The do-it-yourself method of renovating your basement may have some personal pride associated; but is it really the best way to approach such a major makeover? We’ve seen it all — major flooding, ruined floors, you name it. We’ve decided to put together a list of 9 basement renovation mistakes you do not want to make:

1 – Is there a history of flooding?

Is your basement flood-prone? Some basements are more prone to flooding than others. It’s important to make sure that your basement is sealed and fully waterproofed before the remodeling begins. Failure to do so may result in an exceptional waste of time and a ton of money once the rain hit and destroys all of hard work and money put into your basement renovation.

Home Renovations Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge

One of our custom-built basement bars.

2 – Have a plan.

One of the biggest mistakes DIY’ers make is thinking that they can stop by their local building centre on a whim, buy a load of lumber, drywall and hardware and start putting the sticks in place without actually sitting down and constructing a well thought out plan.  A solid construction plan not only includes a layout of where you want the walls to go, but it should also include any electrical, plumbing and HVAC; oh, and don’t forget the in-ceiling speakers!

Also, make sure you know your BUDGET!  How much money do you have set aside for the project?  It is imperative you research all the materials you will need to purchase through-out the process and set aside a budget for each step; if you don’t you will quickly come to the realization that this is going to cost you WAY more than you originally had hoped.  So, avoid the shock and PLAN.

3 – Consider installing a subfloor.

Concrete is cold and damp.  It will naturally wick moisture from the ground below it onto its surface.  In most installations, this moisture is absorbed by a carpet or laminate underpad that was installed directly over the concrete.  The best way to protect your flooring investment is to install a subfloor that will allow this moisture to evaporate.  There some expensive products on the market that work well, but at RTC we use a method that will save you hundreds of dollars and accomplish the exact same goal.

Home Renovations Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge

One of our well insulated, laminate floors and luxuriously finished basement renovations.

4 – Framing materials

Just like your selection of flooring, your wall materials are also extremely important when planning for the long-run. Additionally, walls can be a breeding ground for mould when wet, so it’s important that you make the right decision when selecting your framing materials. Our advice? Select lumber that is treated to prevent mould growth due to moisture — it’ll save you tons of money, and ensure your health and safety in the unfortunate event of an uncontrollable flood/damage.  It will also keep the carpenter ants at bay!

5 – Drainage

Don’t cover it up! No matter how much time, money and effort goes into your basement, there’s always that slight chance that some uncontrollable disaster could happen. We’re not saying it’s likely, but given the time and money you’re putting into your basement renovation, it’s important to plan for everything. Don’t cover the drainage. No matter what you do; make sure there’s a way out for water in the event of a leak or flood.

6 – Backup sump pump

A backup sump pump system will provide emergency service during a power outage, which could occur at a time when your basement is prone to a flood, like after a storm. Without it, you could be at a higher risk for a flood in your newly renovated basement.


7 – Baseboard molding

One of the biggest ‘wow factors’ and in reality, one of the cheapest upgrades a customer can make is with the trim they choose to install.  Installing an awesome baseboard/casing combination can really make a basement standout!

Home Renovations Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge

One of our well-crafted, stylish bar-inclusive basements with a professional baseboard mold.

8 – Soundproofing

Soundproofing can be an expensive process to do it properly.  However, if you only want to finish your basement once, we recommend spending the extra money to soundproof the ceiling in your basement.  This means no more footsteps heard while trying to watch that movie in the basement, it also means the people trying to sleep upstairs won’t hear the party going on in the basement!  Please contact us to discuss all the soundproofing options for your basement.

9 – Not hiring a professional

If you weren’t completely aware of all of these above-noted mistakes, it’s important that you consult and hire a proven professional contractor.