Is Basement Finishing In Winter a Good Idea? - Basement Finishing Company
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Is Basement Finishing In Winter a Good Idea?

Do you need to wait until spring for basement finishing? Toronto has notoriously cold winters and this often discourages homeowners from making basement renovations of any kind. However, you could be missing a great opportunity! Here we will look at the benefits of basement finishing and why winter could be the perfect time for making this upgrade.

In this blog we will look at:

  • Why winter could be the best time for basement finishing
  • Weather considerations for basement finishing in winter
  • Difference between basement finishing, renovation and remodeling
  • Benefits of a finished basement in winter
  • How to get started with basement finishing in winter
  • Scheduling your basement finishing project
  • Recap and Basement Finishing FAQ
  • How to Start Your Basement Finishing Project this Winter

Why Winter Could be the Best Time for Basement Finishing

Basement finishing and renovation have a host of benefits no matter when you choose to get started. Along with increasing home value, finishing can give you extra living space for a home gym, office, entertainment center or guest room. While spring and summer are the most common times to have these improvements made, here are reasons why you should consider basement finishing projects during the colder months:

  • Have Your Basement Ready for Spring: While most basement finishing projects may start during the warm weather, they will not finish until the fall. With the average basement finishing taking between four and eight weeks, you will miss out on having a nice indoor space to use during rainy spring days and too hot summer nights. Get started now to get even more use out of your basement earlier. 
  • Easier Scheduling for Contractors and Permits: Choosing to start home projects at the same time everyone else does is a fast way to ensure you will have scheduling conflicts. Contractors will be in short supply and you may not be able to have your basement started or finished as quickly as you could in the winter. Similarly, if you need any kind of permits for your new basement, these will typically go through more quickly during the slow season.
  • Make Use of Your Downtime: For many people, spring and summer can be busy times for socializing, vacations, seasonal work, and outdoor projects. Instead of having your basement worked on at the same time you are trying to get your yard in shape, get started now for an easier spring schedule.
  • Space Our Major Purchases: While basement finishing can be relatively affordable with many benefits, it is still a large purchase and commitment. Begin your basement finishing in winter to help spread out expenses you may incur during the warmer months from other home projects.
  • Product Availability: If you choose to remodel at the same time you finish your basement, you will need more decorative elements. Things like custom tiles, moulding and similar elements are less likely to go out of stock during the off season.
  • Potential Cost Savings: You can often find a price break on materials, contractors or even interior designers during the winter. With business being slower, professionals are more willing to offer deals.
  • Work on Unused Space: Along with weather considerations, home projects are typically avoided in winter because indoor spaces are in high use. While a kitchen or bath remodel might not make sense when all you want is cozy winter nights and holiday parties, your unfinished basement likely would not be in use anyway. Consider the fact that your unfinished basement likely does not have reliable heating and the benefits of starting this project in winter will be obvious.

Considerations Before Starting your Winter Basement Finishing Project

While there are plenty of reasons to get started on your basement finishing project this winter, there are some things to consider, including:

Problem: Having workmen coming in and out of the house during the winter will make your home colder. This will be uncomfortable and raise heating costs.

Solution: At Basement Finishing Company we take precautions to ensure your home is protected from excess cold. By hanging tarp dividers to section off your basement from the rest of your home and minimizing foot traffic through your home, your house will be kept comfortable.

Problem: Heavy snowstorms could delay work and make it difficult to have supplies delivered.

Solution: While a heavy Toronto snowfall could make it difficult for workers to continue a project, this is relatively rare. Basement Finishing Company’s team is experienced with working during inclement weather and we will work to minimize delays. Also, heavy spring rains can sometimes delay work as well so winter weather has around the same possibility of doing the same.

Problem: Cold weather will prevent you from opening windows during construction which means dust and debris will be left in the air.

Solution: Portable and compact ventilation systems make it possible to clear the air without opening windows.

Do you Need Basement Finishing, Basement Renovations or Remodeling?

It is not uncommon to use the words basement finishing, renovation and remodeling interchangeably. However, there are differences!

Why is the difference important? Understanding the difference between the three will help you know which one is right for your basement, your schedule and budget.  Also, if you plan to use the space for renting, the following will be considered when determining if your basement is a finished living area or not.

Basement Finishing: A finished basement will meet three criteria:

    • Incorporated heating and cooling system. Space heaters and wall units do not count when it comes to basement finishing. Your heating and cooling system should be connected to the main house.
    • Finished walls and floors: For a basement to be finished, its floors and walls should be covered with vinyl, wood or other material. If the walls or floor are cement or dirt, this is not a finished basement.
    • The basement is accessed through the main house. To be considered a finished living area, a basement needs to be accessed from the main house and have a permanent staircase. If you can only access your basement with a ladder and/or a ground level door that is not part of the house, it will likely not be classified as finished.
  • When should you choose basement finishing? Toronto homeowners should seek finishing projects (i.e. finishing floors, connecting an HVAC system, adding ventilation, etc.) if their basement does not yet include these basic elements. Despite the name, finishing is actually the start before remodeling or renovation can happen. 

