Before & After: Ottawa Basement Renovations Success

A family in Old Ottawa South has successfully transformed their unused and cluttered basement into a functional and inviting living space with the help of Casey Grey and his team from The Conscious Builder. This remarkable renovation project involved lowering the basement and adding 14 extra inches of headroom, resulting in a basement that now features a comfortable family room, laundry room, and bathroom.

Key Takeaways:

  • Renovating a basement can significantly increase the value and functionality of a home.
  • The process of lowering a basement involves detailed underpinning and careful transferring of the foundation.
  • Planning the layout is crucial to create a functional and enjoyable living space.
  • Using high-quality materials ensures durability and longevity.
  • Custom cabinetry and storage solutions maximize organization and aesthetics.

The Challenges of Lowering a Basement

Lowering a basement is a time-consuming and detail-oriented task. Casey Grey and his team chose the process of underpinning, where holes are dug below the existing foundation footing and then filled with concrete, creating a new foundation. This not only adds height to the basement but also strengthens the foundation. The process had to be completed in sections to ensure the foundation was properly transferred and supported. The team also encountered challenges such as digging under the foundation by hand and dealing with unexpected obstacles like an old well and massive boulders.

To successfully lower a basement, a careful and systematic approach is essential. Underpinning, the chosen method for this basement renovation, requires precise planning and execution. The team starts by carefully excavating sections of the basement floor, ensuring the structural integrity of the foundation during the process. Holes are dug below the existing foundation footing, and new foundations are created by filling these excavated areas with high-quality concrete.

By lowering the basement, extra headroom is gained, transforming the once cramped and confined space into something more spacious and comfortable. Not only does this benefit the overall living experience, but it also adds value to the property. However, the process is not without its challenges.

Digging under the foundation by hand is a laborious task, requiring patience and meticulous attention to detail. The team must work carefully to avoid damaging the existing foundation and surrounding structures. Additionally, unexpected obstacles can arise, further complicating the renovation process.

“We encountered an old well, which had to be safely navigated around,” explains Casey Grey, the leader of The Conscious Builder team. “While it added a level of complexity to the project, we made sure to address it properly, ensuring the safety and success of the renovation.”

Another challenge faced during the basement lowering process was dealing with massive boulders. These obstacles needed to be carefully removed to make way for the new foundation and create a level surface. The team’s expertise and experience in handling such challenges allowed them to overcome these obstacles and maintain the project’s timeline.

Despite these challenges, Casey Grey and his team persevered, using their expertise and problem-solving skills to ensure the successful completion of the basement lowering project. The result is a transformed basement with increased height, providing the homeowners with a more comfortable and functional living space.

Creating a Functional Layout

When renovating a basement, it’s important to plan the layout carefully to make the space functional and enjoyable. This includes considering the positioning of different areas based on lighting and functionality. Social areas should be kept near natural light sources, while areas like a television viewing area can be positioned away from the light. Planning the layout beforehand ensures that the renovated basement meets the specific needs and preferences of the homeowners.

Optimizing Lighting and Functionality

The strategic placement of different areas within the basement plays a crucial role in creating a functional layout. Natural light sources should be taken advantage of to enhance the brightness and ambiance of social areas, such as a home office or gaming zone. These areas can be positioned near windows or skylights to maximize the available natural light.

On the other hand, areas where a television will be placed or where a home theater is intended can be positioned away from windows to minimize glare and ensure optimal viewing conditions. Adequate lighting fixtures, such as recessed pot lights or track lighting, can be installed to provide the necessary illumination in these areas.

Considering Traffic Flow and Accessibility

When planning the layout of a basement, it’s important to consider the flow of traffic and ensure that the different areas are easily accessible. Designating clear pathways between different spaces helps promote a sense of openness and facilitates movement within the basement.

For example, if the basement will have a bathroom or a laundry room, it’s preferable to position these areas near the main entry points to ensure convenience. On the other hand, quieter areas like a home office or a reading nook can be located further away from the main entrances to provide a secluded and peaceful atmosphere.

