The High and Dry Blog
Toronto’s structural clarity in a sea of confusion.
Do This Before You Even Think About Basement Finishing
January 29, 2016
Have you dreamt of finishing your basement? Creating a room that is not only a functional extension of your home but will also increase your overall property value? Maybe you think you just need to lay some flooring and cover those walls. Don’t make the mistake of starting that basement project before you have addressed the foundation. If you don’t make sure that is in good condition first, you may be masking a much bigger problem with pretty paint and flooring but it won’t stay hidden for long.
Before finishing your basement you must identify possible problems.
Do you see cracks or is water seeping in? These are not do it yourself issues. Just filling in cracks won’t stop the underlying cause, it’s only a temporary fix. A Band-Aid of sorts for your wall or floor and we all know that Band-Aids don’t stay put forever. They are very temporary. You need to seek a professional to better understand what is causing the crack. There are many possible issues that could be at play which can include:
- 1. Floating foundation. It’s common for your foundation to settle over time. It can actually move slightly or even sink a bit into the surrounding soil.
- 2. Water Drainage. Your roof is designed to move water off of your home. The problem arises when that draining water happens too close to the base of your home. Ideally you want things to drain away from your foundation. When water freezes over it expands. This is how pipes burst and also why foundations can crack. Water that has settled near the base and then frozen over will expand outward causing cracks.
- 3. Bowing walls. Sometimes it’s possible for your walls to actually be bowed inward. This is usually caused by too much pressure from outside, also called hydrostatic pressure. There are other things that can cause it but one thing is certain, this doesn’t happen overnight; so by the time you notice it the problem has already been going on too long.
The very best advice we can give you is to thoroughly inspect your basement before doing any renovations. Even if you don’t see cracks or seeping water there are other things that are clues to existing problems such as sloping floors or difficultly closing doors and windows. Give us a call, it costs you nothing and you are under no obligation. It just might save you money, time and certainly aggravation down the road.