space without interfering with the house’s foundation.

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When Does Your Home Need

Bench Footings?

Bench footing is an ideal solution for your basement lowering for the fact that you need extra space for your home and you need to add value to your home. The idea comes to mind if your foundation walls have cracked or are buckled. A weak foundation can prove to be very detrimental to your home’s standing strength and may result in partial collapse or sinking of the house. So, there is a need to maintain the foundation’s firmness and strength so that it can effectively hold down the building structure.

Basement lowering – The simplest answer of why it is necessary to do basement bench footing is to increase the height of the basement. In most old houses, the basement was planned during construction as a technical room or was used as a warehouse for unnecessary things. In such a basement it is inconvenient to move around. Their height is usually 5.5 – 6 feet. You can significantly increase the height of the basement with the help of modern technologies to create a full-fledged living space in it. You will be able to place a gym, an extra bedroom, or any other room of your choice. This modification of the house is much cheaper than adding a floor to the house.


Cracked basement walls – Basement bench footing is a great solution when you start noticing structural wall damage in your basement. These construction works will not only increase the height of your basement. They will also strengthen the strength of the walls and foundation of the house. The architect evaluates the condition of the walls during bench footing, which serves as a guarantee of their quality. A new foundation will also be poured and the old drain and plumbing systems will be replaced in the course of the work, which will have a positive impact on the condition of your home.


Increase value before selling a house – Bench footing of the basement can be a great investment for increasing home value if you are considering selling it. You will greatly expand your home’s living space by creating a spacious 8-foot-high basement. It can be used to create additional rooms. The cost of bench footing in Toronto is significantly less than the cost of the resulting living space. In addition, you will be able to interest a much larger number of buyers because they do not have to spend time on these works.


Create a place for rent – As we mentioned earlier, a spacious basement can house many rooms. This is a great opportunity to rent out this space as a separate unit. A lot of homeowners who are in the business of renting out houses take advantage of this. The cost of bench footing is much cheaper than underpinning and therefore it is a great solution in this case. This will help accommodate more tenants in the house and make a significant profit from the monthly rent.

Step by Step Bench Footings Installation

Bench footing is a basement lowering process whereby extra support is added to your home using bench footing at the corners of the foundation walls. The basement level is lowered to a preferred depth and the foundation structures are widened for a more stable home. Well, in a simplified manner, here is the step-by-step guide to how benching is conducted by contractors in Toronto.

Demolition of everything that is in the basement must be carried out before starting work on installing bench footing. It is necessary to take out all things and dismantle equipment and finishing materials if the basement was fully used.
The most time-consuming process at this stage will be the demolition of an old concrete slab. In most cases, this procedure is done manually due to the inability to deliver equipment to the basement. The room must be completely ready for digging the soil after this stage. It is necessary to fix the ceiling using jack posts if there are load-bearing walls in the center of the basement. They guarantee the stability of the building during construction work.

The next step is to excavate the soil and deepen the foundation of the house. The first step is to dig a trench along the walls. After digging the trench, this place must be fixed with wooden formwork into which concrete will be poured to create a concrete bench at the next stage of work. The bench will protect your basement from soil from outside the house.
You can start digging the soil from the central part of the basement after the trench has been dug and reinforced. This is a very time-consuming process which in most cases is carried out with the help of shovels. You can proceed to the next stage of work by digging the soil to a certain depth and removing it from the basement.

The architect must check all completed work after the excavation. He checks the new basement depth and the quality of the installed formwork for the concrete bench. The construction company cannot proceed to the next stage without getting approval from the architect.

Pouring concrete into a pre-prepared formwork is carried out at this stage. Concrete is fed into the basement using a special chute, which greatly simplifies the work. In the absence of access, workers bring in the concrete by hand and evenly pour it into the wooden formwork to create a concrete bench.
No air must remain inside the concrete. Otherwise, there will be air cavities inside the bench that will violate its structural integrity. Concrete will need 2-3 days to harden and take the desired shape.

All drain systems were located under the foundation and were dismantled and turned off while excavating the soil for a newfound depth. Connection and installation of new drain systems and all pipes that are used for the house are done at this stage. The drainage system must be installed according to the drawings.
Also at this stage, sump pumps are installed. This is a great modern way to protect the basement of the house from excessive moisture and leaks. You can learn more about sump pumps from our managers.

It is time to install the basement waterproofing after all pipe communications have been made and the concrete benches have been strengthened. The basement is partly underground and must be protected from water from the soil.
Bench footings are covered with a special delta membrane from the interior side of the basement. A layer of drainage gravel is poured onto the ground to provide waterproofing for the foundation. A special waterproofing material is also laid on top of the gravel, which will allow the future concrete slab not to come into contact with moisture.

The final step of installing bench footing is the pouring of the concrete slab. The concrete slab must be smooth and with a predetermined slope for optimal drainage performance. Drying concrete slab can take up to a week depending on the time of year and other factors.
A concrete slab will finally harden in a couple of months, but after a week its strength will be enough for finishing work. At this stage, the bench footing process is complete and all that remains is to remove the debris.

Pros of Bench Footings over Underpinning


Bench footings as a basement lowering process have several benefits and importance which the homeowner enjoys after installation is done. Comparing bench footings and underpinning, as much as underpinning is preferred by most homeowners, benching also has its advantages. Benching is better in that:


Less labor intensive  – Bench footings are less labor intensive than basement underpinning. Workers need to dig out less soil, which simplifies the process. This affects all important aspects of the process of construction work.


Cheaper – The best news for homeowners is that the cost of bench footing is lower than underpinning. The price often plays a decisive role when choosing a way of deepening the basement.


Takes less time – Basement bench footing is slightly faster than basement underpinning due to the simpler technical process. The construction process can take up to 4 weeks. This is good news for those who want to continue furnishing the new part of their home as quickly as possible.


Modify the benches – Concrete benches are very visible in the newly deepened basement after the completion of finishing works. Do not be upset because they can be easily used in the interior or hidden with the help of furniture. They can be hidden behind kitchen cabinets, and bedroom furniture or used as shower benches in the bathroom.

Pros of Bench Footings

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Demerits of bench footings

Benching also has disadvantages, a reason why most Toronto home owners prefer Underpinning. The demerits of bench footings are based on the space left once the installation and decoration of the basement has been complete. Due to the benches created, the living space is reduced and appears smaller in size. In addition to that, during digging and preparing to create the bench footings, you cannot excavate the soil to your preferred depth and need to determine the stability of the house before doing so.


In case you tried digging up and the faultiness in the foundation walls are severe, the damage caused can be so disastrous and lead to worse problems. The bench footings created are also a hindrance to the walls since they protrude a distance from the wall. It is also not as effective as underpinning in fixing cracks in the wall structures and may require additional fees to repair the cracks.

Demerits Of Bench Footings
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Finding contractor for benching

as a solution for basement lowering


Bench footing is structural construction work that requires skills and knowledge. A good contractor understands your needs and what is required to complete the job successfully.


Basement benching does not require much work, but the professional you hire and his team need to familiarize themselves with your home and determine whether they can go ahead to add the bench footings or use a different method to achieve the same benefits.


VMB Group has been performing basement bench footing for over 15 years. Our team of professionals responsibly approaches each stage of work, taking into account the wishes of the homeowner. Fill out the form and our manager will contact you to discuss your wishes and agree on a free estimate.

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