What Exactly is a Finished Basement?

services_basementsThe term “finished basement” has become somewhat of a buzz word as of late, and is often tossed around as a selling point.  As such, the definition has become somewhat muddied, and there’s a lot of confusion as to what exactly constitutes a finished basement.  It’s important to be aware of these distinctions as a homeowner looking to remodel, or as a potential home buyer.

Independent Point of Egress

Most provinces and local ordinances require an independent exit (i.e. not through the main house) for a basement to be considered fully finished.  This is mostly for safety concerns, and also makes the basement more convenient and user friendly.  To meet building code in Toronto finished basements must have a separate exit.  Many building codes also require windows, and some also require at least a half bath.

Finished Basement Design

Most new homes are sold with unfinished basements, wherein the floor is concrete, the ceiling is exposed and the walls are bare cinder block.  In order for a basement to be considered fully finished, all of this must change.  There are many basement ceiling options, but the bottom line is that the ceiling must not be exposed.  Basement flooring is also important: carpeting, vinyl flooring, linoleum flooring, engineered wood flooring, stained concrete or tiling are all options depending upon your home’s decor.  The walls must also be covered and painted.

Climate Control

In order to be fully livable, a finished basement must be insulated, heated and cooled.  New homes vary in the degree of climate control already present, so the amount of work necessary to meet this requirement will vary.

Building Code and Legal Concerns

For Toronto basement remodeling, electrical code, plumbing and fire safety must all be carefully observed, particularly if you are considering renting out a basement apartment.  It may be a good idea to find a contractor experienced in basement finishing, so that you can be sure that your finished basement meets code.  Also, when the time comes to sell your home, a professionally remodeled basement that fully meets building codes will be attractive to appraisers and potential buyers alike.  Fortunately for basement finishing Toronto has many well-qualified contractors.

Basement finishing has many benefits, and can increase your home’s value as well as livable square footage.  However, it’s a big job, and it’s important to find a well-qualified contractor and manage your project carefully.

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