Basement Underpinning Toronto

Basement Underpinning Experts in Toronto

Foundation underpinning is a complicated process, and it’s important to choose an underpinning contractor with the experience, expertise, and reputation to give you a finished product you can count on. MAGCOR offers quality craftsmanship, a transparent work process, and an unparalleled safety record. MAGCOR’S award-winning team of underpinning specialists handles everything from permits to clean-up.

If you’ve outgrown your current living space and are looking for a cost-effective way to add more square feet to your home, we can help. Foundation underpinning not only gives you more elbow room. Whatever your reason for underpinning your basement, we’re here to help. MAGCOR makes it possible for you to build the future you envision.

We take pride in delivering projects within budget and on time. We’ve built a reputation for excellence and trustworthiness, which means we’re the go-to choice for homeowners, contractors, renovators, and companies. Our teams are well-trained and knowledgeable, with dedicated technicians and safety advocates to ensure the project runs smoothly.

While we work hard to give clients the most cost-effective options, we never cut corners on a job or use low-quality materials. MAGCOR is one of Toronto’s leading underpinning companies, and our dedication to outstanding customer service and a culture of open communication means you can trust your job is our top priority, and that we’ll be with you every step of the way.

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What is Basement Underpinning?

Basement underpinning, often referred to as basement lowering, gives you more liveable space in your basement. It also fixes problems with your foundation and increases your home’s structural integrity. People choose to lower basements for a variety of reasons besides giving themselves more living space. They may also go through the basement underpinning process to strengthen the foundation so that it will support a second-floor addition, or as a cost-effective way to increase living space by building down.

The basement lowering process is carefully orchestrated by a team of experts and involves securely supporting your home or building, excavating the dirt in your crawlspace or under your concrete slab, pouring new concrete footers, adding walls, and installing a new floor.

There are four main advantages you get out of foundation underpinning. The most important thing you get out of this type of project is that it’s a cost-effective way to increase your home’s liveable square footage. The second advantage is that you have a chance to repair structural damage to the foundation caused by age, weather extremes, poor construction techniques, or cracking due to soil subsidence. Third, you’ll automatically get more headspace and a better quality living space in your basement. Finally, you’ll have the opportunity to make important upgrades and modernizations, such as adding radiant heat flooring or updating old wiring.

Benefits of Basement Underpinning

Boost Ceiling Height and Get Better Lighting

Most basements can be described as cramped and poorly lit. Underpinning a house gives you more headroom, making your basement feel more like your other living spaces. You also have the opportunity to install additional, larger windows, bringing more natural light into the space and reducing reliance on artificial lighting. Higher ceilings also give you more room to add efficient light fixtures.

Easier, More Affordable Option to Increase Usable Living Space

Whether you’re looking for extra elbow room, planning to rent out your basement for a secondary income stream, or need to put in a mother-in-law suite, basement lowering is one of the more affordable choices when it comes to increasing your home’s livable space. Permits are less expensive than those required for an addition, and waterproofing measures often make you eligible for rebates. Plus, you’re upgrading an existing structure versus building a new structure that ties into your existing home.

Strengthen Your Foundation

There are a number of things that make it necessary to increase your foundation’s strength profile. Your foundation may be too shallow to support a second-story addition, or there may be nearby construction with a deeper foundation. Your home might have been built before 1940 and not be mechanically fastened to the foundation with bolts, making it unsafe in the event of an earthquake. Homes built after 1940 and into the mid-1990s weren’t designed to have basements and crawl spaces used as living areas, making for chronic problems with dampness, flooding, and mould.

Upgrade Your Waterproofing to Prevent Damage

Effective modern waterproofing prevents damage to your foundation, walls, and furnishings and preserves your investment. Waterproofing upgrades may also make you eligible to receive city rebates. Effective water management is the key factor in creating a comfortable living space that won’t flood every time it rains or be a constant source of mould exposure. If you do have problems with mould, it’s critical that you partner with an experienced mould remediation company to ensure you’re not simply covering up the problem, only to have it resurface again.

Upgrade Outdated Plumbing, Wiring, and Insulation

Building underpinning gives you a chance to perform much-needed upgrades on original plumbing, wiring, and insulation. When your home was built, these items may have been state-of-the-art, but by now, it’s time to replace them with modern materials and systems that better protect your investment and save you money when it comes to keeping your home warm and weather-tight.

