- Expectations - Expectations from you and your contractor should be discussed in great detail before committing to any project of this scale. Misalignment of expectations is probably the greatest cause of problems when undertaking a home addition. Commit to this kind of project only when the expectations of you and your contractor align.
- Timeline - It is critical to know the timeline for your project. Whether it is a basement underpinning, second floor addition or just a general home addition project, your contractor should be able to provide you with a clear timeline. They should also be able to tell you what will happen if things get off schedule and how they will resolve other commonly occurring problems.
- References - References provide some of the most valuable information available. You should be able to get references from your contractor for several different types of projects. This unfiltered information will give you a true picture of who you will potentially be working with.
- Certifications - Proper building certifications should be a non-negotiable. If a contractor does not have the right certifications to do the project you want, you should absolutely not work with them. Besides the fact that they may lack the proper experience to complete your job safely, you may be breaking the law if you work with people who have improper documentation.
- Price - All pricing should be made very clear. This includes pricing for potential delays and problems with materials or equipment. The last thing you want to deal with is the addition of unexpected costs.
- Warranty - When all is said and done, you should know exactly who to contact if there is a problem after the home addition is complete. In an ideal world, this shouldn’t be an issue, but in reality, sometimes things break and if you have done your homework in this area, you can get these problems fixed quickly.
Committing to a home addition is a major decision and should not be made lightly. “If I had just known…” is not the phrase you want to be using when you talk about your home addition. Armed with the right information, you can be sure that your commitment to a home addition is the right one. What to Know Before Committing to a Home Addition People should never underestimate the power of asking a few simple questions before making a home addition commitment. Before undertaking this kind of project, there are a few essential pieces of information that you should gather to ensure a smooth and successful project.
The decision to add a second floor to your home or business is exciting, but doesn’t come without some stress. However, the process of adding a second floor addition doesn’t have to be stressful ordeal if you consider all of the factors involved and plan the project meticulously. No matter what your specific goals when adding an addition, there are a few tips that we're going to provide in this article that will undoubtedly give yours a better chance of being a success. Second Floor Additions: Great Potential If Well Planned Your second floor addition will give you the chance to realize the true potential of your property. However, before committing to this type of project, it’s important to plan and conduct thorough research to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Here are a few basic tips to consider in order to maximize the potential of your second floor addition.
- Plans - It’s critical to understand all of the plans for this project. If you and your contractor are on the same page about the plans, you will avoid many of the problems that could potentially arise, saving you both time and money. These plans should include start and end dates, materials used, strategy and contact information. If any one of these things is missing, the risk of potential problems will increase greatly.
- Know Your Contractor - This means get references, double check certifications, and meet with your project manager face to face to discuss your second floor addition. People want to do a good job for people they like and know so, developing a relationship with your contractor will help ensure a smoother project for both parties.
- The Future - What are your long-term plans? A tip that many homeowners suggest is to discuss your long term plans with your contractor so that you can be sure to potentially kill two birds with one stone on your initial project. If this is your only plan for home improvement, that’s fine, but if you plan to do further renovations, make sure to mention this to your contractor so they can help develop the best plan for you.
- Be Flexible - With any home addition, there are unforeseen problems. In order to maximize the potential of plans for your project, you should be aware that there may be problems that you didn’t expect. For example, all of a sudden you take down a wall and find rot. What is your contractor’s plan for these problems? How do they typically handle issues like this? Make sure to discuss this type of situation before you begin your project.
If you are thinking about converting your basement into a usable living space but you are worried that it will be difficult owing to the current ceiling height, this short guide will hopefully be of some help. In it, we are going to take a look at the two options available to homeowners who would like to make use of their basement but have yet to do so owing to the fact that it has a very low ceiling: Basement underpinning and benching (also known as bench footing). There are many properties in Toronto with low-ceilinged basements so if this article is not useful to you, it could still be worth mentioning it to friends and family in the area. Both of the above mentioned options have their pros and cons, and the most important of these will be examined as we take a close look at what each option involves below.
Basement UnderpinningThis is the more expensive of the two options but it is also the one that will leave you with the most space once the work has been completed. Because there will be no bench walls inside your basement once the underpinning has been completed, you will be able to utilise every inch of floor space. In order to underpin a basement, or lower it, in this manner, the building contractor you hire will need to excavate beneath your existing foundations and pour new footings, in small stages. The reason that the work has to be completed in small stages is because your home is being supported by the foundations so great care needs to be taken at all times.
BenchingThis option involves excavating just inside the existing foundations and pouring new ones next to the existing ones, rather than underneath them. Because it does not involve removing earth from under the foundations on which your home is standing, a benching project can normally be completed more quickly than basement underpinning. The fact that it can be completed more quickly and that it involves less work and less risk of compromising the structural integrity of your home means that it is also the cheaper option as well. The size of the bench wall will depend on the height you are trying to gain. If, for example, you would like the ceiling in your basement to be 12 inches higher, you would need a bench wall that was 12 inches wide.
