Basement Renovation Checklist: What to Consider Before You Start

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Get the most out of your basement renovation by considering all the important factors before you start. Use this checklist to plan your basement finishing project and ensure a successful outcome.

Purpose of the Renovation

Before starting any basement renovation project, deciding what you want the space to be used for is important. Look at your lifestyle and needs and consider how the additional basement space could better serve your living environment. Whether you envision a cozy living area, a room dedicated to working from home, or an income-generating rental unit, take time to assess the costs associated with each option to make an informed decision.

Living Space

Creating a living space in your basement can be the perfect way to use the extra square footage. Depending on your budget and the space size, you can opt for a simple open-plan living area or something more intricate such as a multi-functional entertainment area. When it comes to furnishing, consider how much natural light the area gets and choose pieces that will make the most of what’s available. To add a touch of luxury to your finished basement, consider installing soundproofing materials to ensure peace and comfort when entertaining guests.

Home Office

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an extra room to work from home, or extra guest bedroom, you’ll need to pay close attention to the details. Make sure to plan for adequate lighting and ventilation and comfortable furnishings that promote productivity. You can also add soundproofing materials to the walls or ceiling to create a quiet, distraction-free environment perfect for concentration.

Rental Unit

Creating a rental unit in your basement can be an excellent way to generate some extra income. Before embarking on this project, however, it’s important to research local zoning laws and regulations to ensure you comply with the requirements. Additionally, you should factor in any additional costs associated with creating a separate entrance and installing soundproofing materials. Furthermore, you’ll need to consider the type of furniture and amenities you’ll provide for your tenant and ensure everything is up to standard.

Get an Average ROI of Over 70% on Your Investment


Canadian real estate magazine’s statistics show that a basement renovation can add up to 20% of your home’s total property value when done correctly. Additionally, the cost of a basement remodel is typically lower than other home improvement projects, with an average return on investment of over 70%.


Establishing a budget is an essential first step when planning any home renovation. It is important to accurately determine how much money you are able and willing to spend on the project to create a concrete plan for the best possible outcome. With your budget as a guide, you can decide which aspects of the basement renovation you can accomplish and what materials may need to be prioritized or downgraded depending on cost.

Additionally, it provides guidance when researching contractors should you choose not to do the work yourself. Setting a budget allows you to track your expenses to ensure that all desired renovations are within your financial capability.


Transforming a basement is an investment, but the potential payoff can be huge. On average, renovating 1,000 square feet of space requires between $45 and 95K – with the total cost varying depending on package choice and other factors. With careful planning, you can make your dream project come to life without breaking the bank!

Building Codes and Permits


Safety is an essential factor in any home renovation project. When it comes to basement remodelling, extra precautions must be taken because these rooms are often below ground level. It is vital to comply with local building codes and permits to ensure the safety of your family and anyone else who may spend time in your home.

Additionally, consider installing emergency exits or smoke detectors to protect against potential fire hazards or other unforeseen circumstances.

  • To get your renovation project started and finished promptly, it’s best to contact local building authorities in Ontario for any questions you may have or hire a professional contractor who can handle the job from start to finish.

Overall, with some planning and research, you can ensure that your basement renovation project is successful and cost-effective. By considering all the above factors and creating a clear budget, you can make the most out of your basement renovation.

Waterproofing and Moisture Control


Before beginning any project in the basement, it is essential to assess the current condition and determine if any necessary waterproofing or moisture control measures are needed in your basement bathrooms and entire place.

  • Leaking windows or walls;
  • Pooling water in the corners;
  • Musty odours;

These signs all indicate that there may be a dampness issue with your unfinished basement. If you don’t address it now, you could be setting yourself up for bigger problems in the future, such as mould and rot. Taking proactive steps to ensure your space is properly sealed and ready for renovation is paramount. You may need to purchase a battery-powered pump, install drainage systems, or seal odd cracks from where water could seep in.

Electrical and Plumbing

Starting any home project requires careful planning, but you’ll especially want to consider the details if electrical or plumbing work is involved. Electrical set-ups should be tailored to specific tasks, such as remodelling a kitchen, expanding the number of appliances requiring power, or adding outlets if you’re reconfiguring a room.

With plumbing projects, it’s important to consider whether you need additional plumbing fixtures like sinks, toilets, showers, and tubs added to the space before installation begins. It’s also important to note any changes in your city’s building codes that may have changed since your home was first constructed. Being diligent in planning will ensure that all electrical and plumbing work is done safely and up to code for years of safe use.


