Add space and value with a basement renovation

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017


You spend more time indoors during the winter months, so it's inevitable that you might start to feel a little cramped, especially if you live in a smaller home. If that's the case, you may consider finishing your basement to increase your square footage. It can definitely add value and increase comfort, but there are a few things you'll want to do to ensure it's a surefire success:

Address moisture. I've seen a lot of poorly executed basement renos, where the contractor comes in, throws up some studs, tosses in some fibreglass batts and vapour barrier, then slaps on some drywall. Often, problems arise down the road. Inspecting the interior foundation and floors for moisture issues, water damage or mould problems and addressing areas of concern are vital to prevent the development of mold and mildew. Ensure that your job specifies moisture-resistant building materials for performance and durability of the living space.

Insulate wisely. First and foremost, you'll want to select a moisture-resistant and vapour permeable insulation that can dry if exposed to moisture and retain its full R-value over time. I prefer stone wool insulation over fibreglass just for that reason. Canadian manufacturer Roxul makes a few products that are ideal for the job. I recommend installing Roxul Comfortboard 80 against the interior walls, before installing the studs. This continuous layer of insulation will prevent thermal bridging, reducing your energy consumption and heating costs. Build your studs against the Comfortboard 80, preferably with treated lumber, and fill the studs will R14 Comfortbatt to achieve a basement wall with an effective R20 R-value. Finally, finish with a smart membrane vapour control layer, tuck tape and moisture-resistant drywall. Don't forget to insulate basement header for maximum energy efficiency.

Soundproof - I am a big proponent of soundproofing. It's easier to add during construction than realizing it's needed afterward and trying to remedy noise issues. Soundproofing is the ultimate solution to maximize your basement's peace, quiet and privacy. Look for a product called Safe 'n' Sound, also by Roxul. I like it because it's easy to install and adds important fire and moisture resistance. One layer should suffice. Simply press into place between the studs or joists. Use resilient channels before adding dry wall.

With the most important elements addressed to ensure proper performance, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency, you can start planning the finishes––flooring, paint, furniture, décor and accessories. These will show off your personality and really make the space feel like home.

Scott McGillivray is host of the hit TV series Income Property on HGTV Canada, a full-time real estate investor, contractor, author, and educator. Look for Scott in the upcoming series Moving the McGillivrays this fall on HGTV Canada or follow him on Twitter @smcgillivray.

Tags: Renovations

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