Most new homes come with a standard height basement of approximately nine feet. Even if not finished, there is enough head-room to make the basement a comfortable space for bedrooms, offices, or entertaining. However, older homes can be a different story. Even though the upper levels have loads of character, the basement can be often unfinished and little more than a crawl space for the furnace, plumbing and other infrastructure items for your home.
Rather than write it off as not quite right, you can have space added to the basement! The process is called underpinning and it can add height to the space and enable you to expand your living to the lowest level of your home. Look at it as digging down to raise your head space. In order to do this kind of project, you need a professional company such as City Wide Group to lead the operation. They have more than 50 years of experience in the basement waterproofing and underpinning industry. They know all the steps required and how to leave you with the basement space you want.
All the Steps
First, your City Wide Group representative will meet with you to discuss how much space you need to add to the height of the basement. As in most things, this will vary but in many homes it can involve adding three or four feet. The work is completed in stages:
Once they know how much soil or concrete needs to be removed, bins will be brought in to dispose of it. A conveyor system will be installed to bring the soil to the outdoor bins so it can be removed from your property. They will determine which walls are are load-bearing and will be prepared to set in vertical jack supports and horizontal beams to temporary support the house. The integrity of your home's structure will be maintained throughout the project. Finally this initial stage involves disconnecting the furnace, boiler and water heater and dealing with any under floor plumbing to enable the remove of the existing concrete floor. City Wide Group technicians know how to protect this important infrastructure during their project.
The next stage involves using your home's architectural plans to identify the existing underpinning pockets so they can safely extend the foundation the necessary amount. If you don't have access to the plans, City Wide Group can provide you with an architect or engineer. They can assist you with the permit process as well; most municipalities require building permits for underpinning projects. Each pocket is completed separately and a new foundation floor is created. On occasion, there may be grout added to compensate for any shrinkage in the concrete but this step can avoided if the concrete is vibrated to establish solidly and remove air pockets to prevent future shrinking allowance.
Once the new foundation floor is established, a full internal basement waterproofing project is conducted. This includes the changing of the under-floor plumbing, drains, back water valves, rough-ins for bathrooms or laundry plumbing, and the installation of sump pumps. Then a weeping tile drainage system is laid in around the perimeter of the basement floor and gravel added to ensure good drainage. Finally, a drainage membrane is installed around the foundation walls, the underpinning pockets and draped over the weeping tiles and gravel bed.
Before pouring the concrete to finish your basement floor, you can have an in-floor radiant heating system connected to your hot water on demand or boiler system. The new concrete slab will be four to five inches thick and levelled to the necessary specifications.
Now your basement can become the kind of space you want — there are endless options for you to consider — additional bedrooms, office space, rental apartment, or simply a wonderful place to entertain your guests. You won't have to crouch or crawl in your basement space any more. City Wide Group has the experience you need to be confident about underpinning your home. Their technicians are insured and certified. They are a family-owned business that has worked on hundreds of projects in the Greater Toronto Area, Niagara Peninsula and in Southwestern Ontario. They have 23 consecutive Consumer Choice Awards denoting their consistent commitment to customer satisfaction. They also offer a fully-transferable lifetime warranty on their projects so you can be sure your project is done right. Give your home the boost it needs by underpinning your basement with City Wide Group.