The home basement has a very interesting history here in Canada. Originally, basements were viewed as relatively essential to surviving the long, cold Canadian winters.
Basements were great places to store produce, canned goods and sometimes people in the days before modern heating was invented.
Today, most of us don’t use our basements as a root cellar. In fact, as this interesting archival digest report from Natural Resources Canada explains, the practice of converting basements into additional full-use rooms began as early as 1961 here in Canada!
If you still have an old-school dirt basement, you might justifiably feel more than a bit of “basement envy” when you read these words. But did you know you can transform your dirt basement in just five simple, quick steps? Read on to learn how!
Step 1: Clean and level
The first step for most dirt basements is to simply give it a thorough and likely long-overdue deep cleaning. Happily, if you don’t fancy tackling this task yourself, our team can tackle it for you.
This may involve safely removing and disposing of old or mouldy insulation, scrubbing the walls free of mould, mildew or efflorescence (dried mineral salts), cleaning away evidence of overwintering insects or small critters and sorting through stored goods.
Once your basement is sufficiently clean and sanitized, it will need to be levelled. Levelling the floor paves the way for the installation of your pipes and sump pump as well as a functional floor.
Step 2: Pipe and drain
After cleaning and levelling your basement, it is time to install the drainage system, including window wells and floor drains as may be appropriate.
External extended downspouts and/or enhanced grading will funnel water away from your basement to safeguard your home.
Step 3: Sump pump and backup
A critical step along the path to transforming your dirt basement is to install your sump pump system and its backup.
Why do you need two separate systems?
The main reason is due to power outages. Canada can get some pretty severe weather. If your main sump pump system is electrical and the power goes out, there is a very real danger that your basement may flood.
A backup sump pump system that runs on motion sensors, propane or a generator battery can ensure your newly upgraded basement never takes on water and floods.
Step 4: Dehumidify and insulate
In previous decades, it was common practice to ventilate crawl spaces and basements. This is no longer recommended because it tends to exacerbate all of the problems unfinished basements are known for – humidity, damp, leaks, mildew, mould, rot.
Instead, modern building science aims to block moisture from entering and building up in your basement. A variety of tools exist, including powerful commercial-grade dehumidification equipment and vapor barriers.
An essential step along the way to keeping excess moisture out of your basement space is installing the appropriate type of insulation.
Traditional fiberglass insulation is now known to be largely ineffective when used in an underground area. It is just as vulnerable to moisture degradation as other organic matter.
Basements require a special type of moisture-resistant insulation that will not break down and rot over time. As a perk, installing basement-appropriate insulation will also serve to reduce your energy bills and warm your floors in the rooms above ground.
Step 5: Waterproof and encapsulate
The final step along the way to transforming your basement space is to fully waterproof and encapsulate your basement.
According to one recent report, as many as 98 percent of all basements in North America may leak or flood at some point in their useful life. That is a very high percentage!
This is why, statistically speaking, investing in affordable basement waterproofing now can boost your home’s resale value later by at least 30 percent.
It is also why investing in basement waterproofing often lowers the future cost of your annual homeowners insurance premiums. This can be especially important if your homeowners policy does not cover water-related damages to your basement (be sure to check your policy’s fine print to know for sure).
For all of these reasons and more, we absolutely do not recommend leaving basement flooding to chance or luck. This is especially the case as climate change increasingly shifts our typical weather patterns, making it hard to know what to expect from one season to the next.
Rather than wait, wonder and worry, we recommend an alternate approach: waterproofing basement walls from the inside and a full basement encapsulation.
As part of this step, it may be necessary to repair visible cracks in the basement flooring or walls before applying the waterproofing treatment and completing the encapsulation itself. This will ensure that no moisture is able to build up behind the preventative barrier.
Voila! Welcome to Your New Modern Basement!
When we have completed these five steps, which typically takes from one to a few days, you may not believe your eyes at first. Suddenly, your musty, dusty, rocky, dirt basement looks and feels homey, safe, secure, temperature and humidity-balanced and even livable.
This is our favorite part of any basement upgrade project.
Now you can safely store items in your basement. Many space-crunched homeowners enjoy the chance to move noisy appliances like the washer/dryer or hot water heater into their newly transformed basements.
And when the time comes to sell your home, you will be all ready to show off your upgraded basement and rake in the extra profit!
Get in Touch
Is it time to give your dirt basement a makeover and boost your home’s resale value? We can help!
Contact us now to learn about our FREE EasyQuote system. Get a fast, no-obligation quote to upgrade your dirt basement before winter arrives.
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-875-6664.