5 Water Deals You Want to Seal Before Beginning a Basement Renovation in Calgary

by | Last updated Nov 21, 2019 | Published on Oct 30, 2018 | Basement

Before you take on the task a basement renovation in Calgary to transform your cold concrete box into a social hub or a fortress of solitude, there are a few steps you are going to want to take to avoid undoing all your hard work further down the line. Nothing throws cold water on to an exceptional basement renovation project like, well, cold water.

Codes: Not Just for Spies

Building codes exist for a reason, that reason being to keep yourself and those around you safe. Before you pick up a hammer or pick into the earth check with the municipal offices to see what permits you might require. We all know from childhood public service announcements to watch out for wires, but plumbing work will frequently require an inspection. Poorly installed plumbing can quickly rot a house from the inside out. Calgary building inspectors know what to look for when checking that everything is up to code. It keeps the home safe but also protects shared municipal infrastructure from stress and damage. A Calgary basement renovation should never proceed before taking these steps.

Building Permit Papers and Hammer


Calgary’s Seasonal Drips Can Damn your Basement Renovation

Horror movies have more than their fair share of damp basements, and that is hardly a coincidence. No one likes a dank space with its precipitation. Nothing condemns a basement faster than moisture so looks for any signs of potential water issues before starting basement renovations. Calgary Chinooks might have a dry climate, but when it rains it pours, and homeowners want to keep that water outside where it belongs. You don’t need a flood to saturate the matrix of a basement; even heavy seasonal thaws can allow water to seep into the walls and floor. Look for puddles of water on the floor and drips from walls and supports below the natural drainage grade.


Well, Well, Well

Wells are half-circular or rectangular shields that attach to the side of the house around windows, holding the weight of the earth and blocking debris and moisture from the gravitational flow to a basement window. If you want/have basement windows; wells are a must. Basement windows tend to get a real beating from water dripping off of roofs and from ground-flow rain/debris, so they deteriorate quickly. Wells should include transparent covers to protect the basement windows which offer physical protection and a barrier to keep heat/cold in the room.

Window Well for Basement


Foundational Knowledge

Foundations need protection as everything built upon them. Check outside to make sure the surrounding area is graded away from your foundation to keep water flow from eroding and cracking it in the future. Repair any cracks found in your foundations’ walls and look for any unusual conditions that could have caused the damage beyond normal wear and tear.

Basement Wall Design Concept


Vapour is a “Very Poor” Addition to Any Basement Renovation

If your foundation is crack-free, your wells are well constructed, there is no symphony of dripping pools, and your basement renovation codes check out with your plans, your basement can still become a damp concrete cave. Add a vapour barrier to the walls and floors before doing any finishing work. To test for current moisture conditions seal 2-foot squares of plastic sheeting to the level and walls. Wait a couple of weeks. If condensation forms underneath, the foundation’s not sealed. If droplets form on top, the basement needs dehumidifying.

Leaking through a Wall in Basement

If you are ready to start your basement renovation or have are looking for more basement renovation ideas, contact Alliance Renovations for a free consultation. 

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