Basement Insulation

Basement-Wall-InsulationBasement insulation is a necessary component of basement finishing, and can also make your home more energy-efficient even if you have an unfinished or partially finished basement.  In order to effectively insulate your basement, it is necessary to select the appropriate type of insulation and install it properly.  In many cases, it may be advisable to consult a professional for this project.  For basement finishing Toronto homeowners have many available contractors.

Types of Basement Insulation

There are several different types of basement insulation, and each has its advantages and disadvantages:

Blanket insulation is the most common type of basement insulaton, and is made of flexible fibers, usually fiberglass.  It comes in rolls, sheets or batts, and is hand cut and trimmed to fit the wall studs.  Blanket insulation is cheaper than most other forms of basement insulation, so is a popular choice for this reason.

Rigid foam board insulation is made of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate (polyiso) and polyurethane.  It is highly efficient, and also keeps water vapor in its gaseous state, preventing accumulation of moisture.  For these reasons, rigid foam board insulation is one of the best basement insulation options.

Loose-fill insulation is comprised of small particles of fiber or foam that can conform to any shape or size, and is typically installed by pouring or blowing.  Loose-fill insulation is typically made from cellulose, fiberglass, mineral wool or a combination of two or more components.  Loose-fill insulation isn’t quite as efficient as rigid foam board, but its ease of installation makes it a desirable choice for DIY basement finishing.

Installation Basics

The most important aspect of any basement insulation project is preventing accumulation of moisture in order to prevent mold and water damage.  Because an improper install is a costly mistake, it may be best to seek the help of an experienced basement finishing contractor unless you’re an experienced handyman.  For basement finishing contractors Toronto homeowners have many excellent options.

DIY Basement Finishing

basement-finishing-contractorIf you’re looking to make better use of your basement without breaking the bank, a partial basement renovation may be the best option.  You can also save money by doing part or all of your basement renovation on your own.

 Here we discuss some potential basement renovation options that will make your basement more inviting, but are also inexpensive and easy to install.  For a cheap basement renovation, you may also opt to only install some of the options and leave other features unchanged.

 DIY Basement Flooring

 The most important aspect for any basement floor option is that it be waterproof in the event of a flood.  This protects your investment and helps to prevent costly water damage.

Stained concrete is among the cheapest and easiest basement flooring options.  This involves prepping the surface such that it is smooth and doesn’t show seams using a sander and perhaps a thin layer of special finisher concrete, and then applying a specialized concrete stain and sealant.

If you’re looking for a more advanced but inexpensive option, laminate flooring is another potential basement flooring option.  Advanced amateurs can typically install laminate flooring, but if you’re inexperienced in home repair it may be best left to professionals.  For basement renovation Toronto homeowners have many excellent basement remodeling contractors available.

 DIY Basement Walls

 Simply painting bare walls can significantly improve you basement’s appearance, and the color scheme can be customized to your personal preference.  This is an easy job even if you’re fairly inexperienced in home renovation, and can usually be completed within a day or two.

For a more polished but inexpensive look, you can also use wooden side panels or house siding.  These options are typically a few hundred dollars, and are easily installed by intermediate amateurs.

 DIY Basement Ceilings

 Exposed ceiling are actually quite stylish at the moment, so a simple coat of paint could be an excellent finished basement ceiling option.  We recommend opting for darker colors that minimize contrast.  A paint sprayer might make this job easier.  Most local hardware stores offer fairly inexpensive paint sprayer rental.

If you’re after a more polished look, you can also install a drop ceiling, similar to those seen in office buildings and schools.  This is easily installed by most amateurs, but if you don’t have much home renovation and repair experience, it may be best to consult a professional.

We’d love to hear about your own DIY basement finishing experiences and ideas as a homeowner.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Basement Finishing Ideas

basementMost homes are sold with unfinished basements, which are usually used for extra storage space or as storm shelters.  However, your basement is an untapped source of extra square footage, and a finished basement can be a great place to enjoy your family and entertain guests.

