In many old homes, basements only give enough room to access the foundation. They are not functional or legal to develop. If you want some extra living space, lowering your basement might be a great option. You can then legally develop your basement and make it a usable space.
Abarent has more than 30 years of experience in lowering basements across British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Using our proprietary Engineered System we have lowered basement floors as much as 36” (91.44 cm). If you have a 5-6′ (1.52-1.82 m) basement we can give you more space and guarantee our work with a stamped engineer’s design and compliance letter.
Abarent uses two main techniques of lowering a basement: benching and underpinning. Both involve structural changes to your foundation walls and footings that will enable you to have more usable space and allow you to have the basement waterproofed. Both are worth considering depending on the scope of work you wish to have done in your basement, the amount of new living space you want to create, and your budget. There are pros and cons to any project. Here’s how to lower a basement floor.
Benching is the more efficient and less expensive basement floor lowering method because it helps deal with some of the issues, costs, and liability that may occur if dwellings are close together. Benching does not require lowering the foundation walls and floor.
A concrete bench is constructed over a slope below the foundation footing. The bench will be reinforced with steel rebars and integrated into the new basement floor. This acts as a strut to horizontally reinforce the bottom of the original footing and prevents it from sliding and collapsing.
Underpinning requires an excavation (usually from the interior of the basement) under the existing foundation floor and wall. We dig in short sections, recommended by a structural engineer on our team, to get to the desired depth and fill them with concrete and reinforce the new foundation with a cap.
This process provides a new foundation floor and extends the walls of the basement. We will need to assess your property, the soil condition, proximity of other properties, and other underground infrastructure (plumbing, electrical) to determine if this is the right option to pursue for your situation and budget.
The bottom line is that benching and underpinning are meant to reinforce your foundation. Benching will add less space to your basement, but it is better for smaller budgets and the project doesn’t take as long. Underpinning will give you a lot more space and make your basement ready for renovations, but it is more expensive, takes more time, and may require more effort and consent of your neighbors depending on the building codes and bylaws in your area.
Basement lowering can provide you with more space and give you that rec room, office, or entertaining space you’ve always wanted! It can add value to your home with more developed square footage, but the process must be undertaken carefully and with experienced structural engineers and construction professionals.
Contact us in our Vancouver office for more information or for an estimate on the cost to lower a basement floor.
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I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for a job well done. After this past weekend's deluge, our basement was left completely dry.★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Aileen & Wayne Dembicki
(After a record-breaking rainfall in July 2012 and days before we were leaving on vacation, we returned home and) found that our basement was flooded...The Abarent team had done what I thought was impossible. They installed the weeping tile in two days over the long weekend and on a very tight deadline. Their crew was very professional and know what they were doing... Two days before our vacation, the project was complete and we were able to leave and enjoy our family vacation without worrying about flooding.★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Abarent provided a 3-page, itemized list of the specific work to be done at each stage of the project, including descriptions of optional issues (including additional costs) that might arise during the work. The company president did the initial walk-through for their estimate and later went through it, line by line. He pointed out potential problems and things we had to prepare for during the work (extra cracks, concrete dust, effects on neighbors, etc.)... Repairing a foundation is a very traumatic event for any householder because all of your house investment is (literally!) in the air. If you have to do it, call Abarent. They are professional - we cannot recommend them highly enough.★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It's no surprise that repairing a home's foundation and all that comes with the project would be a stressful, messy and unpredicatable job. Kevin and his team took the time to ensure the job was done well and done right. Kevin communicated with us every step of the way and always told us the truth whether it was good news or not. Personally, feeling secure that someone is being truthful is a big deal for me when dealing in an area that is not my forte. I appreciated his candor.★ ★ ★ ★ ★
COMMITTED TO A GREAT CLIENT EXPERIENCE SINCE 1989