Are you considering lowering the basement of your home?
Although basement lowering is not a typical home improvement project, the Toronto real estate priced and land scarcity is making it a great option as a way to expand your living space without losing your yard space. This article will provide you with information about basement lowering.
Toronto homeowners often ask to know more about basement lowering. Several people choose this option for their homes because it makes the basement more accessible, usable, and adds value to a home. During basement lowering, the basement floor is often dug out a few feets down.
Preparing a quote for Basement Lowering
Just like any other home improvement project, there are things a homeowner should know and understand before beginning a project to lower the basement. When considering the basement, you must have a professional and experienced underpinning or foundation contractor. You will need to find an operational company, insured for such kind of word, and one that can provide you with various references. Basement lowering projects can be devastating and disaster if done wrong. The structural integrity of your home requires a thorough evaluation of underpinning contractors before hiring.
Some companies will bid on your project without drawing, further knowledge, or evaluation of your home. Such bids can drastically hike after hiring because there are various factors to factor in, and they did not follow the proper process in giving you the correct quote. Some may get the job and issue you a high bill and becomes difficult for you to back out after the project is started.
A reputable underpinning company must evaluate and identify what you need to be done. The process involves demolishing and drilling test holes prior to the actual project and working with an engineer. This process is fundamental, and when not done, the preference of the homeowner may change, and the company may end up with inconsistencies that must be resolved.
Looking for an Architect or Engineer?
Before making a decision, ensure at least two professionals give you their quotes for drawing. It will also help you determine the engineer or architect you will use before you have a contractor. This process is essential in the initial stages as it will show the contractor that you are serious about the project and will provide you with the necessary information you need for the whole process. When a contractor is convinced that you know what the plan to go through, they will not hesitate to spend 3 to 5 hours making a pricing estimate. Skipping this stage and asking the contractor for a quote, may result you ending up with a series of arbitrary pricing and no connection with the project results.
Experienced underpinning contractors only work with reputable engineers and architects who are experienced in basement lowering projects. At Strong Basements, we work in collaboration with reputable engineering firms and architects with basement lowering expertise.
You will receive a certified basement lowering drawings from your architect or engineer. The drawing will be sent for approval and receive a building permit in Toronto. The inspector may propose changes that must be indicated on the approved drawing. Since this is a challenging task, you will need an experienced craftsman to lead the project.
Understanding the Basement Lowering Quote
It is essential to understand that it is time-consuming to perform a basement lowering project. Besides, it is a labor-intensive project and demanding from an engineering perspective. It takes skills and experience for the contractor to accurately follow the drawings. Be sure to compare quotes provided by different contractors and check their scope of work.
Several disasters have been documented in Toronto involving unqualified contractors and houses falling due to improper shoring during the process of basement lowering. You will bear most of the responsibilities and legal consequences in case of injury due to the negligent work of an unqualified or under-insured contractor.
You can schedule the work after deciding on the plan. Both you and your underpinning contractor must agree on the price. A contractor should be able to provide a schedule in a few days, but it can take weeks. Being busy is a good thing when dealing with a contractor. You wouldn’t go to a restaurant where no one eats and expect a good meal.
Spring and summer are the busiest seasons for basement lowering contractors in Toronto. However, the work can be done at any time of the year since it is indoors. Besides, winter may be a great time to go on holiday in the south while the contractors work on your project.
What are The Project Stages?
The underpinning contractor will start the project by measuring and marking everything. The basement slab will be dug out to, ideally, the floor 1-3 feet. They will ensure structural stability by shoring up the underpinning or sidewall area. We often use bench footing, where we create a bench that supports dirt below the foundation wall or underpinning by removing the soil below the foundation wall and use concrete.
The contractors will then waterproof the interior of the basement foundation by placing gravel then pour a new floor. The waterproofing membrane that connects to the sump pump on the interior will keep your basement dry. Time taken on the project depends on the basement size. Some projects may take a few days, and some may take several weeks. An average full job requires three to six weeks. Although it is challenging to offer a quote without drawings and meeting with the homeowner, a quotation between $20,000 and $50,000 can be expected.
Completion of the project
After completion of the project, you will need a project manager or a foreman to assess the results. You need to check anything that is not complete or what does not look right. Ensure you also check that the city and the engineer passed all project requirements and that the contractor cleaned up after finishing. No debris should be lest unless you were informed by the contractor prior to that, you are responsible for the cleaning. The contractors often do the cleaning and removal unless both of you agree.
Do I Want to Do This?
You now understand that basement underpinning is not an easy task. You have to do your research and invest money and time that may seem a little complex. Your project will be smoother if you get the right contractor. Underpinning projects that give more space that you can enjoy for years and add value to your home is worth it. In real estate marketing today, adding value goes a long way when you want to sell your home. Making the right decision and following the proper process will result in the job being done as needed.
Strong Basements is basement lowering experts in Toronto and has completed many underpinning projects in Toronto and the Great Toronto Area. We provide references upon request. If you live in GTA and have questions regarding basement lowering, kindly CONTACT US. If you are interested in getting started, we can also recommend experienced architects and engineers.