 Because a finished basement is considered to be bonus space in most cases, the possibilities for basement finishing ideas are endless.  There are many potential uses for a finished basement, and your family’s hobbies, interests and priorities will play a role in determining the best fit.  A Toronto basement finishing contractor can help you to develop a customized renovation plan to fit your needs.

Family Friendly

Finished basements make an excellent play space for younger children.  If you are looking to designate part or all of your finished basement as a play area, choose wall and flooring options that are durable and resistant to wear and tear.  Also make sure that your design and décor are safe and kid-friendly.

Older children or teens may appreciate some recreation space with games and TV.  Allowing some flexibility in your finished basement design will help you to transition your setup as your kids’ interests change over the years.

 Entertaining and Hosting

 Many homeowners use finished basements as a space for entertaining guests.  Wet bars and entertainment systems are often popular options if you’re intending to use your finished basement to host parties or other visitors.

You may also want to convert your basement to a guest bedroom if you plan to host out of town guests on a regular basis.  For a basement guest bedroom, it’s ideal to install a full bath so that your guests can enjoy convenience and privacy.  This also makes company a little less intrusive for homeowners.

 Home Theatre

 Finished basements are also frequently used as home theaters.  A basement home theater setup can be as simple as a TV and couch, but can also be very advanced with a projector and specialized theater audio and seating.

Most homeowners opt for a happy medium between these extremes.  Your basement renovation contractor can help you determine the scope of this project.  Fortunately for basement remodeling Toronto homeowners have many well-qualified contractors available.

 Multipurpose Space

 You can also use your finished basement for two or more purposes, for example as both a playroom and entertaining space.  In this case it may be best to divide your space by installing additional walls.  This makes the basement renovation a little more advanced, but also makes the finished product more enjoyable.

If you’re currently in the process of finishing your basement or are planning a basement renovation, we’d love to hear your own basement finishing ideas in the comments section.

Finished Basement Bar Design

finished-basement-bar

The style of your basement bar can be customized to match your home’s decor, and also your own personal sense of style.  A qualified design professional can help you to design your basement bar and ensure a quality build.

Cabinets

Your bar’s cabinets stand out the most, and will be the main focus of the room.  Therefore, they should be carefully selected and designed.  For a sleek, modern look, black cabinets with a gloss finish may cultivate the design you’re after.  Wood finishing lends itself to an Irish pub or rustic look, particularly darker woods.  The fixtures also substantially influence your cabinets’ look.

Bar Top

There are many available bar top options for your finished basement bar.  A granite top creates a look that is contemporary yet classic.  A wooden top lends a more rustic style, and is perfect for a pub look.  For a sleek, modern style, a glass top may be best.

Plumbing

Ideally, you will want to have a sink and preferably dish washer built into your bar.  This makes things more convenient, and creates a more polished look.  However, any mistakes in new plumbing can be very costly, so this may be best left toe the experts.

Appliances

You will need a refrigerator and/or wine cooler to keep beverages chilled.  If you plan to serve beer frequently, you can purchase or build a kegerator, which chills and dispenses a keg of beer.  A dishwasher also makes things more convenient, as it’s easier wash bar wear on site rather than toting it upstairs to be washed.

A basement bar makes entertaining easier and more enjoyable, and makes your home more appealing to potential buyers when it’s time to sell.  With the help of a qualified professional, you can create the perfect centerpiece for your finished basement.

Basement Wall Options

basement wallMost new homes are sold with unfinished basements, which are used for storage and as storm shelters.  Basement finishing turns this untapped resource into livable space, increasing your home’s value and your enjoyment of your home. Most unfinished basements have cinder block or poured concrete walls.  In order to finish your basement, the walls must be covered in some way.  There are many potential basement wall options, and the right option will depend upon your budget, decor and intended usage for your finished basement.

Drywall

Drywall is very versatile, as it can be textured, painted, or covered in wallpaper.  For basements, it is best to use mold-resistant drywall to protect against any potential plumbing mishaps.

Wood Paneling

Wood paneling can be used to create a cozy, homey look.  It can also be painted over or covered in paintable wallpaper if you wish to change your look down the road.

Plywood

Plywood is fairly economical, and is also easy to cut in your desired size and install over wall studs.  Additionally, plywood does not absorb as much moisture after painting as drywall, and may be more resistant to any water damage.