Increase Property Value and Get a Better Return On Your Investment

Over the course of underpinning your basement, you’ll fix structural problems, update outdated wiring and drainage, and add important upgrades like sump pump systems and radiant floor heating, along with sewage backflow prevention. Prospective buyers know this, and will always feel more interested in a home with an underpinned basement than one left in its original unfinished state. They’ll value it even more if you choose to finish the space.

The Permit Process Can Be Less Expensive and Complicated Than Building an Addition

In many cases, the permit process for basement lowering is faster and less expensive compared to getting permits for building an addition to your house, and very much depends on the scope of your project. The cost of drawings will always be a determining factor. In Toronto, you can expect to pay around $2,200 for a permit and get it approved in about three weeks. Construction permits vary a lot, depending on how complex your project is. This makes the approval time much longer, and can cost you somewhere between $4,000 to $10,000 to get your permits and drawings done.

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Basement Underpinning Process

Planning and Permits for Basement Lowering Projects

A basement lowering project requires careful coordination between structural engineers, architects, and the city. Our goal is to keep everyone on the same page and your project moving forward on time and within budget.

Secure Household Goods and Furnishings

Before we can begin work on your basement lowering, you must remove and store all household goods and furniture that are currently in your basement or crawlspace. We cannot work around these items, and inspectors need a clear field to do their job right.

Basement Demolition

Once the basement is clear, we can begin demolition, removing existing floors, walls, previously finished areas, and outdated systems. This gives us a clear, easily accessible workspace and makes the job run more efficiently. Depending on your project needs, we may remove or widen a window area to make the removal of excavated materials faster.

Removing the Concrete Floor

Depending on the thickness of your slab, we may use a combination of hand tools and power tools to remove your old concrete floors. With power tools, reinforced slabs and those that are thicker than four inches go faster. As always, before removing any concrete, we identify exactly where your utilities are to prevent unwanted damage.

Excavating and Removing the Soil

Once the slab is removed, we clear away the rubble and begin removing the soil as directed by the engineer. Depending on your site, we may set up a conveyer belt system to bring the dirt up or carry it out with wheelbarrows. We take care of the soil disposal for you.

Underpinning Foundation in Sections

Underpinning in sections makes the process safer and requires many inspection checkpoints to ensure the finished product is one you can trust to stand the test of time. Once the structural engineer assesses your project, they will generate a report and divide your space into sections. Each section is about three to four feet wide and labelled 1, 2, or 3. To begin, all sections marked with a 1 will be excavated down to the specified depth and also back to a specific depth. Then, forms are built for the excavated sections, and concrete is poured to create new footings. These steps are repeated for the remaining sections, in order, until all sections have been completed.

Individual Underpinning Section Inspections

Inspections are crucial when it comes to ensuring a good outcome on your basement underpinning, which is why they are required throughout the underpinning process. Structural engineers make sure your home’s stability isn’t adversely affected, that load-bearing walls and columns aren’t compromised, that excavation is being carried out safely, and that the new footings are up to code.

Rerouting or Adding Drainage

When lowering a basement, you should also revise your drainage system to accommodate the new depth. This is the ideal time to reroute drainage or add additional features to your system. Our expert team will help you decide which drainage options are right for your project and go over the pros and cons of each choice. Once new drains are installed and properly connected, they will be inspected to ensure they’re leak-free.

Installing Modern Waterproofing

Modern waterproofing is essential to controlling moisture levels in your basement. Water can enter your basement in many ways, including through the walls and under the foundation. Our crew installs modern Delta waterproofing membranes on the walls and throughout the floor to protect the new concrete slab.

Adding Radiant Floor Heating and Insulation

This is the perfect time to include value-added systems such as radiant floor heating and insulation. Heating basements can be more expensive than heating above-ground rooms, since your basement never gets a solar boost. Radiant floor systems help keep the cold and damp out of your basement and make it easier to keep the ambient temperature comfortable. Our team can walk you through the pros and cons of putting one of these systems in.

Installing the Sump Pit and Pump System

During large rain events or seasonal storms, the city’s drainage infrastructure often can’t keep up, and flooding can occur. A dewatering pump located in a sump pit gives flood waters a place to go and quickly be pumped out of your basement, minimizing damage. You may be eligible for city rebates and incentives to help offset the cost of a sump pit system.

