Archive for the ‘Basement Renovations’ Category

Renovating Your Basement for Livability

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Renovating a full-height basement can be a relatively easy and cost-effective way to add new living space to your house.

But is your basement really a good candidate for a renovation?

If your basement isn’t high, dry and sound, you should correct these problems before starting renovations.

If you are planning a basement renovation, you should inspect your basement for possible problems.

* Must you stoop to avoid bumping your head on a beam or duct?
* Are there intermittent or permanent traces of moisture or mold on the floor or walls?
* Is there a persistent musty odour in clothing and other objects that are stored in your basement?
* Are there cracks as wide as a pencil, or that appear to widen or shrink, in the walls or floor?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you should include the costs of fixing these problems in your budget.

Preparing the groundwork

Building permit

You must obtain a building permit if you intend to alter the structure of your house, increase the size of windows or exterior doors, or change the occupancy—for instance, by adding a self-contained apartment.

The building permit ensures that the changes respect minimum standards of health and safety. To make a good living space, a basement should be high enough to permit ceiling fixtures or fans with space beneath for a 1.8-m (6-ft.) tall person. Most municipalities require a height of 2.1 m (6.8 ft.) from finished floor to ceiling before they will issue a building permit, which is also the minimum height required by most electrical codes for a ceiling light. Some jurisdictions permit limited obstructions, such as beams and heating duct bulkheads, within this space. Ask your building official what minimum heights are required.

Source: CMHC