Paint

If you are looking for a simple, low-cost option, you can opt to simply paint over concrete or brick walls.  While this may not be as well-finished as other options, it is certainly the most economical basement wall option and is water resistant.  This could be a good option for play rooms or rec rooms.

There are many wall options for finished basements.  Your budget, home decor, basement design and intended purpose for your finished basement will determine the best option for you.  A qualified design professional can help you to select the best option for your needs.  For basement finishing Toronto area residents have many well-qualified basement remodeling contractors available.

Basement Ceiling Options

basement remodelingMost houses are sold with unfinished basements that have bare ceilings, leaving unsightly duct work and plumbing exposed.  For a basement to be considered finished, the ceiling must be covered.  There are many available basement ceiling options, and your budget, decor and intended usage for your finished basement will dictate which basement ceiling option is right for you.

Multilevel Ceilings

With some creative planning, you can contour your basement’s ceiling to cover the ducts and pipes with drywall paneling.  You can coordinate these levels with the floor plan to define different activity zones of your basement.

Siding Panels

One of the more simple basement ceiling options is to simply cover the ceiling with siding panels.  You can select the paneling to fit your desired decor.  This creates a uniform ceiling that allows your basement to appear just as finished as any other room.

Tray Ceilings

Another option is to box in duct work, which is usually on the perimeter of the basement, and create a tray ceiling.  You can accent the perimeter of the tray with molding to create a more finished, refined look.

Cover with Paint

If you’re looking for cheap basement finishing, you can simply cover the entire ceiling with a uniform coating of paint.  Darker colors are best for this option, as they put less emphasis on the contrasts of the duct work.

Laminate Planks

Laminate planks are another potential basement ceiling option.  Laminate planks are available in many different designs, and can be customized to fit your basement’s decor.

Drop Ceiling

Drop ceilings, which are commonly found in office buildings, schools and other institutional buildings, provide a finished look but keep duct work accessible for maintenance and renovations.  This option is also more economical than some other basement ceilings, so may be best if you’re on a budget.

Your basement’s ceiling can be customized to fit your decor, budget, and intended usage for your finished basement.  A qualified basement finishing contractor can help you to select the best basement ceiling option.  Fortunately for basement finishing Toronto area residents have many available well-qualified contractors.

Potential Uses for a Finished Basement

services_basementsMost new homes are sold with unfinished basements, which are used for extra storage space, laundry rooms and storm shelters.  However, your basement is an untapped source of square footage, and a good basement finishing job can turn it into a space just as inviting as the rest of your home.  Because basements are “bonus square footage” homeowners often use finished basements as recreation space or to support a specific interest or purpose.

A finished basement is a great investment, as you will be able to enjoy your home more, and your home will be more valuable and easier to sell when the time comes to put it on the market.  Finished basements are often used for the following purposes, and allow homeowners to get the most out of their home.

Man Cave

Guys like to retreat to an space that’s exclusively theirs after a long day to relax and generally decompress.  A finished basement is a great refuge for most men, as it’s somewhat separate from the rest of the house, and can be customized to their interests and hobbies.

Recreation or Hobby Room

A finished basement can be a great place to enjoy hobbies or games that require more square footage than you’d otherwise have available.

Entertaining Space

Basements typically span all or most of a home’s floor plan, so usually consist of a continuous large room before they’re finished.  A finished basement can thus be an ideal entertaining space for hosting large gatherings of friends and family.

Home Theater or Media Room

Basements are separate from the rest of the house and are fairly soundproof even in their unfinished state, so make excellent home theaters for movie lovers and electronics enthusiasts.

Basement Apartment

A finished basement can be converted to an apartment, which can be rented out to tenants in order to supplement mortgage payments or build savings.  A basement apartment is also ideal for elderly parents or adult children, as it allows more privacy for the occupants.

There are many possible uses for a finished basement that can make your home more enjoyable, and allow more flexibility in your living space.  Basement finishing is an extensive undertaking, and some aspects of the project may be best left to professionals.  Fortunately for basement remodeling Toronto residents have access to many qualified basement finishing contractors, and a beautiful finished basement is easily attainable.

