Home additions Toronto

Should I Finish My Basement Or Add An Addition To My Home?

With housing prices in the Greater Toronto Area on the rise, many homeowners would rather add living space to their existing homes instead of moving. The two most common ways of doing this are adding an addition to the home or finishing the basement. Which option you should choose will depend on your unique living-space needs as well as your financial budget. Like everything else, there are often pros and cons when it comes to each option.

Adding Home Addition

Creating home additions Toronto

There’s no question an addition is more costly than a finished basement since you’re dealing with a foundation, roofing, windows, and walls and you’ll need to make sure you acquire all of the necessary building permits. Also, you’ll obviously need the required space on your property to build an extension or addition and there’s no going back if you make a mistake or aren’t happy with the finished product. You will also likely lose some of your home’s yard space unless you add an additional story.

On the bright side, building an addition is less expensive than buying a new home and there’s a good chance you’ll recover the costs if you decide to sell the house. However, recouping your costs will depend on the state of the real estate market at the time of the sale. If you decide to build an addition or a sunroom you’ll be able to use your creativity by designing your own unique structure. Everything can be built to your specific lifestyle, tastes, and needs, but you’ll also be faced with increased costs for property taxes, heating and cooling as well as more general maintenance and cleaning.

Adding a story to the home is an option for some people as long as your foundation is able to handle the additional load. You’ll need to add a staircase though unless there’s already an existing one. This is generally less expensive than building an extension since a new foundation doesn’t need to be dug.

Finish The Basement

finished basement Toronto

As for finishing a basement, you’ll be adding living space to your home at a lower price and won’t need to worry about an endless stream of building permits and construction workers in your home and yard. You’re not technically adding square footage to your home, but you’re definitely creating additional living space without having to build onto your home. If you have a good-sized basement you may be able to create several different living areas in the space rather than just one large room.

If your basement height is not high enough for a living space, you also have the option of hiring a basement lowering company that can underpin your basement and make it a livable height.

Depending on the size, some homeowners are able to add things such as an office, home theatre, spare bedroom, bar, family room, home gym, and an additional bathroom in their basements. If you decide to choose this route over a home extension it’s a good idea to make sure the basement is properly waterproofed or water controlled to keep as much moisture and humidity out as possible.

The choice of an addition or finished basement is ultimately up to you and whatever best suits your needs. An addition could be the answer if your home doesn’t fulfill your needs and still won’t even if you finish the basement.  If you live in Toronto or the surrounding GTA and you’re having a hard time deciding please feel free to contact us at York Construction Company for information on your options and some free, friendly advice.

Basement Renovation Project in Toronto

How to Save Money When Finishing a Basement

Finishing a basement may seem like a detailed and complicated task, but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Most of the work will involve flooring, insulation, finishing the ceiling and walls and dealing with electrical and water lines. We’ll discuss the best ways to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to finishing a basement. Of course, everybody has different tastes, so this is basically a general guideline.


basement lighting
It’s difficult to utilize natural light in a basement so you’ll need to get the most out of your lighting as possible. There’s no need to install lighting in areas where it won’t be used and there’s also no need to overdo it with costly lighting options that won’t be used. Take the time to look for the most economical lighting possible when it comes to electricity-usage costs.


Basement sink
Unless you plan on installing a bar in the basement, you will probably find you don’t need a sink in the room. As long as there’s a washroom close by you should be fine without a sink and this will save on plumbing costs.

Extra Bedroom

basement bedroom
If you don’t plan on having many stay-over guests you likely won’t find the need for an additional bedroom downstairs. Instead, you could install a pull-out couch in case you need the area for an occasional sleeping space.

Open Space

Basement Family Room
A finished basement that has an open space will be less expensive than multiple rooms. This will allow you to cut down on the cost of drywall, studs and doors that are needed for separate rooms.


Basement Tiling
When looking for tiling for the bathroom or bar, you should take the time to look for less-expensive options. You’ll often be able to find tiles for half price which look just as good as more-expensive tiling.

Standard Sizing

Basement Bar
Instead of customizing your bar or bathroom it’s a good idea to go with standard sizes when it comes to countertops and cabinets etc.

Don’t Finish all the Space

Partially finished basement
Just because you have a huge basement it doesn’t mean you have to finish the entire area. If you only finish the areas you plan on using you’ll save time and money.


Basement flooring options
Saving money on flooring can be achieved if you consider options such as carpeting and linoleum tile. If you really want to save you can consider painting the concrete floor and then placing a rug or two over it.