Adding Gravel and a New Concrete Floor

Once all the sewer and drainage lines are in place, the electric lines have been wired, and upgrades like radiant floor heating are installed, it’s time to work on your new concrete slab. A layer of gravel and waterproofing membrane is laid down, and a weeping tile drainage system is installed to catch any moisture accumulation and direct it away from your walls and foundation and into the sump pit. Once everything is squared away, a new concrete floor is poured and floated.

Work Area Cleanup

Finally, we clean up the work site and finish removing all excavated dirt and old concrete chunks from your property. Rest assured, we’ll leave you with a clean basement and clear driveway or side yard when we’re finished. Our goal is to ensure you can comfortably start using your new space immediately or bring a finishing crew in to complete the transformation.

Why Choose Us for Basement Underpinning in Toronto

MAGCOR Demolition has the experience, technology, and skilled crews to handle any basement underpinning job, no matter how complex. Our process relies on open communication and transparent steps, so you always know what’s going on at every stage. We’re advocates for our clients, helping them find options and solutions that suit their needs and accommodate their budgets.

  • Award-winning, experienced, and trusted demolition contractors
  • Fully licensed and Insured
  • We use only the highest-quality materials
  • Modern technology and equipment
  • Our teams are trained to use industry best practices
  • Fair and competitive prices
  • Unbiased advice
  • We stand behind our work with a robust warranty

Recent Underpinning Projects in Toronto

We Offer Basement Underpinning Services in Ontario

FAQs About Basement Underpinning

Can you lower a basement floor without underpinning?

No. It will weaken your home or building’s structural integrity. Lowering a basement floor without adequate underpinning is like building a house without a foundation. No qualified, insured basement lowering contractor will agree to lower a basement without properly underpinning your foundation. To do anything else in an effort to cut costs risks the complete or partial collapse of your house, and it’s likely to void any insurance payout that you might be eligible for.

How long does it take to underpin your basement?

It depends a lot on the complexity of your job and, of course, the weather. Generally speaking, the basement lowering process takes about four to six weeks to complete a basement underpinning project. The size of your basement and the area that needs underpinning greatly affect the length of the job. The depth of your underpin also plays an important role in how long your project is going to take. The deeper the dig, the longer it takes. If your slab is very thick or reinforced, it takes more time to remove the old floors, and power tools or specialized equipment may be needed. Easy basement access will streamline the job, while cramped access makes everything take longer.

What should you consider before basement lowering?

Basement lowering is a complicated, disruptive process that demands precision and experience. While expensive, it improves the value of your house and gives you a better return on your investment. It can also pay for itself in additional income if you rent out a basement apartment.
With that being said, there are a few things to keep in mind before going forward with a basement lowering project. Consider what you want the end use of your basement to be. You may have to undergo basement underpinning to fix an unstable foundation, and that’s all you want to achieve. You might also see this as an opportunity to increase your living space. The ultimate end use will dictate things like the kind of insulation used, drainage options, and what fixtures will be installed.
Be sure you have an adequate budget to account for end use, appropriate waterproofing, additional fixtures, wiring, and drainage upgrades, along with getting the finish you want. Finally, make sure you choose basement lowering experts to partner with.

What are the risks of underpinning?

Using an inexperienced underpinning contractor or trying to turn it into a DIY project is a recipe for disaster. Without the expertise of experienced experts, you risk everything. Workers can unintentionally compromise your foundation and cause expensive damage down the line. Your house could completely collapse, causing injury or death to anyone in the building at the time. It could also damage nearby buildings.

When is the best time to complete Toronto underpinning projects?

You always want to choose a good weather window for your basement underpinning project. Pick a dry time of the year to minimize flood risk and make sure you time the job to finish up before bad weather moves in. Summertime is always a busy time of year for construction, which may make it take longer to get your permit approved, and high demand might drive up prices. Winter is often good for this kind of project, as long as you protect and heat up the foundation when pouring concrete.

How much is basement underpinning in Toronto?

Every basement underpinning project is different, so while we can give you a ballpark range of what to expect, you won’t know for sure until experienced estimators have assessed your project.
On average, you can expect to spend about $450 per linear foot to excavate your basement and around $80 per square foot for basement underpinning. You also need to spend $300 to $400 to get a structural engineering report and between $500 to $2,500 for a soil composition analysis. It generally costs $2,500 to $4,500 for a licensed architect and then you have the expense of your permit. Effective January 1, 2020, it will cost $11.43/linear metre in permit fees.

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