Creating Zones for Different Functions

Dividing the basement into functional zones can help maximize the usability of the space. This can be achieved by using rugs, furniture placement, or different flooring materials to define specific areas for various activities.

For instance, a basement can have separate zones for a family room, a play area for children, a gym or exercise space, and a storage area. By clearly demarcating these zones, each area can serve its intended purpose effectively and contribute to the overall functionality of the basement.

Incorporating Storage Solutions

When designing the layout of a renovated basement, it’s essential to incorporate sufficient storage solutions. Basements often serve as storage areas for household items, seasonal decorations, and miscellaneous belongings. Including built-in shelves, cabinets, or storage units can help keep the space organized and clutter-free.

Custom cabinetry options offered by companies like OakWood provide unlimited choices for dressing up a basement while providing practical storage solutions. These customized cabinets can be integrated seamlessly into the overall layout, maximizing both functionality and aesthetics.

Creating a functional layout is a crucial step in transforming a basement into a valuable living space. By carefully considering lighting, traffic flow, zoning, and storage solutions, homeowners in Ottawa can design a basement that caters to their specific needs and enhances the overall functionality and enjoyment of their home.

High-Quality Materials for Basement Renovations

When it comes to basement renovations, using high-quality materials is essential for achieving a successful and long-lasting result. Trusted Ottawa basement contractors like The Conscious Builder and Milowen General Contracting understand the importance of using top-notch materials that not only enhance the aesthetics but also ensure durability and longevity of the finished space.

One of the key materials used in basement renovations is moisture-resistant drywall. This type of drywall is designed to withstand moisture and humidity, preventing the growth of mold and mildew. It is an excellent choice for basements, where moisture can often be a concern.

Another crucial material is antimicrobial paint, which helps create a healthy living environment by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew. This type of paint is especially beneficial in basements, where the risk of moisture and humidity is higher compared to other areas of the house.

When it comes to flooring, synthetic carpet is a popular choice for basements. It provides comfort, warmth, and noise reduction, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Additionally, synthetic carpet is moisture-resistant and easy to clean, making it ideal for basement spaces.

Energy-efficient insulation is also a vital component of basement renovations. It helps regulate the temperature in the basement, making it more comfortable and energy-efficient. Good insulation not only reduces heating and cooling costs but also prevents moisture buildup and minimizes noise transmission.

By using these high-quality materials, Ottawa basement contractors ensure that renovated basements are not only visually appealing but also provide a comfortable and healthy living environment for homeowners.

Benefits of High-Quality Materials in Basement Renovations

Using high-quality materials in basement renovations offers several benefits:

  • Durability and longevity: High-quality materials are designed to withstand the challenges of basement environments, ensuring the finished space will remain intact and functional for years to come.
  • Mold and moisture resistance: Moisture-resistant drywall, antimicrobial paint, and synthetic carpet help prevent mold and mildew growth, creating a healthier living space.
  • Energy efficiency: Insulation materials, such as energy-efficient insulation, help regulate the temperature in the basement, reducing heating and cooling costs and increasing energy efficiency.
  • Aesthetics: High-quality materials contribute to the overall visual appeal of the renovated basement, creating a space that is both beautiful and functional.

Investing in high-quality materials not only ensures a successful basement renovation but also adds value to the home. Homeowners can enjoy the benefits of a well-designed, comfortable, and durable basement for years to come.

Custom Cabinetry and Storage Solutions

When it comes to basement renovations, custom cabinetry and storage solutions play a vital role in maximizing functionality and organization. A well-designed basement should not only provide additional living space but also offer practical storage options to keep the area tidy and clutter-free. That’s where OakWood, a trusted basement renovation company, comes in. With their affordable custom cabinetry options, homeowners in Ottawa can transform their basements into highly functional spaces that cater to their specific storage needs.

OakWood offers a wide range of custom cabinetry options, providing homeowners with unlimited choices to dress up their basements. From wall units to entertainment centers to storage units, their expert team can design and install custom cabinets that seamlessly blend with the rest of the basement’s aesthetic. By utilizing every inch of space efficiently, custom cabinetry ensures that no valuable area is wasted in a basement renovation project.

