How to Determine Whether Basement Underpinning is the Right Choice for Your Home

basement underpinning TorontoWhile it may not be the most glamorous part of your home, your foundation is arguably the most important. A strong foundation is critical for many reasons, which is why basement underpinning has become one of the most popular home improvement projects. Basement underpinning strengthens the foundation of your home and can prevent major problems from occurring in the future.

5 Questions to Determine if Basement Underpinning is Right For You

There are various reasons that people opt for basement underpinning and a basement contractor in your area can help you determine if it’s truly the best choice for your specific situation. However, there are a couple basic questions that you can ask yourself to decide if you are a good candidate for this kind of project.

  • Do You Want to Add Value to Your Home?Basement underpinning can add value to your home in a way that other more superficial home improvements can’t. This project, once completed, can potentially create more living space. Even if you’re not considering moving at the moment, having more living space in your home can make a big difference in the future in terms of your property’s value.
  • Do You Have a Weak Foundation? – A weak foundation can present a myriad of problems for property owners and one of the best ways to correct this situation is with basement underpinning. Basement underpinning is a cost effective and expeditious alternative to demolition. A basement contractor who can properly underpin your basement can make it safe and fit for habitation again.
  • Do You Want to Create a Full Height Basement? – The number one reason many people choose basement underpinning is so that they can create a room that they can actually use like any other room in their house. By lowering the floor, you can create a beautiful basement space to use as you see fit.
  • Do You Want to Add Extra Stories? – Whether you’re looking to renovate a residential or commercial building, if you plan to add extra stories, you need to reinforce your foundation. In the event that additional stories are in your construction plan now or in the future, basement underpinning will strengthen the building’s foundations and enable it to support the additional weight that the new stories will bring.
  • Are You Having Problems Relating to Subsidence? – Over time, the earth around buildings can shift, making old foundations unstable and dangerous. Whether these changes were naturally caused or caused by humans, basement underpinning can protect your foundation from major problems that may occur from shifting soil. A good basement contractor can survey your property and recommend the best course of action.

Basement underpinning may not be the best solution for everyone. However, after taking a closer look at your plans and answering some of these questions, you should have a better idea if this is the right course of action for you.


Factors to Consider When Comparing Basement Contractors in Your Area

basement contractors TorontoSo you’ve made the decision to commit to a basement improvement project; the hardest part is over. Now, it’s time to find the right basement contractor for the job. With so many options for contractors all vying for your business, this may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Tips for Choosing the Right Basement Contractor

With a little bit of knowledge, choosing the best basement contractor for your project can be made much easier. No matter what your project entails, by following a few tips, you can be assured that the contractor you choose will be the best for you. Our top tips to help you navigate this process successfully include:

  • Price – Budget is important for any kind of home improvement, but cheapest is not always the best answer. Cheaper contractors may lack the experience to complete your job successfully. Because they lack experience, they can undercut the pricing of other more accomplished contractors. And a basement contractor that cuts corners or lacks experience definitely isn’t the type of contractor you want to secure the foundation of your home or business. The cheapest contractors will often skimp on materials as well. So, be mindful of exactly what you’re getting for the price.
  • Planning – A good basement contractor should be able to explain to you, in detail, their plan for renovation. If they can’t give you a concrete plan of what they’re going to be doing in your home, you may want to look elsewhere. The plan will give you a good idea of whether or not they are prepared to handle any potential hiccups in your project. A good plan should include start and end dates so that you can get on with your life or begin your next home improvement project.
  • References -These are probably the most valuable pieces of information you can gather. Try to get references from several people covering a range of different of project types. This will give you a more rounded idea of how the company operates. References are really critical in determining which contractor to choose.
  • Service – From the very beginning, your basement contractor should be available and receptive to answer your questions and concerns. If they are vague with details from the start, you can be sure that they will not be able to answer any questions should a problem arise.
  • Project – Are you looking for basement underpinning? Second floor addition? Home addition? What type of project does the contractor specialize in? While some contractors may be the best in one area, they may not be as strong in others. So, double-check what types of projects your contractors excel at and what areas they are weaker in.

A closer examination of these factors will make choosing a basement contractor a much easier task. If you want your project to go off without a hitch, do your research beforehand so that you don’t have to pay the price down the line.

The Difference Between Basement Underpinning and Benching

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 Underpinning

This 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.


This 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 Option

To 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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

To conclude, if cost is not your main concern, having your foundations underpinned is almost certainly the best option, even if it takes a little longer. If you decide to go down this route, you need to make sure that you employ a reputable and trustworthy building contractor. If you would like Blue Line Contractors to help, please feel free to call (416) 686-7627 and let us know what you need.

Blue Line Contractors Ltd. has the very best contractors for Home AdditionsSecond Floor Additions. We also have basement contractors in Toronto for your next basement renovation project and Basement Underpinning. Visit us on Google+.

7 Reasons Why Basement Renovations Make Sense

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 Renovations

Individual 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Lower Cost – Generally speaking, the costs associated with residential basement renovations in Canada are substantially lower than home additions when comparing similar spaces.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

If you are still unsure whether to convert your basement or to have a home addition built, you can call Blue Line Contractors for advice. We have worked on many residential additions and basement conversions over the years, amassing a wealth of knowledge along the way. Call today to find out what your best option is.

Blue Line Contractors Ltd. has the very best contractors for Home AdditionsSecond Floor Additions. We also have basement contractors in Toronto for your next basement renovation project and Basement Underpinning. Visit us on Google+.