The Latest News From
Holland Homes & Renovations

Read about our latest projects, as well as a selection of news stories from the housing market and home construction / home renovation fields.

If your family is running out of room in your home, you don’t have to start scouring the real estate listings quite yet. An unfinished basement can be turned into a beautiful and functional space with the help of an Ottawa basement renovation company like Holland Homes and Renovations.

In this article we will guide you through planning a successful finished basement renovation. From deciding on the use of space to drafting a floor plan, setting a budget, and anticipating challenges, you will be able to execute a perfect basement renovation that solves all of your family’s needs and greatly improves the value of your home.

Deciding on the Use of Space

A successful renovation is about a lot more than slapping up some drywall and calling it a day. You need to know what problems you’re trying to solve, and you need to know what you want to see in the finished product.

No two basement renovations need to be alike. One family’s perfect basement has plenty of room for a storage, an organized and functional laundry room, and a play area for the kids. Another family’s basement is an escape, with a fully equipped media room, home bar, and man cave that’s the envy of the neighbourhood. Your imagination is the only limit to what can be included in a basement.

Start by sitting down and writing a list of functions that your current house isn’t quite able to fulfill. Write down both very practical functions, like a laundry room, and more aspirational facilities, like a wine cellar. Give yourself flexibility. For example, a fully equipped gym with specialized rubber flooring and wall-to-ceiling mirrors can’t quite serve a second function if you never use it. An extra bedroom for your growing teen, on the other hand, could easily be converted into a guest room when he moves out for university.

Definitely include elements that match your personal needs, but if you don’t expect to be in the home long term, consider going with more universal functions. Rooms that are always a hit in basements include guest bedrooms, kids playrooms, laundry rooms, and media rooms.

Depending on the size of your basement, use this opportunity to consider whether a secondary dwelling makes sense for your family. It will reduce your livable square footage, but it will also bring in a regular income that can be used elsewhere – like to pay for a home addition upstairs.

Drafting a Floor Plan

Spend all the time you need resizing walls and rearranging furniture on blueprints until you get the precise arrangement you prefer. It’s a lot easier to switch window placements and baseboard height on paper/screen than it is in practice! So take all the time you need in the drafting process until you’re happy with the results.

There are a few different ways to visualize your floor plan. We work with an expert local draftsman who has more than twenty years of experience in the industry designing accurate drawings. We also work with a state-of-the-art design software called Revit for 3D modelling of your project. Not only do our plans take design into account, they also display all considerations for structure, foundation, and soils, if applicable.

A drawing or 3D rendering will better help you visualize the dimensions of the space, and is far easier than making changes once construction starts. Remember, a basement renovation is about a lot more than the placement of walls. There needs to be safe egress in case of fire of emergency, sound attenuation between floors, sufficient natural light ratios, and so on. Our basement renovations contractors can help you create plans and designs that account for all the important key factors like flow, lighting, and sound attenuation while solving your space issues.

Setting the Budget for a Basement Renovation

Once you have a clearer picture of your wishes for your finished basement, next you need to set the budget. Your budget will be determined by a combination of the money you have available (and are willing to spend on the project), and the expense demands of the project. We will do our best to plan a renovation that achieves all of your goals at a price that makes sense for your budget.

At the same time, it is important to be realistic. A complete overhaul of a basement that requires waterproofing, foundation repair, plumbing installation, significant electrical work, high-end finishes etc. will not be feasible on a $10,000 budget. You need to allocate enough money to do the project right the first time – it’s worth it.

It’s important to know what can’t be skimped on (like plumbing, electrical, insulation, and moisture barriers) and where there is a little wiggle room (like with finishes). Your basement contractor will help identify materials and finishes that are attractive and durable but don’t break the bank.

Tip: in addition to the construction budget, don’t neglect a budget for appliances, furniture, and accessories. A new laundry room will likely need new energy-efficient laundry and dryer, while a media room will need couches and lounge chairs.

Avoiding a Wet Basement

It is extremely important to make sure that your basement does not have a moisture problem before you begin the process of finishing the space. Inspect the space for warning signs of water damage and repair any cracks or gaps in the foundation walls or floor before the renovation begins.

Homeowners in Ottawa often complain about musty, stale smells coming from the basement. Especially in older homes, you walk downstairs and get hit immediately with a moist and off-putting environment. If your home has any of these issues or there is visible mould on the walls or ceiling, don’t take a chance.

Additionally, sometimes problems lurk behind the walls. Everything looks fine on the surface and you assume your basement renovation will be a breeze. Then you take down the drywall or peel off insulation and see serious issues like mould growth or a pest infestation.

Hire a professional foundation repair company or coordinate with your renovation contractor to ensure the space is fully dry and waterproofed before work begins. Everyone wants to get right to the completed project, but the last thing a homeowner wants is for their brand new man cave to get flooded or develop a mould problem because this crucial step was skipped in the beginning.

Taking the right steps beforehand will make sure your finished basement is safe and dry for years to come.

Understanding Challenges

Some basements have challenges like low ceilings, obstructive ductwork, or awkwardly placed supporting posts that can interfere with the renovation process. As mentioned above, you may also come across pressing concerns like pooling water, condensation, water damage, dampness, cold air, or an insect or rodent infestation. Nobody wants these issues in an unused basement, nevermind a place want to spend time.

Your basement renovation contractor will inspect the space and come up with solutions that ensure a successful project, no matter the circumstances. When you know challenges beforehand, you can come up with a plan and there will be no setbacks that will delay the project. Planning and careful inspection are very important to avoiding surprises once the project gets underway.

With all of these planning steps completed, you’re ready to launch into a basement renovation project. In just a few short weeks, your basement renovation contractor can transform a drab unused space into the star area of your home. Contact Holland Homes & Renovations today for your free no-obligation design consultation.