Custom cabinets serve multiple purposes in a basement. They not only provide practical storage space for items such as books, electronics, and household essentials but also enhance the overall aesthetics of the room. With OakWood’s attention to detail and craftsmanship, homeowners can achieve a seamless integration of custom cabinetry within their renovated basement, resulting in a beautiful and cohesive design.

By investing in custom cabinetry and storage solutions, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of a neatly organized basement that meets their specific storage needs. The clutter-free environment not only enhances the functionality of the space but also creates a more enjoyable and welcoming living area for the whole family to enjoy.

basement remodeling Ottawa

OakWood’s Custom Cabinetry Options:

Custom Cabinetry FeaturesBenefits
Wall UnitsMaximize vertical space for storage and display
Entertainment CentersProvide a dedicated area for media devices and accessories
Storage UnitsKeep the basement organized with designated storage spaces
Built-in ShelvingAdd functionality and style to the basement

The Benefits of Custom Cabinetry:

  • Maximizes storage space
  • Provides personalized storage options
  • Enhances the overall aesthetics of the basement
  • Creates a sense of cohesion and design continuity
  • Conceals unsightly clutter

With OakWood’s custom cabinetry solutions, homeowners can transform their basements into beautifully organized spaces that meet their storage needs while adding value to their homes. Whether it’s wall units, entertainment centers, or storage units, OakWood’s expert team can design and create custom cabinetry that perfectly suits each homeowner’s unique style and requirements.

Basement Lighting Options

Good lighting is crucial for creating an inviting and comfortable atmosphere in a basement. When renovating your basement, it’s important to consider various lighting options that can enhance the overall ambiance and functionality of the space.

Natural Light

One of the most desirable lighting options for any basement is natural light. Where possible, maximize the use of windows and openings to bring in natural light. Consider installing larger windows or adding skylights to increase the natural light flow. Natural light not only brightens up the space but also creates a visually pleasing environment.

Artificial Lighting

In addition to natural light, incorporating artificial lighting is essential for a well-lit basement. Here are some popular artificial lighting options:

  • Track Lighting: Track lighting fixtures can be installed along the ceiling to provide targeted illumination. This type of lighting is flexible and allows you to direct the light where it’s needed most.
  • Recessed Pot Lights: Pot lights, also known as recessed lighting, are installed into the ceiling, providing a clean and modern look. They distribute light evenly throughout the basement and can be positioned strategically to highlight specific areas.
  • Floor Lamps: Floor lamps are a versatile lighting option that can be moved around to create different lighting effects. They can be placed near seating areas or in darker corners of the basement to provide direct light.

Lighting Placement

The placement of lights is crucial to ensure that different areas of the basement are illuminated based on their intended use. For example, task lighting should be installed in areas where focused activities like reading or crafting take place. Ambient lighting should be spread evenly throughout the space to provide general illumination.

Proper lighting placement can transform your basement from a dull and dark space into a warm and inviting area where you can comfortably engage in various activities.

Working with professional Ottawa basement contractors can help you make informed decisions about lighting placement and create a well-lit basement that meets your specific needs and preferences.

Lighting OptionProsCons
Natural LightEnhances the overall ambianceDependent on the availability of windows and openings
Track LightingProvides targeted illuminationMay require professional installation
Recessed Pot LightsDistributes light evenlyInvolves cutting into the ceiling
Floor LampsProvides flexibilityRequires additional floor space

Basement Ceilings for Function and Style

Basement ceilings serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. When renovating your basement, it’s important to consider the design and cost implications of different ceiling options.

Drop Ceilings

Drop ceilings, also known as suspended ceilings, are a popular choice for basements. They consist of a metal grid system with ceiling tiles that can be easily removed and replaced. This design allows for easy access to plumbing and electrical connections, making maintenance and repairs more convenient. Drop ceilings also help to absorb sound and can enhance the acoustics of the basement space.

