Updated: Oct 1

Building or renovating your basement can be an exciting time. It is a great way to increase the size of your home and add resale value.

Here are a few considerations when completing your basement renovation

You don’t need to feel cramped in your current home, nor do you need to move. Just add a basement!

Building or renovating your basement can be an exciting time. It is a great way to increase the size of your home and add resale value.

Here are a few considerations when completing your basement renovation.


By extending beyond the boundaries of your home and doing an open excavation into the garden, you can create a larger basement area. The final result is a much larger space that can be used for multiple purposes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Additional accommodation and bedrooms

  • A basement apartment (for family, parents or additional income)

  • Entertaining

  • Gym

  • Man Cave or Ma’am Cave

  • Home office

  • Home library

  • Wine cellar

  • Home Theater

  • Child friendly play area


This is a common trap for DIY renovators! Before we commence excavation, the sub floor will usually be supported with brick piers followed by the installation of load bearing framework. The existing floor framework stays in place to ensure that your home remains secure during the build.

Choose your contractors wisely and ensure your engineer and builder have sufficient experience and expertise to do the job. At BCR basements, we specialize in Basement Renovations in Toronto (As well as surrounding areas like Durham, Oshawa, Whitby, Pickering, Ajax, Bowmanville, Newcastle and Clarington)


Because basements are below ground level, water will naturally enter through the walls.

You’ll need to waterproof the basement by sealing the walls using a specialist surface coating. It does not remove the water but instead creates a barrier between the wall and the water.

Another option is to install a waterproof studded membrane system. This method is preferred in areas with high snow or rainfall. This allows the water to run down to the basement floor level within a cavity and into the drainage system. The water will then flow away naturally or can be removed using a pump. We can complete soil tests and advise you on the best waterproofing solution for your needs.

If using a pump, an alarm on your pump will emit an alert if the system fails, ensuring there are no extended outage periods, which could otherwise go unnoticed and cause significant (and expensive) water damage.

Even if you plan on completing a DIY basement renovation in Toronto, it is advisable to bring in a Basement expert (like BCR basements) to assess your waterproofing needs.


Ventilation is one of the most critical factors for a successful (and enjoyable) basement. You will need to ensure adequate ventilation in order to prevent mould.

You can use the available natural ventilation by installing windows that can open and close, ideally opposite each other to allow for cross ventilation. But the natural method does have its limitations.

We advise the installation of an exhaust fans (or other mechanical ventilation system) to remove moisture and other pollutants from the air. Ensure that your ventilation fan is equipped with a humidity sensor that will activate the when moisture is detected.

Where possible, ensure the fan is vented to the outside of your building.

Coming back to natural ventilation, a few considerations for the DIY warrior:

Natural ventilation essentially makes use of natural air currents. This type of ventilation works only for basements with windows that are strategically placed and able to open and close. While the natural method is cost effective and conserves energy, it does require more work and effort. You must remember to open your windows at regular intervals and closed during times of rainfall (and to prevent intruders from entering your basement).

A wet basement will require additional ventilation, such as fans or a dehumidifier. If the basement is continuously wet, the natural method is most likely insufficient and a more mechanical system may be required.

BCR basements in Toronto can advise you on the most effective ventilation strategies to ensure you make the most of your new basement renovation.

Mechanical Ventilation: Mechanical ventilation uses fans and vents to circulate and remove existing basement air and bring in fresh, outdoor air. This may be as simple as placing small window fans in opposite windows or as technical as installing an exhaust fan with ventilation pipe, or even specialized HVAC systems. Many homeowners opt for a mechanical ventilation because of the flexibility, ease of use and automation it provides. 


Lighting is another important element of good basement design. After all, lighting can impact your mood and if done correctly, can transform your space into the best feature of your home! Here are a few ways to ensure you have adequate lighting in your new Basement Renovation in Toronto.

1. Build an egress

Some building codes require that you have at least two ways out of a bedroom, which is important in the event of an emergency. The stairs are the obvious first route and windows are the second. As well as being a necessary exit option, an egress window can be a great source of natural light. Make sure installation is air tight to cut back on energy loss. You can purchase energy-efficient egress windows that will cut down on heat and cooling loss while filling your basement with natural light. Click here to see a few examples of egress windows.

2. Open the floor plan

Design the layout of your basement to allow for light flow. Avoid building too many walls and consider the location of your windows before deciding where those walls will go. For example, if you have a large egress on one wall, be sure there are no walls blocking the light’s path. You can place walls parallel to the window, but not perpendicular. This allows light to move to other parts of the basement. Ideally, the light should move uninterrupted from one side of the basement to the other.

3. Install a solar tube

Solar tubes are tunnels that bring natural light inside the house. They are placed on the roof or exterior wall, then a series of mirrors helps the light travel to the other end of the tube. Choose a design that will lead into the basement to shine light on those dark spaces. Solar tubes are great for getting light to the areas that egress windows can’t reach!

4. Hang mirrors

Take a cue from the solar tube and hang mirrors in your basement. The light you get from egress windows and solar tubes will be reflected throughout the space. Be strategic when hanging them, considering angles. Draw a mental line from the light source to the mirror and see how it will bounce. If you’re having a difficult time visualizing the light placement, shine a flashlight at the mirror. This will give you a very good idea of how light will reflect.


Converting your basement can open up the potential for a number of new rooms… after all, additional bedrooms can certainly increase your homes value and resale price… But it can be a wise idea to avoid the temptation to overdevelop.

If you opt for an open-plan configuration (especially if the ceiling height cannot be altered) will give a greater sense of space, especially if your chosen color scheme is light and neutral.

You can still create zones or individual spaces with furniture and storage, but the more open the layout, the larger and brighter your space is likely to feel.

Want to build or renovate your basement? Schedule a call now.