Basement Flooring

basement flooring solutionBasement flooring is an important component of basement finishing, basement renovation and basement remodel.  However, basement flooring requires some special considerations, and should be chosen carefully.  The primary practical concern with basement flooring is flooding, whether natural or man-made.  Any basement flooring should be waterproof and able to dry out with little or no damage in the event of a flood.

The following options are ideal for basement flooring. Your decision will depend upon your home’s design, your personal preferences, your finished basement’s intended usage and your budget.

Concrete

Concrete, whether painted or stained, is the most simple basement flooring option.  Stained concrete is increasingly popular, and inexpensive and easy to care for.  However, concrete is the coldest flooring option, and some homeowners still prefer more traditional flooring.

Tile

Tile is an excellent option for finished basements, as it is highly waterproof, can be installed directly on the slab with uncoupling membrane, can be heated and is considered to be a fully finished surface.  Tile and grout color can also be selected to match any decor or color scheme.

Vinyl

Vinyl, or resilient, flooring, is another excellent option as it is waterproof and easy to maintain.  Sheet vinyl flooring yields a uniform surface that is impervious to standing water, while tile vinyl flooring gives a look similar to ceramic tile but can be problematic if standing water remains for long.  Vinyl flooring is also more economical in comparison to tile.

 Laminate

Laminate flooring offers a variety of designs and colors and can be waterproof and non-waterproof. You should follow manufacturer recommendation for which areas the particular laminate is used best. Laminate flooring must be installed over a sub-floor so is warmer than other options, but can also cause a hollow feeling under your feet.

Carpet

Carpeting may be preferred particularly for basement apartments, as it allows a plush, homey feeling and is the warmest flooring option.  However, carpeting can be difficult to dry out in the event of a severe flood, so this option should be carefully considered.

 Engineered Wood Flooring

Traditional wood flooring can be a dangerous option for basement flooring, as any flooding will cause catastrophic damage.  However, engineered wood flooring consists of a real wood veneer glued over a plywood base, and is waterproof in light flooding.  This is one of the most attractive basement flooring options, but is relatively expensive.

Flooring dramatically impacts a room’s decor and general ambiance, so should be chosen carefully.  Moreover, basement flooring has some practical needs that must be taken into account.  Discuss potential options with your basement remodeling contractor to find the best fit for your project.  Many Toronto basement renovation specialists are available to assist you in your basement remodel.

Finished Basement Amenities

services_basementsMost new homes are sold with unfinished basements, which are then used as extra storage space and as storm shelters.  However, you can turn your basement into livable space by finishing it.  This can increase your family’s enjoyment of your home, and also add value.

There is a basic set of requirements for a basement to be considered fully finished, including closed ceilings, flooring, wall covering, climate control and an independent exit, but additional features make your basement more enjoyable and practical for your intended usage.  These amenities may also make your home more appealing to potential buyers when the time comes to sell it.

If you’re considering a basement remodel, it may be helpful to think of which features you’d like to include for your family’s enjoyment of your newly finished basement.  Take a look at these finished basement ideas to help decide what exactly you’re looking for.

Bars

Many homeowners plan to use their finished basements for entertaining, and in this case a bar may be a great addition.  A bar can simply be a freestanding counter, but can also be built into a wall or contain a faucet and/or taps for dispensing frosty beverages of your choice.

Windows

Windows may be required by your area’s building code, but even as an optional feature they add a lot to a finished basement’s appeal.  They the space up visually, and let in ntural light.

Walls and Doorways

Depending upon your basement’s size and intended usage, walls and doorways may contribute to its practicality.  This can make your basement a true extension of your home rather than simply an enjoyable place to pass the time.

Bathrooms

A half-bath may be required by local building code, but either way a bathroom can make your finished basement more convenient and enjoyable.  This is particularly important if you’re considering renting out your basement to tenants.

Basement finishing is a big job, so it’s important to plan the project carefully and perhaps to bring in a qualified basement remodeling contractor.  Many Toronto basement renovation professionals are highly qualified, and can help you to create the environment you have in mind.

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.