How to Add Height to Your Basement

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When you utilize it correctly, a basement is an important asset in a property. Your basement can be remodelled into an at-home gym, a legal secondary suite, or even a wine cellar. However, not all lower levels are constructed as viable living spaces. Because basements were once built primarily for storage, they have lower ceilings. This can be an issue when you’re trying to make better use of your basement. As a result, many homeowners resort to hiring contractors to help add height to their basements.

There are different ways you can add height to their basement. You can decorate your space to give the illusion of higher ceilings or structurally change the dimensions of your basement. Increasing your basement height should always be done by a professional so the rest of your home is not damaged from the excavation. The three most common methods of increasing your basement height are:

Underpinning Your Basement

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Underpinning a basement is the process where the floor is excavated to add depth to your lower structure. The concrete base is removed in sections because the foundation of your basement must be reinforced to maintain its strength and stability. This method should only be completed by trained professionals. If your flooring is not excavated properly, your house can collapse.

Benching Your Basement

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Benching a basement is very similar to underpinning. However, with benching, the entire floor is not lowered. Instead, a bench or ledge is built around the sides of the walls to maintain the structural strength and support of the foundation. Only the flooring inside the benched framework is removed and lowered.

Benching is less expensive than underpinning and there is less risk of your house collapsing. However, one of the drawbacks to this method is that it shortens your basements usable space so homeowners try to incorporate the ledge into their décor.

Raise Your Basement Ceiling

If lowering your basement floor is not an option, you can increase your basement height by raising your floor joist height. Joists are the vertical beams that support your home’s flooring. To raise your basement ceiling, raise the height of the joists by 3 millimetres or 1/8 of an inch per day to gradually increase the basement height.

Raising the ceiling of your basement is the cheapest method to increase its height because most homeowners can do this themselves. However, if the joists are raised too high too quickly, you can cause costly structural damage to your home. Always consult with a professional before your DIY project goes wrong.

Lifting Your House

By far, this is the most expensive form of increasing your basement height. To lift your home, contractors physically remove the house from the foundation to add a new, higher basement underneath.

Increasing the height of your basement ceiling is a huge undertaking but one that is worth the effort and expense. Adding an extra headroom to your basement interior will not only give you more useable space, but it will also increase the value of your home.