You have heard of basement underpinning services, but you’re not sure what they mean or why you would want to sign on for them. Read ahead to get the 101 on basement underpinning and learn the most popular reasons for doing it.

What Is Underpinning?

Underpinning is a complicated renovation that increases the height of a basement. Instead of increasing that height by making adjustments to the ceiling, underpinning lowers the foundation to add more space.

We start by digging out the floor underneath. We pour in new concrete and install underpins (supports from below). Underpins help maintain the building’s structure during the renovation process. They also strengthen the home’s structural integrity and give our contractors a chance to repair any visible foundation cracks.

Once that step is complete, we excavate the floor to its desired height. Then, concrete is added to increase the strength of the footings and foundation wall. We then excavate the remaining soil. At this point, the basement should be taller than before and we can do other services like waterproofing if our client asks for it. 

It’s important that you choose trained professionals like NTL Contracting and Waterproofing to accomplish this task. It is not a task that should be attempted by amateurs. If the process is done poorly, there is a risk of serious structural damage and collapse. You want to call up a company that is highly trained and reliable. 

Why Underpinning?

There are some other renovation options that can increase the ceiling height of a basement. There is “benching,” which is often compared to underpinning. With benching, contractors build a ledge (a “bench”) around the sides of the walls for the sake of structural strength. The flooring inside that area is lowered, but not the entire foundation. While it’s faster to complete, it doesn’t give homeowners the same height or structural strength as underpinning. Plus, the ledge will cut off some of the basement space. 

You could also lift the house. This would be a complete overhaul of your basement from the foundation upward. This would be much more invasive and expensive than underpinning the basement.  

So, underpinning is a good compromise where you get strong results without redoing the entire design of your house.

Why Would You Do It?

Raising the height of the ceiling is a simple explanation. These are some of the more specific reasons why people underpin their basements. 

You Want More Space for Yourself

The most common reason why you would want basement underpinning services in Toronto is that you want to have more room in your basement so that it looks better aesthetically or it makes for a more comfortable living space. You can transform a slightly cramped area into the perfect spot for a den, a laundry room, a home gym or a guest bedroom. Adding a few inches to the ceiling can really make a difference. 

Making the change will do more than add height to the ceilings. It will also bring in more natural light from windows, making the space feel lighter and brighter. You don’t have to worry about having a dark, gloomy basement any longer. 

There are lots of design tricks to make a basement look bigger than it really is, but they will never be as effective as underpinning. If you’re hoping to increase the square footage on that lower level, you can skip the optical illusions and make the real thing happen.

Adding Value to Your Home

You could do underpinning as a step for finishing your basement. A finished basement adds value to your home and is more likely to draw in buyers. A cramped, low-ceilinged basement won’t bring the same appeal to real estate viewings. So, if you’re planning on renovating and eventually selling your property, underpinning should be put at the top of your to-do list. 

You’re Getting It Up to Code

You’re preparing to turn your basement into a second unit that you can rent out to tenants as an additional source of income. Before you start painting the walls and writing out the listing, you need to make sure that your basement is up to code. There are ceiling height requirements for basement apartments, along with regulations for windows, door exits and fire safety features.

You’re Waterproofing Your Basement

You want to make sure your basement is waterproof and you’ve decided that since most waterproofing services require demolition and excavation, you might as well add on this service while the foundation is exposed. It’s convenient to make these intense changes at the same time. All you’re doing is taking advantage of the situation.

You don’t want to go through the intense process of waterproofing and finishing your basement one year and then tear into the foundation a year later to start underpinning. You just managed to get the area to look nice and clean. You might as well lump all of the messy renovations together. 

Think of it like sprucing up a wall. You want to deal with holes and dents in the wall before you stick on sheets of wallpaper. Because you’ll have to tear off those sheets of wallpaper if you ever want to address the first problem. You have to be strategic with home improvements. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time and money. 

This is also a good suggestion if you’re only planning on waterproofing your basement. You might as well consider underpinning while we’re down there.  

What Are Basement Waterproofing Services?

We offer a variety of basement waterproofing services:

  • Sealing cracks in the foundation
  • Installing vapour barriers behind walls
  • Improving the grading in the yard
  • Adding a sump pit and sump pump
  • Installing a backflow valve

Choose what waterproofing options work for you. You could pick all of them if you’ve had flooding or moisture problems in the past and you want to guarantee that your basement is completely water-tight. If you want to know more about these services, you can contact us for more information and we will do our best to clear up any questions or concerns that you may have.

Basement underpinning is your best bet to getting more room in the lowest level of your house. If you’re hoping to increase that square footage, now is the right time to jump on it. NTL Contracting & Waterproofing will be there to help.