BASEMENT LOWERING TECHNIQUES IN TORONTO

“Both include structural modifications to your foundation walls and footings which will allow you to have more usable space.”

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By DENIS SMAL

BASEMENT UNDERPINNING VS. BENCHING: WHICH ONE IS BETTER FOR YOU?

In several homes in Toronto and GTA, the basement was only meant to be a skeletal structure upon which to build. Some primarily crawl spaces give you access to your home’s apparatuses and are not tall enough to enable you to comfortably walk around.

When you really need more ceiling area and would like to expand the space, you must modify the foundation structure.

There are 2 techniques for lowering the basement floor. The first is known as Underpinning and the second as Benching. Both include structural modifications to your foundation walls and footings, allowing you to have more usable space. Both are important to investigate, based on the extent of work you want in your basement, the additional living space you would like to create, and your budget. Each project has advantages and disadvantages.

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WHAT IS UNDERPINNING?

The term “underpinning” refers to the process of strengthening an existing foundation. This could be to shore up a structure that was badly made or has been damaged over time.

Underpinning is also done when a house owner wishes to have their basement foundation dug out to raise the ceiling height. It is also referred to as basement lowering.

This method maximizes the space in your basement and ceiling height as well.

WHAT EXACTLY IS BENCHING?

The term “benching” refers to a concrete bench built on top of a stable excavation slope when lowering a basement floor without extending the foundation wall footings to a lower level.

As a result, the existing footings will remain undisturbed. A steady excavation slope is maintained beneath the foundation wall footings, and a concrete protection “bench” is built on top of the steady excavation slope. This process is typically used as an alternative to underpinning to reduce building costs or to avoid undermining an existing structure that could be weakened by the underpinning method.

UNDERPINNING OR BENCHING?

  • Underpinning is more strong.
  • Repairs to damaged foundations can be included in the underpinning.
  • Underpinning allows you to make the most of your available floor space.
  • Underpinning is more appealing.
  • Bench-Footing takes less time.
  • Bench-Footing is less expensive (usually).
  • Bench-Footing involves no changes to the existing foundation walls.

So, is it better to have an underpinning or a bench footing? Both increase space. Both will help to strengthen your foundation. Both make your basement more adaptable for remodeling. Underpinning increases living space, which requires more time and money. Benching adds up less space but is faster and less expensive.

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