Basement Remodeling: Basement remodeling is an extensive overhaul of a basement. It can include adding new structural elements that will expand the basement. For example, basement underpinning is a remodeling project that will lower your basement’s floor which will give you higher ceilings.

When to get basement remodeling? Remodeling projects often start in an already finished basement. However, you can also do many remodeling projects at the same time you finish a basement. This is usually both efficient and cost-effective.

Basement Renovations: Toronto homeowners typically seek basement renovations after finishing and/or remodeling has occurred. Renovations include projects that will restore your basement. This includes both repairs and upgrades. For example, replacing floor tiles or fixing minor to moderate water damage. Basement renovations are typically the simplest and most affordable projects that can be done in the least time.

When do you need basement renovations? Renovations are most common on older basements that have already been finished and/or remodeled. Choose renovations when you simply want to restore your basement to its former glory or make minor upgrades.

Enjoy the Benefits of a Heated Basement in Winter

One of the biggest advantages of a finished basement is that it will have a fully functional heating and cooling system. This means your basement area is temperature-controlled by the same system that the rest of your home is heated and cooled by. When this system is connected, you will have a comfortable basement living space that does not require clunky AC window units or dangerous space heaters.

This can be extremely beneficial in the winter time as it is often the most popular time of year for parties. Your once drafty basement can now be the ideal place to host winter holiday get-togethers. Open up space for guests to stay overnight or allow kids to have their own party and play area separate from the adults.

  • Warm, comfortable place for holiday parties.
  • Extra space for overnight guests.
  • Perfect play area for children and teens.
  • Room for holiday crafts, gift wrapping and more.
  • Take your workout routine indoors to the basement to avoid crowded gyms and freezing temperatures.


Related Article: How To Choose A Reliable Basement Renovator in Vaughan


Scheduling your Basement Finishing Project

A general timeline for your basement finishing will begin with an initial consultation and estimate with your contractor. This is the general order of events you can expect:

Framing, HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical Rough-Ins: The first three to ten days of your finishing project will include putting in the basic elements for your electrical and plumbing systems. This will include such things as running water lines where needed, recessed lighting housing, and outlet boxes.

Initial Inspection: Before drywall can be hung and the electrical and plumbing lines covered, your basement will be inspected by a city inspector. The inspector will ensure everything is up to code and give the ok for the project to continue. This will only take one day.

Hanging Drywall: Preparing your walls with sheetrock and drywall is a multi-step process that will include drying times. Overall, this will take around five days but at the end of this time, you will really start to see the difference in your basement. A once dark basement will now seem brighter and closer to a living space.

Trim and Painting: Carpenters will proceed with creating trim for door frames after the drywall is complete. Then, painting can begin. This step will take anywhere from five days to eight days.

Flooring: Depending on the type of flooring you have chosen and the size of your basement, you can expect to have a finished floor in about three days.

Finishing and Inspection: Almost done! In the last few days of the project, your plumber, electrician, carpenters and other contractors will come in to finish any final details. Finally, the city inspector will take a last look to ensure the project has been completed. Now, your basement is ready!


Related Article: Why Are People Falling In Love With Open Basement Concept


Recap and Basement Finishing Toronto FAQ

  • Why is basement finishing a good idea in winter? Winter is a great time for basement finishing because fewer people are working on their homes at this time. Contractors are more readily available which means scheduling is easier, costs may be lower and permits are likely to get processed more quickly.
  • When Should you start your basement finishing project? Anytime is a great time to get started. However, keep in mind that your total finishing will take around four to eight weeks. Try to avoid scheduling during any time that you may need to travel or when no one will be available at your home.
  • How much does basement finishing cost? There are many factors that will contribute to total cost including the materials you choose and how large your basement is. Generally, costs will be calculated by your basement’s square footage.
  • How long will basement finishing take? Most basement finishing projects will take between four and eight weeks.
  • Why might basement finishing not work in winter? Homeowners often avoid getting home renovations during winter because it is harder to keep the home warm when workers are coming and going. Air quality may also be compromised when windows cannot be opened to let out dust caused  by construction. However, portable ventilation and tarp dividers provide solutions to these concerns.
  • What is the difference between finishing, remodeling and renovation? Basement finishing gives your basement a base to become a functional living area. Electricity, plumbing, heating and cooling systems are all added as needed along with finishing for flooring and walls. A remodel includes extensive structural changes like lowering the floor, adding walls and more. A remodel is often done with a finishing project or it can be done after.

A renovation is the least complicated of the three. With a renovation, you are typically working on a finished and/or remodeled basement that needs to be restored. This will include minor upgrades and repairs.

How to Start Your Basement Finishing Project this Winter

To get started with your basement finishing, Toronto homeowners should contact the Basement Finishing Company. Our expert contractors will assess your basement and provide you with estimated costs and scheduling.

Get started now by scheduling your consultation with Basement Finishing Company. Call 647-370-9448.