Basement Renovations Guide

Basement Renovations

Basement renovations overall are one of the most popular home renovations. Finishing a basement can nearly double the amount of living space in a home for a very low cost, when they are done right. The biggest appeal of any basement renovation is that it costs a fraction of the price of adding onto a home with relatively little permitting, since you don’t have to pour more slab to add space to the home. The ease of doing basement renovations to add living space means upgrading the basement won’t price your home out of the local market while significantly increasing its value.

What are the pros and cons of different basement renovations?


One of the most popular forms of basement renovations is to turn part of the basement into bedrooms. A basement remodel into bedrooms has a far higher ROI than the 73% ROI of an attic bedroom because there’s no need to reinforce the floor, add stairs or other structural changes.

Master suite additions have a roughly 40% to 50% return on investment. However, moving the master bedroom into the basement has a low ROI. Conversely, renovating the basement to include bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen that let it sit as a separate mother-in-law suite will appeal to multi-generational families. If the project qualifies as a mortgage helping apartment you can rent out, then the ROI goes up dramatically.

Note that if you plan on turning a basement into a full suite, the next thing on the list is installing a bathroom. Don’t try to install a bathroom yourself downstairs. Even a half-bath with an upflush toilet needs to be installed by a pro.

Home Office Remodels

Home offices have a much lower rate of return than bedrooms – about a 43% ROI. However, remodeling a space in the basement so that it can serve as either a bedroom or an office has a high rate of return. Design living spaces that can be used in different ways, such as a large bedroom that can double as an office or game room, is one of your best bets. YMM Contracting Inc. can help you turn a basement into a general purpose room that doubles as an office.

General Family Rooms

Throwing up walls and installing flooring like wall to wall carpeting (assuming no moisture issues) is an affordable way to add living space to your home. Put a couch, TV and gaming consoles in one corner and toy boxes in the other and you have a play room.

Factors to Consider for Your Basement Renovation

When it comes to basement renovations, you rarely have issues with insufficient headroom. If the basement doesn’t offer more than two meters of clearance, you might get permission to dig out the concrete floor to gain clearance, though this is expensive. Rerouting pipes and ventilation ducts adds to the cost of the project. Before you assume you can refinish the whole basement, call in a home renovation firm to find out how much immediately usable space you have. You might want to develop one living area in the basement now and plan and save up for a full basement renovation later.

However, temperature control remains a serious concern. Before you start throwing up sheet wall, make sure there’s sufficient insulation in the basement. Insulate pipes before you put up drywall, and make certain that standard drywall with paper coating isn’t used. Its paper coating and gypsum core will crumble when used below grade. You can use Teflon coated fabric for the look of linen while preventing moisture buildup in the wall material.

Moisture control measures like sealing basement walls are a minimum, while a sump pump may be needed. If the basement has ever had flooding problems and you’re planning on turning it into living space, add a backup sump pump that can run on batteries so a bad storm doesn’t take out your only pump while pouring water into your newly renovated space. A water powered backup pump is a good alternative to a battery powered one if you have a connection to the municipal water supply. YMM Contracting Inc. knows how to make sure your renovated basement remains comfortable for years to come.

Always have the basement inspected for insects and rot before you start any renovation project. And check the floor joists before you start any renovation, because it is easier to make structural repairs or install reinforcements now than after you’ve put in a new ceiling, walls and floor. Another safety factor is having the furnace, if it is located in the basement, checked for carbon monoxide buildup. This can occur below grade even if it doesn’t set off alarms in the house proper.

Lighting is often overlooked in basement renovations but is a must. If you don’t add windows to the basement, bright lights are essential. If the basement has several good windows, this is a natural spot for your socializing areas like a game room or living room. Bedrooms must have an egress, and most basement windows don’t meet safety standards, so an egress window may need to be installed.

Access to the basement shouldn’t be overlooked. Upgrading the stairs from the rickety ones you sometimes went down to reset the furnace to broad, strong stairs that take heavy traffic should be on your to do list. Installing a separate entryway to the basement from the new living area is a nice to have unless you’re turning the basement into an apartment, at which point a separate walk out could be necessary for your privacy and sanity.  YMM Contracting Inc. can add these additional entry ways whether you want to let the kids escape to the backyard through the basement playroom or give Mom her own entrance to the house when you turn the basement into a suite.