Common Basement Renovation Mistakes


There are a number of things to consider when beginning basement renovations – everything from floor plans and colour schemes to permitting and finding the right contractor. Harmony Basement’s team of professionals have the experience and the know-how to make your project unfold as smoothly as possible. We’ve even put together this handy guide of common basement renovation mistakes to watch out for while planning and executing your build.

Should You Renovate An Unfinished Basement?

It’s always tempting to renovate an unfinished basement but it is important to first understand how your basement handles water. You will want to experience a few freeze-thaw cycles with your basement and keep an eye out for any cracks or leaks. If you jump the gun and go straight to renovations, there is a chance you could be spending a significant amount of money dealing with water damage. An industry tip is to walk your basement during a major rain storm – if it’s free of water then you should be good to carry out a renovation.

Common Basement Renovation Mistakes

A basement development can be a huge undertaking. Make sure you avoid these common mistakes to ensure your project goes as swimmingly as possible!


Removing Load Bearing Walls

Open-concept layouts are great but load bearing walls play an important role structurally. They are also necessary to meet building codes. If you ignore these codes or build without the necessary permits you could open yourself up to fines or stop work orders.


Making Larger Basement Windows

a window or door in the basement is more or less just a hole in the foundation. It is important to support windows and doors from both above and below. It is impractical to think you can remove a section of masonry wall and think the structure will remain intact.


Not Getting A Permit

it is not expensive nor difficult to obtain a permit for your build. They are intended to protect you. If your contractor’s craftsmanship isn’t up to par, or if they aren’t cut out for the job, a municipal inspector should have the ability to catch it. These permits are always necessary if your work entails structural changes.


Not Ensuring The Basement Is Insulated

it is important to properly insulate the basement to prevent mold or mildew from forming. This can be dangerous for those living in the home as mold spores can create serious health issues. Insulating your basement is also a good idea as it keeps things warmer in the winter, and cool and dry in the summer.


Failing To Prevent Mold

Underground spaces are naturally more damp because of the surrounding groundwater, and water is the home’s worst nightmare. Concrete is porous by nature and moisture will eventually make its way through. This is why it is good to have a sub-flooring to properly air out the basement and prevent mold from forming.

The permit process: even before you apply to your municipal office for a permit for your build, you’ll need to get a home assessment completed, and luckily for you we at Harmony Basements can help you with that. We can handle all the measurements and floor designs and we’ll even take the drawings to the City of Toronto ourselves for approval to make the permitting process as easy as can be.

The following chart will help shed light on when you do and don’t need a permit.

Don’t Need a Basement Permit

Do Need a Basement Permit

If there are no structural or material alterationsThere are structural or material alterations
No additional dwelling suites createdAdditional legal suites added
Original plumbing system stays in tactChanges, installations, or modifications to heating and/or plumbing
 Excavation or major construction
 Underpinning being done
 Constructing a basement exit or entrance
 Constructing a chimney or fireplace

Not Adding Enough Lighting

Keep in mind that the basement is underground and will inherently have less natural light. Strategically position windows and lighting fixtures to maximize light.


Consider How The Basement Will Be Used

Think a few decades down the road and how you will be using your home. Are there things in your basement that might be difficult to access in your later years? Consider things like laundry and fridges and freezers. Carrying loads up and down levels might not be feasible as we age as mobility issues could develop.

Harmony Basement’s Renovation Process:

We want to make everything as easy as possible during your basement renovation. Our process is detail-oriented, thorough, and meticulous every time, whether it’s a simple basement makeover or a complete renovation. An important thing to consider is cost. Quality of material, labour and installation, the condition and size of your basement, and the complexity of the design are just a few things that factor into the price.

The price tag of the renovation can range depending on the scope of the project but a good rule of thumb is to expect somewhere from $35-$55 per square foot. Another thing to consider is if you’re adding a kitchen and washroom in your basement renos, this can quickly jack up the final cost.


Harmony Basement’s Finishing Process:

Step 1 – install insulation

Step 2 – framing basement walls

Step 3 – drywall installation

Step 4 – install bathroom floor

Step 5 – finish basement ceiling

We don’t just just specialize in basement remodeling, we can build brand new ones. Our detailed and thorough approach leaves our customers satisfied and smiling every time. We offer numerous basement finishes and upgrades to meet your budget.

Trust The Professionals

There you have it! The do’s and dont’s of basement renovations. Whether you’re looking to build a home office, a legal suite to rent out, or a place for the kids to play. Trust the professional basement renovation contractors at Harmony Basement for the peace of mind to know the job will get done right.

RELATED ARTICLE: Finish A Basement: How To Plan Your Basement Renovation