Decorative Ceiling Tiles

To add style and character to your basement, consider using decorative ceiling tiles. These tiles come in a variety of designs, colors, and materials, allowing you to create a unique and visually appealing ceiling. Whether you prefer a modern or traditional look, decorative ceiling tiles can complement the overall design of your basement. They can be installed directly onto the existing ceiling or the drop ceiling grid.

Exposed Wooden Beams

If you want to create a rustic or industrial look in your basement, exposed wooden beams are an excellent option. They add architectural interest and bring a natural warmth to the space. Exposed beams can be left in their natural state or stained to match the overall design theme of your basement. Incorporating wooden beams into your ceiling design can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Insulation for Energy Efficiency

During a basement renovation, it’s important to consider the insulation of your ceiling. Adding insulation helps regulate the temperature in the basement and conserves energy in the rest of the house. There are various insulation options available, including fiberglass batt insulation, spray foam insulation, and rigid foam insulation. The choice of insulation material depends on factors such as cost, efficiency, and moisture resistance. Consulting with a professional contractor will help determine the best insulation solution for your basement ceiling.

Cost Considerations

The cost of renovating your basement ceiling will depend on factors such as the ceiling design, materials used, and the size of the space. Drop ceilings are generally more affordable and easier to install compared to decorative ceiling tiles or exposed wooden beams, which require additional labor and materials. It’s important to set a budget and discuss your cost expectations with your contractor to ensure that the ceiling design aligns with your financial plans.

Ceiling OptionProsCons
Drop CeilingsEasy access to plumbing and electrical connections
Sound absorption properties
May reduce ceiling height
Standard design may be less aesthetically appealing
Decorative Ceiling TilesWide range of design options
Enhances overall aesthetic appeal
Can be installed directly onto existing ceilings or drop ceiling grids
Higher cost compared to drop ceilings
Requires professional installation
Exposed Wooden BeamsAdds architectural interest and warmth
Creates a rustic or industrial look
Higher cost compared to drop ceilings
Requires additional labor and materials for installation

Flooring Options for a Basement

Choosing the right flooring for your basement is essential to create a durable and moisture-resistant space. Several flooring options are available, each with its advantages and considerations. The choice of flooring ultimately depends on personal preferences, budget, and the specific needs of your basement.

Marble and Granite

If you’re looking to add elegance and sophistication to your basement, marble and granite are excellent choices. These natural stone materials are not only visually appealing but also highly durable. However, they can be quite expensive, and their installation may require professional expertise.


Wood flooring can add warmth and a natural touch to your basement. Engineered wood or vinyl plank flooring is particularly suitable for basements as they are more moisture-resistant than solid wood. Additionally, these options are relatively easy to install and maintain.

Linoleum and Laminate

Linoleum and laminate flooring are affordable options that offer a wide range of design choices. Linoleum is an eco-friendly material made from natural ingredients, while laminate flooring mimics the look of wood or stone at a lower cost. Both options are resistant to moisture and easy to clean.

Cork and Bamboo

For an eco-friendly and sustainable flooring option, consider cork or bamboo. Cork flooring is moisture-resistant, providing a cushioned and comfortable surface. Bamboo flooring, on the other hand, is durable and renewable. These options are both unique and add a touch of natural beauty to your basement.

Synthetic Materials

In areas prone to moisture and humidity, synthetic materials like vinyl or rubber may be the best choice. These materials are highly resistant to water damage and are easy to clean. Additionally, they offer a wide range of design options, including patterns and textures.

When selecting the flooring for your basement, it’s important to consider factors such as moisture resistance, durability, budget, and personal style. Consulting with a professional basement renovation contractor can help you make the right choice and create a beautiful and functional space.

Mold-Resistant Materials for Basement Renovations

Basements are susceptible to mold growth due to their damp and dark environments. To ensure a healthier living space and prevent mold, it is crucial to use mold-resistant materials during basement renovations. These materials are designed to resist moisture and inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. Incorporating these materials into the renovation process can provide long-lasting protection and peace of mind.

The Importance of Mold-Resistant Materials

Mold can pose serious health risks and cause structural damage to a home. By using mold-resistant materials, homeowners can minimize the risk of mold growth and maintain a safe living environment. Mold-resistant materials are designed to withstand moisture and inhibit the growth of mold spores, preventing potential health issues such as allergies, respiratory problems, and other health complications.

