Davenport Home Addition (12)

Should I Renovate My Basement or Make a Home Addition?

Renovating a basement or adding an addition to a home is often a dilemma homeowners face when they’re looking for more living space. It’s not the easiest question to answer since every home and living situation is unique. If you’re looking at price only, then finishing a basement is generally the least expensive option along with less red tape than an addition.   

However, you need to realize that most basements will need preparation before finishing it, like removing moisture issues coming through your foundation or the need to increase the height of your basement to make it livable.

Do you have room to expand?

If you’re considering an addition to your home, then you’ll need adequate space outside of the house to build it. An addition will also require a foundation, roofing, windows, and walls. Some people also consider building upwards by adding another floor to their home. In this case, the house’s foundation will have to be strong enough to handle the additional weight and a staircase will need to be added. In general, an extra story is less expensive than an addition as the foundation is already there.

Finishing a basement is a lower-cost way of building a family room, bar, games room, workout room, office, home theatre, etc. As mentioned when compared to an addition, the benefits to finishing a basement are the price and the existing room. The basement may be a dark and damp concrete dungeon at the moment, but the area already exists in the home. This can make it more affordable than building an addition and you can often come close to doubling your living space.  

The condition of your basement

Most basements in Toronto were not made to be living space and often lack the adequate height to make it a living area. Other issues such as water/moisture in the basement or inadequate lighting/plumbing can mean the costs to make your basement livable could end up being more expensive than a home addition.

If you’re planning on finishing a basement or building an addition to the home, be sure to check out the local bylaws and building codes regarding the necessary permits. You’ll need to abide by the height requirements for the ceiling and also consider the windows and doors that may need to be used as an escape route in case of emergency. 

If you’re planning on several lower-level rooms, each one should have it’s own escape route. Stairways will also need to be considered as they may have to meet local building codes. In some instances, existing staircases may need to be replaced, which will add to the cost of the renovation.

The basement’s existing plumbing and electrical wiring can often be relocated, but will also add to the cost. In some cases, they may be hidden in a closet, wall or a drop ceiling with acoustic panels. The proper type of insulation will need to be installed to help fight off moisture and cold air. 

As for the flooring, there are numerous options such as carpeting, tile, laminate and vinyl. Hardwood flooring isn’t as popular since moisture could negatively affect the wood. A masonry sealer should be applied though before installing the flooring.

Benefits of a Home Addition

When it comes to home additions, the major benefit is that they can create more living space than a finished basement. Of course, in some instances you can always do both if they’re within your budget. 

While additions are usually the pricier option, these costs can sometimes be recouped when selling the home as the additional square footage added to your above ground living space will increase the value of the home.

A home addition will also give you more flexibility and design creativity as you are creating an entirely new space as opposed to a basement renovation which will often limit what you can design and build.

Have questions?

Novacon Construction is a home addition contractor serving Toronto and the GTA.  If you have questions adding additional living space to your home or remodeling your existing space, you can contact us today for a free consultation.

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