The Pros and Cons Associated with Each OptionTo make it easier for you to choose the most appropriate option for your particular needs, below is a summary of the pros and cons associated with each one.
- Basement Underpinning – More expensive but maximises the amount of extra space you can create by converting your basement. Furthermore, if you have any doubts about the quality of your existing foundations, having them underpinned will give you peace of mind.
- Benching – It costs less money, can be just as effective and completed more quickly than underpinning. However, on the downside, it will reduce the amount of space you gain from your basement conversion and will not give you the same gains in structural integrity that basement underpinning
When looking for ways to create more space in their homes, many people decide to build additional rooms on the ground floor and there is no doubt that this is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to add extra space to a residential property. However, many homeowners in Toronto and across Canada have a hidden resource they can utilize when it comes to floor space: A disused basement. For homeowners that are looking for ways to create a large amount of space in the shortest time possible, basement renovations make a great deal of sense. If you have never considered turning your bottom floor into a living area, take a look at the 7 reasons why you might want to, listed below.
7 Reasons Homeowners Choose Basement RenovationsIndividual property owners may have their own personal reasons for renovating their basement in preference to choosing other space creating options that are open to them but the 7 reasons below are among the most commonly cited.
- No Building Permits Required – If you wish to add a second storey to your home, extend the ground floor or install a couple of dormers in an upper storey, you will have to apply for a building permit before you can get started. On the other hand, basement renovations are an entirely internal affair and are therefore not subject to the same scrutiny. If you think it might be difficult or too time consuming to apply for a building permit in your current location, renovating your basement is an excellent alternative.
- Does Not Increase Footprint of Property – If your house is standing on a relatively small plot of land, utilising all that space that is going to waste in your basement will undoubtedly be a very appealing option. Many people are loath to reduce the size of their garden with a home addition but when renovating your basement this is not an issue.
- Lower Cost – Generally speaking, the costs associated with residential basement renovations in Canada are substantially lower than home additions when comparing similar spaces.
- Minimal Disruption – Depending on the scope of work that is required to make your basement fit for human habitation, you may well be able to remain in your home for the duration of the renovation project. This makes basement renovations far more convenient than second floor additions, and some ground floor additions too.
- No Delays Due to Bad Weather – Because almost all the work takes place indoors, you know that there will be no lengthy delays while your building firm waits for the weather to improve. Basement projects can easily be tackled at any time of year, assuming you hire a reputable building firm to do the necessary work.
- Minimal Inconvenience for Neighbours – Whilst you will still need to have building materials delivered to your home, the fact that no construction work will be taking place outdoors will make the whole process a lot easier for your neighbours to bear.
- Less Wiring and Plumbing Involved – If you are currently using your basement as a utility room, there is a good chance that, with a little adaptation, you can use the existing electrical wiring and plumbing outlets when you turn it into a living area.
Building up, i.e. adding an extra storey to a house, is an attractive option for homeowners who do not want to make their yard or garden smaller by building out. However, there are a number of factors to consider before hiring a construction firm to build second floor additions, 5 of the most important of which are listed below.
- Aesthetics – This is something that many homeowners do not consider until the last minute but in reality, it is one of the most crucial factors and should be at or very near the top of your list. If you have a single-storey home and you are thinking of adding another floor, the very first thing you should do is to consult a local building firm in order to obtain some sketches illustrating what your property might look like after the work is completed.
- Foundations – If you are living in an older property, there is a good chance that your home does not have footings under the concrete slab on which it stands. If this is the case, you may need to think about having your foundations underpinned before adding a second storey. Another floor will add a considerable load to the foundations and failure to reinforce them beforehand could result in disaster. If you hire a reputable contractor such as Blue Line, you can of course rely on your builders to let you know if reinforcements are needed before second floor additions are started.
- Building Permit – If you are planning to add a whole new floor to a single-storey residential building, you will undoubtedly need a permit from the local authorities before the work can begin. You should establish whether this is likely to be a problem at the earliest possible opportunity, to give yourself plenty of time to investigate the alternatives if it is. Again, if you are working with a reputable building firm, you should be able to rely on them to advise you and steer you in the right direction with regard to any issues concerning building permits.
- Timescale – Even when you hire highly skilled builders with years of experience working on residential additions, you will almost certainly not be able to remain in your home whilst they set about their business. Second floor additions necessitate the ripping out of walls and ceilings on the lower floor, making properties uninhabitable until the work has been completed. For this reason, it is important to consider the amount of time that the building work will take. If you cannot find alternative accommodation for the whole period, you may have to rethink your plans or find a builder that is capable of competing the project more quickly.
- Overall Cost – The building industry is very competitive so it is well worth shopping around before you make a commitment to hire a particular firm. The fact that it is often necessary to reinforce existing foundations before second floor additions can be built makes them quite expensive, especially when compared to ground floor additions, but you may well be able to get a good deal from a local building company that makes it a financially attractive proposition.