Renovate Your Basement

Want more living space in your home but don’t want to build up or out? Then think about renovating your basement.

Main floor family rooms have been the trend in many newer homes, but when there is no extra outdoor space for an addition or you want to save money, your basement may be the answer to your space problems.

This isn’t a return to the “rec” room of the past. With the variety of new materials and innovative building techniques available today, the sky’s the limit for the lowest level of your home. Light-toned floorings and wall coverings and specialty lighting can turn even a dark, cramped space into a cozy, pleasant room. Whether it’s a home theatre, a games room, a home office, an exercise gym or just a place to relax at the end of the day, with the right paint, furnishings, wall and floor coverings, you can create almost any atmosphere you want.

Converting a basement into a comfortable living space also have several advantages. It usually costs less to renovate a basement than to build an addition. Basements are also removed from the main household traffic areas, making them the perfect place to watch a movie, work from home or give the kids their own space.

Before deciding what to include in a basement renovation, determine what your family will benefit from the most in years to come. If you plan to knock down walls and install creature comforts such as a home spa, wine cellar, big screen television, pool or shuffleboard tables, be sure to measure the cost against the long-term use of these features. Also, take measurements; you want to be sure you can fit big-size items down the stairs and into your new space.

Most basements present two key problems: too much moisture and a lack of natural light. Any renovation plans should try to compensate for both.


If the air in your basement feels damp occasionally, the solution may be as simple as adding a number of dehumidifiers to the new rooms. Most basement wetness/moisture is caused by inadequate drainage away from the house and foundation. Landscaping improvements around the exterior of your home can often resolve this problem. You may want to consult with a basement specialist before deciding what to do.


Most basements, even ones with walkouts, lack natural light. A wide variety of lighting fixtures and features are available today to help you solve that problem. Task lighting, dimmers, accent and other forms of lighting can be used to provide the brightness and atmosphere you want for different rooms or activities.

Other problems

Turning a basement into a high-quality living space can present significant problems in some homes, especially older ones. A variety of posts, ducts and other structural challenges can turn a simple project into a complex renovation exercise. Some older homes, for example, have low basement ceilings. To get more head room or meet building standards, the basement floor may have to be lowered. This is an expensive and difficult undertaking. Most people will benefit from hiring a reputable basement renovation company to do this kind of major work.

Hiring a contractor

If you plan to hire a contractor to do the renovation, interview and get quotes from several before selecting one. A good contractor will be able to advise you on everything that’s needed to create the kind of space you want for the amount of money you have in mind.

When you select a company, be sure to get a signed contract that outlines in detail the scope of the work and the payment schedule.