Basement walls finished
In most cases, basement walls are pretty well insulated already as the masonry walls surrounding the area can be up to eight inches in thickness. Wooden frames can be built for the walls and drywall can be used.

Align Electrical Wires and Water Pipes

Exposed basement
If the pipes and electrical wires are properly aligned you can also save money. The wiring and piping are often situated between the ceiling joists.

Washroom Location

basement bathroom
If you plan on installing a washroom downstairs you should install it below an existing upstairs washroom so new water pipes won’t need to be installed. This enables you to forgo new piping as an additional branch of pipe can be added to the existing washroom.

Dropped Ceiling

basement drop ceiling
A dropped ceiling and acoustical tiles will allow you easier access to the basement wiring etc.

About York Construction Company
York Construction Company is a Toronto based home renovation company that has been serving the GTA for over 50 years.  We provide professional services with a focus on customer service.  For more detailed information on finishing a basement in the Greater Toronto Area and how to go about it economically, please don’t hesitate to contact us at York Construction Company.

Basement remodeling contractor york construction toronto

How much does a basement renovation cost?

The cost of renovating your basement will typically depend on the size of the room and exactly what you plan on installing in it. In general, the average cost of finishing an open-concept basement along with a washroom is approximately $36 to $40 per square foot. However, those costs could rise to about $80 per square foot if you plan on going high-end. Therefore, 1,000 square feet of basement living space will usually cost between $40,000 and $80,000 with the average homeowner spending from $45,000 to $60,000 for the renovation.

There are several specific factors which will affect the cost of the basement and these include: adding a bar or kitchen, an additional bathroom or sauna, a laundry room, moving the plumbing rough-ins, installing a subfloor or upgrading from basic laminate flooring, adding a separate entrance to the basement, using spray foam insulation, and installing soundproofing insulation between the basement and main floor. In addition, the costs will generally rise if you plan on adding high-end finishes such as crown mouldings, trim and doors.

Renovating a basement can be a big task as it may include building new walls or moving existing ones, installing window coverings, the ceiling and flooring, and then furnishing the finished room. Adding to the cost will be variable such as materials, labour, plumbing and electrical. If you have water or moisture problems you may also need to hire a waterproofing company to come in and stop any water from getting into your basement.  But when is all said and done, renovating your basement will provide your family with more living space and also increase the resale value of the home.


Basement bathroom installation toronto
Since your family will be spending more time in your finished basement it will be quite convenient to have a nearby bathroom installed. This means the bathroom’s plumbing will need to be connected to the home’s sewage and water lines. The costs will include the materials and labour and you may have to open up some existing walls to gain access to necessary areas. You’ll also need to look into obtaining the proper building permits from the city.

Once the bathroom is completed or an existing one has been remodeled it’s recommended that you have it inspected by a professional contractor to make sure all the electrical and plumbing work has been properly carried out. If you decide to install a washroom only without a shower or bathtub you’ll be able to keep the costs down.


Basement framing job new family room toronto
If you plan on dividing the basement area into separate rooms then you may have to include some framing work. This may involve tasks such as knocking down existing walls. In addition, if additional walls are needed they will add to the cost of the renovation as electrical fixtures will also need to be installed. The exterior walls may also need to be insulated and you may also decide to soundproof the finished room.

Walls and Ceiling

New basement ceiling finish toronto
Once the framing for the walls has been completed you’ll need drywall panels. These come in an assortment of shapes and thickness and will cost so much per panel. You may choose to add a sound-muffling texture to the drywall for soundproofing purposes and this will cost more. When it comes to the ceiling, you may decide on a drop ceiling or simple drywall. A drop ceiling can be less expensive, but drywall may be cheaper if the framing has already been done. Since drywall is more or less permanent it means your access to pipes and wiring above it could be limited when compared to a drop ceiling.


Misc basement additons toronto
Many homeowners like to spruce of their new basement by adding additional items such as a wet bar and the cost will depend in its size as well as the countertop material used and any appliances you may want to add such as a refrigerator.

You may also need additional electrical wiring and outlets for more things such as additional lighting and home theatre setup with big-screen TV and digital surround sound etc.

An additional downstairs bedroom is also an option and will typically add resale value to the home.  Be sure to check local zoning laws to make sure this is legal in your area.  As with most remodeling and renovating jobs you can customize the task to suit your personal preferences and budget for enjoyment now and additional value if you decide to sell your home.

If you want to find out about a basement renovation project for your home, you can contact us here to schedule a free basement renovation consultation.  York Construction has been serving Toronto and the surrounding GTA for over 50 years.