Things to Consider Before Renovating Your Basement

Basement Renovation Considerations

Renovating your basement is an excellent opportunity to add functional living space, comfort and value to your home, whether you were wondering if you should finish your basement before selling or add value for yourself. Whether you have an idea to add a guest suite, create a home theatre or gym space, or use it as a home office or for additional storage, the possibilities are endless.

A big project like this also requires a lot of planning to ensure it can be realized without hitting any negative surprises. In this article, we have listed a few important things to consider before renovating your basement.

Important things to consider before renovating your basement

1. Building permits

One of the most important things to consider is the potential need for building permits. Every municipality has different sets of rules and regulations for alterations to a building. Depending on your plans for your basement, it is critical to closely study the regulations and get the necessary building permits before starting your project. So it is vital to know permit requirements before you begin finalizing your design, as they can influence what you can do.

Not getting the required building permits before starting the work can result in fines and hassle. You can find out everything about permits by calling your city. They will also be able to provide you with details on the submission process, cost and wait times.

2. Set a Budget

Basement renovations can get quite expensive, so setting up a budget for what you can and want to afford for remodelling is critical. There are many factors to consider, not just the materials and finishes, but also permits and as one of the most significant factors, labour. It is vital to keep your budget in mind when creating your design plan.

3. Create a Design Plan

You have to ensure your design is as detailed as possible. Depending on your plans for your basement, it is critical to put down your ideas and research materials, finishes, colours and more. Some designs will require plumbing or electrical work, some might need structural adjustments for windows or doors, which can significantly influence the cost of the renovations.

Due to the many options and styles, it can be overwhelming for homeowners to put their ideas into an actual design plan properly. A professional basement renovation contractor such as Senso Design can help you develop your ideas into a plan. They have the experience and expertise to outline the options available to realise your ideas. They also have a broad understanding of the cost involved for materials and labour. Senso Design’s professional designers provide up to three free designs for your project so that you can make an informed decision.

4. Check Foundation

The foundation is a critical part of your home as it is responsible for the majority of the structural integrity of the whole house. This is why inspecting the foundation for any cracks, or other faults that could allow moisture to seep into your basement is essential. Cracks can occur for various reasons, such as improper curing, the terrain settling, standing water or tree roots. If left untreated, it can have grave consequences as moisture can damage walls and flooring and potentially allow mould and mildew to grow and cause potentially severe health issues.

This is why waterproofing your basement is essential to prevent this from happening and causing costly repairs. This includes ensuring proper drainage on the outside to keep water away from your foundation. Also, consider proper ventilation, especially if you want to add a bathroom or kitchen, for example, both of which can create a fair amount of moisture in the air.

5. Lighting Options

One thing a lot of basements lack is natural lighting. Your plan should include as many windows as possible for natural light. If this is not possible, you have to consider different types of lighting, depending on the use of the basement. For example, a home office or guest suite will require brighter lighting than a home theatre. Depending on the available space, there are different types, such as recessed lighting, LEDs, fluorescent or incandescent.

6. Window Installation and Safety

Natural lighting is not the only reason to consider windows. If you decide to put a bathroom into your basement or if you intend to turn your basement into a guest suite or even a rental suite, you must install an egress window. A room cannot be considered a bedroom if it does not have a way of egress. An egress window must be large enough for a firefighter in full gear to enter a burning house and for any occupants to escape in the case of a fire blocking stairways.

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7. Flooring Options

Flooring is a very important factor to take into consideration. Depending on what your plans for your basement are, there are many different options available for you. You can choose from ceramic tiles, carpet and carpet tiles, laminate, vinyl or engineered wood, to name just a few examples, which enables you to find the right type for your design. Also, keep in mind that as basements often are considerably cooler than the main level, you might want to check into heated flooring if your budget allows.

8. Check your Stairwells

The stairwell is one area that has to meet strict Building Code regulations for safety reasons. When evaluating your basement for your design plans, pay close attention that any alterations you make to your staircase don’t infringe on safety regulations.

9. Check Your Heating

Depending on the current use of your basement, your HVAC system may or may not be up to servicing your basement as well. So, check your system and factor it into your budget.

Also Read: 6 Benefits of a Finished Basement for Homeowners


With all the many options you have to turn your basement into, there also are many differen t things to consider before renovating the basement. It can be overwhelming to get all of your ideas into a design plan.

Senso Design is a leading basement renovation contractor in Toronto and the GTA and has over 20 years of experience in woodworking and interior design. We work with the largest Western European manufacturers using the most advanced German and Italian equipment to ensure the best possible quality.

We think outside the box and don’t try to force preconceived ideas on our customers but work with you to realize your ideas. The professional designers of Senso Design will be able to help you find the right style, profile and materials. We also provide up to three free designs for your project.

Senso Design offers free, no-obligation consultations, so contact us today at 416-900-3675 to find out about your options and how we can help you realise the basement of your dreams. Our prices are guaranteed to stay the same as when you signed the order.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to start finishing my basement?

First of all, you will need a concrete idea and a budget. Based on this, you can create a design plan, either by yourself or with the help of a professional designer. Once you have the design in place, it is critical to check rules and regulations if you will require building permits. Then you can either begin the renovation yourself or have a professional contractor do the work.

What adds the most value to a basement?

This depends on what your intentions for your basement are. You can turn your basement into a rental unit, which you can use to offset part of your mortgage, adding financial value. Another option is the additional comfort and/or functional living space for you and your family.

What is the hardest part of a finished basement?

This depends on the type of finishing you are going for, such as if you need to make structural alterations, such as adding windows or doors, or if you want to add a bathroom or kitchen, which will require electrical and plumbing work.

How can I improve my basement?

Finishing your basement can bring different improvements to your basement. It can add functional living space, storage or a home office, create a home theatre, generate potential rental income and much more. So, if you have ever asked yourself “is finishing a basement worth it?”, it definitely is.

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