Updated: Jan 20, 2021
The Canadian Association of Movers estimates that the average Canadian moves 5 to 6 times in their life. When you compare that to the rising cost of buying a detached home in the Lower Mainland, a lot of people are looking towards options to make their current space better suited for their growing family or remote working needs.
In our article 3 Alternatives to Underpinning to get more Space from your Home, we discuss ways that you can get more space, however, we failed to review the most cost-effective solution, basement lowering!
What are the methods of Basement Lowering?
Basement lowering transforms small crawlspaces or low-ceiling basements by safely and methodically digging out your basement and lowering the floor, the ceiling gains relative height.
There are several different options for basement lowering, including:
Underpinning: dig under the existing foundation while supporting your house, and then create a new foundation.
Slab Lowering: removing existing basement slab so that the buried foundation can be exposed at a lower depth.
Benching: install a new foundation directly in front of the existing foundation.
Slab lowering is the least expensive option for basement lowering, followed by benching and then underpinning.
The Benefits of Basement Lowering
Below are the benefits of basement lowering to increase your home’s value and increasing your liveable space.
Basement lowering builds more livable space per square footage in your home. An extra 2 feet of headroom can make a space look completely different. Not to mention it will prevent your tall relatives from straining their necks when they visit you.
The cost of lowering your basement along with the renovation is a fraction of the cost to build versus buying the same square footage. Typically, basement lowering is one-third of the price of buying the same square footage!
#2 You don’t have to move out during the renovation
We’ve all heard the renovation horror stories; your timelines are delayed, and you are stuck living in an Airbnb or at your in-law’s place for months on end.
Basement lowering can essentially add another floor to your house without having to move out during the process. As opposed to building an addition or lifting your house, where you need to completely leave the house for safety and logistical reasons, basement lowering is much less invasive!
#3 Less Damage to the House
Because you are digging under your house while supporting it, there’s much less impact on your home than with an addition or house lift, which can also cause damage to other parts of the house during its process.
The process of basement lowering systematically supports your house, repairs, and rebuilds your foundation while you go. So, your house is better supported than before you started.
#4 Less Restricted by Zoning or Bylaws
In most areas across the Lower Mainland, properties are restricted for laneway houses, second-story additions, new builds, and house lifting due to bylaws, zoning, or heritage façade requirements.
Because underpinning and basement lowering is working below ground, your home is typically in compliance with all requirements. However, we suggest that you review your property’s bylaws, zoning, and other requirements with your City Hall just to be safe.
Learn how to increase your home's value with underpinning.
Or speak to one of our professionals today to get started on your basement lowering project!