When applying for permits, include detailed plans for your basement renovation project. This will help the process move more quickly and efficiently.



When it comes to basement renovations, lighting is a very important factor. Planning for appropriate lighting can make the overall space more inviting and can help you create a more enjoyable atmosphere. Natural light is ideal, but task lighting and ambient lighting will become even more important if it isn’t available in your basement.

Task lighting should focus on areas where activities are likely to occur, such as near seating, desks, and other work surfaces. Focus on installing lights that allow for easy adjustment of brightness and direction of light when needed.

When planning for ambient lighting, remember that you need to have an adequate amount of light in all corners without any dark spots while keeping the brightness level comfortable. Consider using dimmers by installing low-voltage dimmers or multi-level dimmer switches, which allow you to adjust the intensity of the lights depending on the task at hand or the desired mood.

Use special light fixtures like pendant lamps, chandeliers, and wall sconces to make your home look more luxurious. These fixtures can add colour and texture to your chosen decor style while being functional.

Insulation and Ventilation


Before starting any basement renovation, the most important elements to consider are insulation and ventilation. Proper insulation and ventilation work is vital to ensure the space remains comfortable, energy-efficient, safe, and dry. It is highly recommended that a professional contractor be consulted before beginning renovation work to ensure the optimal level of insulation and ventilation are installed correctly.

Insulation should be used on all exterior walls, ceilings, and any pipes or ducts running through the space. Insulating these areas helps limit heat flow throughout the space and greatly reduces heating costs while increasing comfort levels. Various types of insulation are available such as foam boards, fibreglass batting, spray foam, rigid board panels or cellulose spray-in insulation; each has advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific needs. Basement contractors can provide guidance on which type of insulation is best suited for your project.

Flooring and Finishes


There are a few important factors when considering flooring and finishes for a basement renovation. It is essential to consider the moisture level in the space, as some materials may be more susceptible to dampness or water damage than others. For example, carpeting may be better for a basement floor because it can easily become saturated with moisture.

The Best Flooring for Basement

Vinyl plank flooring, luxury vinyl tile (LVT), and ceramic tile are all great options for basements since they are waterproof and durable. Additionally, LVT and ceramic tile have the additional benefits of being easy to clean, slip-resistant, and coming in various colours and styles.

As soon as you choose to floor for your basement renovation, ensure it is properly installed with proper insulation underneath to reduce noise levels from below-ground traffic or any mechanical systems running down in the basement area.

It is also important to ensure that any electrical wiring systems are properly grounded before installing new flooring materials to prevent shock hazards or electrocution risks. Finally, make sure you contact an experienced basement specialist who can help advise on whether certain building materials are suitable for your specific situation.

Furniture and Storage


Before you begin your basement renovation, planning for the necessary furniture and storage solutions that will make the space functional and comfortable is important. When thinking about furniture, consider multi-functional items and pieces that can be used in multiple ways.

For instance, an ottoman may double as extra seating while providing a place to store books or blankets. Additionally, if the area is used as an office, consider ergonomic furniture like adjustable desks and chairs to promote comfort during extended work hours.


Storage should also be taken into consideration when renovating a basement. Shelving units are ideal for storing items such as books and games while keeping them off the ground. In addition, built-in cabinetry may be installed to create a more organized look and feel while keeping necessary items out of sight yet easily accessible. If you’re looking for additional storage options, offer great hidden solutions under the stairs or behind doors.

Hiring a Contractor

Considering a basement renovation can be an exciting prospect, but it’s important to ensure the job is done right to avoid costly mistakes. Choosing the right contractor for the job is one of the most important decisions. Choosing a licensed contractor with experience in basement renovation projects is essential. Researching their qualifications and reviews can ensure you get quality workmanship and results that will stand out for years.

Basement Renovation Done Right

At Capable Group, we specialize in basement renovations, providing experienced contractors and designers with an eye for detail who will work with you to create a customized plan that meets all your needs. From small features like adding additional storage or replacing carpets to larger changes like creating bedrooms or wet bars, our team has you covered.

When it comes time to start planning your basement renovation, make sure you turn to the experts at Capable Group. Our experienced renovation contractors will help guide you through every step – from design specifications to completion – ensuring that everything is done according to plan and exceeds expectations! Don’t wait – contact us today, and let’s get started on transforming your basement into something amazing!

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