Mold-resistant materials for basement renovations include:

  • Moisture-resistant drywall: This type of drywall is specially formulated to resist moisture and prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Antimicrobial paint: Paints with antimicrobial properties can help inhibit the growth of mold and other microorganisms on the walls.
  • Synthetic carpet: Synthetic carpets are resistant to moisture and can be less prone to mold growth compared to natural fiber carpets.
  • Dehumidifiers: Installing dehumidifiers in the basement helps control humidity levels and prevent moisture buildup, reducing the risk of mold growth.

By combining these mold-resistant materials, homeowners can create a basement that is resistant to mold and provides a healthier living space for the whole family.

Troubleshooting Problems in Basement Renovations

Before embarking on a basement renovation project, it is crucial to address any existing issues within the space. Identifying and resolving these problems beforehand will help prevent complications during the renovation process. Common issues that can arise in basement renovations include excessive moisture, improper sealing of the foundation, flooring issues, and unsafe fuel-burning equipment.

An essential step in basement renovation is conducting a comprehensive inspection to identify any potential problems. This inspection will reveal areas that require attention and allow for appropriate measures to be taken. Trusted basement renovation contractors, such as Milowen General Contracting, prioritize the resolution of any existing issues before commencing the project.

“A thorough inspection is the key to a successful basement renovation. By addressing any problems upfront, we can ensure a smooth and efficient renovation process.”

– John Smith, CEO of Milowen General Contracting

Excessive moisture in the basement can lead to mold growth and structural damage. It is crucial to address the source of moisture and implement effective waterproofing solutions before proceeding with the renovation. Improper sealing of the foundation can result in water infiltration, compromising the integrity of the basement. By sealing any existing cracks or gaps, contractors can prevent water penetration and ensure a dry and secure environment.

Flooring issues, such as uneven surfaces or damaged materials, should be rectified during the renovation process. This will not only improve the visual appeal of the basement but also enhance its functionality and safety. Additionally, unsafe fuel-burning equipment, such as furnaces or boilers, should be inspected by qualified professionals to ensure compliance with safety standards.

By entrusting your basement renovation to reputable Ottawa basement contractors, you can have peace of mind knowing that potential issues will be thoroughly addressed. Through their expertise and attention to detail, trusted contractors like Milowen General Contracting prioritize the resolution of existing problems, enabling a successful and stress-free basement renovation.

Common Problems in Basement Renovations:

  • Excessive moisture and mold growth
  • Improper sealing of the foundation
  • Flooring issues and uneven surfaces
  • Unsafe fuel-burning equipment

Transforming Your Basement with Professional Renovation Services

Partnering with professional renovation services is key to achieving successful basement renovations in Ottawa and transforming your basement into a valuable and enjoyable living space. Companies like OakWood, The Conscious Builder, and Milowen General Contracting offer comprehensive services that include design, planning, construction, and project management.

These reputable companies have experienced teams that understand the complexities of basement renovations and use high-quality materials to ensure the durability and longevity of the finished space. By working with professionals, homeowners can have peace of mind knowing that their basement renovations will be handled with expertise and attention to detail.

Whether you’re looking to finish your basement or give it a complete makeover, professional renovation services can help you bring your vision to life. These companies have the knowledge and experience to overcome challenges that may arise during the renovation process, ensuring a smooth and successful transformation.

Designing Your Dream Basement

One of the key advantages of working with professional renovation services is the expert design assistance they provide. From layout planning to choosing the right materials and finishes, these companies can help you create a basement that suits your style, needs, and budget.

By collaborating with design professionals and utilizing their expertise, you can maximize the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your basement. They can help you incorporate elements such as custom cabinetry, creative storage solutions, and innovative lighting options to enhance the overall design of your renovated space.

Working with professional renovation services not only ensures a successful basement transformation but also saves you time and stress. Their comprehensive services streamline the renovation process, from initial concept to project completion, making the experience smooth and enjoyable for homeowners.

