All Basement Underpinning Questions and Answers by Toronto Experts
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What is Basement Underpinning?

It is a method of lowering basement footings to allow extra height. It is achieved by braking concrete in your current basement and excavating soil. Your exterior walls as well as support walls have to be extended with concrete to hold the building. Please see images and videos on our website to have better understanding of the process.

How deep should you dig to underpin your basement?

It all depends on current height of your basement and home owner desires. In most cases basements are lowered to have new height of 8 feet and the average underpinning is between 2 and 2.5 feet.

How long does it take to lower the basement?

All basements vary in size and height. All details play a big role in the process of underpinning. The average time for work after permits are granted from the city is 35 days.

How much does basement underpinning cost?

There is no actual formula for calculating the cost for the entire job. Estimator analyzes square footage as well as linear footage of the basement that needs to be lowered. Than he looks at accessibility to dig outside of the house. Another big cost influencer is if equipment can be taken into the current basement or all work has to be done manually. On average basement underpinning costs $80 per square foot in Toronto. The average cost to excavate for lowering the basement is approximately $450 per linear foot.

What permits are required for basement lowering?

For structural work in Toronto it is mandatory to get permits from the city. For basement underpinning and/or basement walkout home owners are required to obtain building permit. In order to do that, licensed architect has to be contacted and application submitted to the city with stamped drawings attached to it. You can do it with help of experienced contractor or directly by finding architect you want to work with.

How much drawings and permits cost?

In 2017 the average cost for service of an architect to complete drawings and obtain permit for basement lowering is $2500. Depending on the size and difficulty of the job, total cost can go up to $4500.

What is approximate time for acquiring the permits from city of Toronto?

Approximate time for building permit in Toronto for basement underpinning is 25 days. But it will wary on difficulty of the drawing and mostly on the time of the year. As we know construction in the city is at its busiest during the summer and permits may take up to 5-6 weeks. During the winter you may be lucky to get everything approved within 2 weeks.

Who can do your basement lowering?

There are several companies in Toronto that are dedicated to basement underpinning and perform it day to day. We are considered as one of the most trusted companies in GTA for doing this type of work. There are waterproofing and drain companies that are able to perform underpinning and finish the job properly, but before you hire them make sure they are capable of providing examples of similar work done as well as proper licenses and insurance.

Best times/season for this sort of project?

During the summer construction industry in Toronto gets very busy. Due to lack of professional companies in the area and high demand for underpinning services you may get higher quotes from companies. It is highly recommended to avoid rainy seasons due to floods. Winters are good for this type of work but you will need cover and heat up parts of the foundation when concrete is poured.

What else is included in underpinning process?

When underpinning is discussed as process, most home owners think of it as just excavation of the basement and setting new foundation. There are many other services that should be included by the professional contractor.

  • Relocating current heating system and water heater.
  • Running new drain pipe for home, while underpinning your basement.
  • Installing new drain system in the new basement floor.
  • Waterproofing the basement walls
  • Installing back water valve
  • Installing sump pump

How soon can we start with your Project?

Depending on the season our force may be booked for several weeks or even month ahead. In most cases we can make ourselves available for your basement underpinning when permits are done if contract is made at the submitting of all drawings.

Do you finish the basement?

Yes, we provide finishing options for your basement. Our team will work with you to select layout and all finishing materials. We can provide all fixtures and furniture directly from manufacturer.

Do you provide architect for completing underpinning drawings?

Yes, we work with several architects and engineers that prepare drawings and submit applications for permit. We can also work with drawings and permits provided by home owner.