Creating a fully renovated, finished basement is a large undertaking and should be planned 6 months in advance of starting any work. There are many things to consider, from drawing up the blueprints, to obtaining permits, to the waterproofing, electrical, plumbing etc.

Fortunately, Lowell Lyons, from Lyons Construction is here with great advice on what you should expect during a basement renovation.

It’s a big project, so plan!

Begin the planning and preparation stage at least six months prior to contacting a contractor.

Ask yourself: How do you want to use the basement? Some basics to consider including:

  • Bathroom
  • Bedroom
  • Home theater
  • What kind of lighting?
  • Types of doors

Keep in mind many items require add-ons to be considered up to code. For example, a bedroom requires an emergency window for people to escape out of.

  • A contractor will often have a design team who will help put together a proper plan for your basement. This will lay out everything for the construction team, and include blueprint drawings to be submitted to the municipality.
  • Complete blueprint and design drawings cost between $2000-$2500.
Moving infrastructure
  • Expect to have to move ductwork, plumbing, electrical and gas lines.
  • Budget early on for this, each item costs between $250-$1000 to move.
  • These can often be contained conveniently in one bulkhead.
  • Don’t be attached to where the rough in is, either way the floor is going to get broken up, so you can move your washroom wherever suits you best.
Check the foundation for cracks
  • Polymer injections are the fix and usually cost under $1000.
  • Cracks in the foundation can lead to moisture from the ground reaching your floor, so save yourself the headache and fix it before the reno.
Electrical Work
  • During a basement reno there are many circuits being added to your house, and a standard electrical panel won’t suffice.
  • Upgrading costs between $1200-$1800
  • Once the electrical work is complete make sure your electrician contacts the electrical safety authority to have an inspection done.
  • After passing inspection, a sticker will be put on your panel proving your electrical work has been inspected and is safe.


  • Bare bones — putting up walls, some lights, electrical work, $40-$50 sq ft
  • Comfortable — spray foam insulation, subfloor, bathroom, $50-$60 sq ft
  • Luxurious — i.e. fireplace, heated floors, granite counters, steam generator in shower, $80-$100 sq ft
Ask Questions!

Walk through every day, take a look, if you have any questions write them down and ask. A good contarctor will update you regularly on the progress of reno (at least once a week) and will be happy to answer your questions.


Posted by Leslie Andrachuk