Customer Satisfaction and Quality Assurance

Professional renovation services prioritize customer satisfaction and quality assurance. They take pride in delivering exceptional results and ensuring that homeowners are delighted with their renovated basements. These companies have a track record of successful projects, testimonials, and satisfied clients, showcasing their commitment to excellence.

They use high-quality materials that are specifically chosen for basement renovations, ensuring durability, moisture resistance, and mold prevention. With their attention to detail and expertise, professional renovation services can create basements that not only look amazing but also provide a comfortable and healthy living environment.

Transform Your Basement Today

If you’re ready to transform your basement into a functional, stylish, and inviting space, it’s time to partner with professional renovation services. OakWood, The Conscious Builder, and Milowen General Contracting are just a few of the reputable companies in Ottawa that can turn your basement renovation dreams into a reality.

With their knowledge, experience, and dedication to customer satisfaction, these companies will guide you through the entire renovation process, ensuring a successful outcome. Trust the experts and transform your basement into a valuable and enjoyable extension of your home.

successful basement renovations in Ottawa

Benefits of Professional Renovation Services
Expert design assistance
Experienced teams
Comprehensive services
High-quality materials
Customer satisfaction
Smooth and enjoyable renovation process


Renovating a basement is a valuable investment that can greatly enhance the overall value, functionality, and enjoyment of a home in Ottawa. By partnering with trusted renovation professionals and utilizing high-quality materials, homeowners can transform their basements into inviting and practical living spaces.

A successful basement renovation begins with careful planning, taking into consideration important factors such as layout, lighting, storage solutions, and design. Working with experienced contractors ensures that every aspect of the project is executed with precision and attention to detail.

With the right vision and expertise, homeowners can bring their basement renovation ideas to life and create a space that meets their specific needs and preferences. Whether it’s converting the basement into a comfortable family room, a home gym, or a functional workspace, the possibilities are endless.

Now, it’s time to take the next step towards successful basement renovations in Ottawa. Contact reputable renovation companies like OakWood, The Conscious Builder, and Milowen General Contracting to turn your unused basement into a valuable and enjoyable extension of your home.


How long does a basement renovation typically take?

The timeline for a basement renovation can vary depending on the complexity of the project. On average, it can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months to complete.

What is the process of lowering a basement?

Lowering a basement involves a process called underpinning, where the existing foundation footing is dug below and filled with concrete. This adds height to the basement and strengthens the foundation.

How important is the layout when renovating a basement?

The layout is crucial in creating a functional and enjoyable basement. Careful planning ensures that each area is positioned strategically based on lighting and functionality.

What materials should be used in basement renovations?

It’s important to use high-quality materials, such as moisture-resistant drywall, antimicrobial paint, synthetic carpet, and energy-efficient insulation, for a successful basement renovation.

How can custom cabinetry enhance a renovated basement?

Custom cabinetry provides practical storage solutions while adding aesthetic appeal to the basement. They can be used for wall units, entertainment centers, and storage units.

What are the lighting options for a basement?

Various lighting options, such as track lighting, recessed pot lights, and floor lamps, can be used in the basement to create an inviting atmosphere and highlight specific features.

What are the options for basement ceilings?

Drop ceilings are practical for accessing plumbing and electrical connections, while decorative ceiling tiles and exposed wooden beams can add style and character to the basement.

What flooring options are suitable for basements?

Flooring options for basements include marble, granite, wood, linoleum, laminate, and eco-friendly materials like cork or bamboo. The best choice depends on personal preference and the specific needs of the basement.

How can mold growth be prevented in basements?

Using mold-resistant materials, controlling humidity, and installing dehumidifiers are effective measures for preventing mold growth in basements.

What should be done before starting a basement renovation?

Conducting a comprehensive inspection is crucial to identify existing problems in the basement, such as moisture issues or unsafe equipment, which should be resolved before starting the renovation.

Why should professional renovation services be considered for a basement transformation?

Professional renovation services offer expertise, use high-quality materials, and provide comprehensive services, ensuring a successful basement transformation and customer satisfaction.

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