3 Must-Know Facts About Basement Renovation Projects

Assuming that you’re planning to turn it into an additional living space, building a basement will take more than just digging a hole in your backyard and calling it a day. Basement renovations can be just as complicated—if not more—than building an entire single-detached home from scratch. After all, it means dealing with the moisture, insulation, and special design considerations that come with basement renovations.

Unless you have the requisite experience, it’s best to leave basement renovations to expert contractors. However, as a homeowner, having a good grasp of the process can help you keep a keen eye on the project’s progress.

Here are three facts about basement renovation that you need to know:

  1. You’ll need to know the code

The specific provisions may differ in particular localities; however, in general, homeowners looking to do a basement renovation need to apply for a building permit. Put simply, any work that can affect the structural integrity of your home, such as renovations, electrical work, plumbing upgrades, will need to follow code and pass inspection.

  1. Moisture is a major concern

Keeping excess moisture away from your walls is always a challenge in construction projects. However, they can be a nightmare for basements because of its underground location. Water from the soil can easily seep through cracks and into untreated walls—resulting in mould growth and wreaking havoc on your fixtures.

Construction crews with experience in basement renovations will ensure that the ground is always graded away from the foundation. They will also repair and treat any cracks before entering the finishing phase.

Taking care of any cracks, leaks, and grading the ground away from the foundation is only half of your battle against moisture. Since concrete is porous by nature, groundwater can still seep through the concrete and escape through the path of least resistance. For this reason, most contractors prefer adding a vapour barrier to both the walls and floors before framing and finishing off the surfaces.

For good measure, consider creating an offset space from the wall. This can be achieved by adding thin slats of wood or metal furring strips. Besides preventing moisture from compromising your framing, these strips can also correct wall imperfections to create a flat surface for adding framing.

  1. Mind the overhead space

Most people don’t expect to have high ceilings for their basement spaces. However, you probably don’t want to be slouching all the time inside your basement, either. When accounting for overhead space, ensure that you’re factoring in the easy access for electrical and plumbing lines.

Most contractors and homeowners prefer using drop ceilings for this very purpose. They will reduce the amount of overhead space available, so keep that in mind during the planning phase. Check with your local code for any guidance that you need to follow in this regard.


Basement renovations are a great way to increase the available space on your property. Most people are leery of building such areas, and finishing them can be a challenge because of moisture issues. However, they are excellent as recreational spaces or as an additional bedroom for a growing family—and they increase your home’s property value too! For the best results, it’s best to check in with professional contractors near your area.

Are you looking for a reliable contractor to handle your basement renovation? At SWO General Contracting, we use our over 25 years of experience to help you build the home of your dreams! We do kitchens, bathrooms, and basement finishes in London, Ontario, and other nearby areas. Contact us today and get started on building your dream home!

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