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Basement Underpinning Toronto: Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Contractor

Basement underpinning is a popular home improvement project for homeowners in Toronto, Ontario. The process involves strengthening and deepening the foundation of a house to create additional living space, improve structural stability, and increase property value. However, choosing the right basement underpinning contractor is crucial to ensuring the success of your project. In this article, we’ll outline the top 5 questions to ask your basement underpinning contractor in Toronto to make sure you’re hiring the right professionals for the job.

Table of Contents

What is your experience and expertise in basement underpinning?

When it comes to basement underpinning, experience and expertise are crucial. You want to hire a contractor who has a proven track record of successful underpinning projects and a team of skilled professionals who are certified and experienced in this specialized field. Ask the contractor for references and case studies, and don’t be afraid to follow up with their past clients to gauge their level of satisfaction with the work performed. A reputable contractor should be well-versed in the Ontario Building Code and have extensive knowledge of all basement construction and renovation processes.

To further ensure that the contractor you choose has the necessary qualifications, inquire about any professional affiliations or certifications they hold. This could include memberships with industry organizations or specialized training programs that demonstrate their commitment to staying current with the latest industry standards and best practices.

Do you provide a detailed cost estimate and the timeline for the project?

A trustworthy basement underpinning contractor should be able to provide a clear and detailed cost estimate for your project. This should include all aspects of the project, such as engineering plans and designs, building permits, excavations, underpinning, waterproofing, masonry, structural and concrete works, and plumbing services. Make sure to ask the contractor about any additional costs that might arise during the project, so you’re not caught off guard by hidden fees or surprises down the line. Additionally, the contractor should provide a realistic timeline for the project, which typically takes around 3 months from start to finish, including the engineering design, building permit issuance, and construction process.

When discussing the project timeline, also ask about any potential delays that could affect the completion date. For instance, inclement weather, unforeseen structural issues, or delays in obtaining permits can all impact the project’s progress. By understanding the possible challenges upfront, you can better prepare for any adjustments to the project schedule.

Basement Underpinning Toronto: Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Contractor
Basement Underpinning Toronto: Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Contractor

Are you licensed and insured to perform basement underpinning in Toronto?

It’s essential to hire a licensed and insured contractor for your basement underpinning project. A licensed contractor will have the necessary certifications and permits to perform the work according to the Ontario Building Code. Additionally, an insured contractor will have liability insurance to protect you from any potential damages or injuries that may occur during the project. Make sure to ask your contractor for proof of their license and insurance and verify their credentials with the appropriate regulatory bodies.

It’s also a good idea to inquire about the contractor’s safety record and their commitment to maintaining a safe working environment. A contractor who prioritizes safety will be more likely to complete the project without accidents or incidents that could put your home and family at risk.

Do you offer any warranty or guarantee on your work?

A reputable basement underpinning contractor should stand by their work and offer a warranty or guarantee on the project. This provides you with peace of mind and protection in the event of any issues that may arise after the project’s completion. Ask your contractor about the specifics of their warranty or guarantee, including the coverage period and any exclusions or limitations. A contractor who stands by their work will be more likely to deliver a high-quality end result.

In addition to the warranty provided by the contract, you may also want to inquire about any manufacturer warranties on materials used in the project. High-quality materials, such as waterproofing membranes and concrete products, often come with their own warranties that can further protect your investment.

How do you ensure the safety and comfort of my home during the underpinning process?

Underpinning can be a disruptive process, but a professional contractor should take measures to minimize any inconvenience to you and your family. Ask your contractor about their approach to maintaining safety and comfort during the project, such as dust control, noise reduction, and site cleanup. Most homeowners in Toronto can continue to live in their homes during the basement underpinning process, so make sure your contractor takes your needs and concerns into account when planning the project.

Also, ask the contractor about their communication strategy throughout the project. Regular updates on the project’s progress and any potential issues can help you stay informed and confident in the contractor’s ability to complete the work to your satisfaction.

Bonus Question: Can you provide assistance with obtaining permits and navigating the approval process?

While not all contractors offer this service, some may be able to assist you with obtaining the necessary permits and navigating the approval process with local authorities. This can be particularly helpful if you are unfamiliar with the requirements and procedures involved in obtaining building permits for basement underpinning projects. A contractor who is experienced in dealing with local building departments can help streamline the process and ensure that your project adheres to all relevant codes and regulations.


Basement underpinning is a valuable investment for homeowners in Toronto, but it’s crucial to hire the right contractor to ensure the project’s success. By asking these top 5 questions, along with the bonus question, you’ll be better equipped to choose a reputable, experienced, and professional basement underpinning contractor who can deliver the results you desire. Investing time in researching and selecting the right contractor will ultimately lead to a successful project and a basement that adds value, functionality, and comfort to your home.

Basement Underpinning FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

The average cost of basement underpinning in Toronto is typically around $350+ per linear foot of underpinned foundation. However, the final cost may vary depending on factors such as the project scale, depth, thickness of underpinning sections, and accessibility. In addition to the underpinning cost, other expenses like engineering design, permits, and plumbing work may also influence the overall project cost.

The duration of a basement underpinning project can vary depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the project. Generally, the entire process may take around 3 months from start to finish, including engineering design (2-3 weeks), building permit issuance (4-8 weeks), and construction (5-7 weeks). Keep in mind that the timeline may be subject to change based on factors such as scheduling and passing building inspections.

Yes, you will need a building permit for basement underpinning projects in Toronto. The permit ensures that the engineering plans comply with the Ontario Building Code and that the project is structurally sound. Obtaining a building permit may take 4-8 weeks in Toronto, depending on the demand. You may also need additional permits, such as a Neighbor Agreement, Street Occupation Permit, Parking Permit, and Locate Services, which can take up to a month to obtain.

In most cases, yes, you can continue to live in your home during the basement underpinning process. In fact, around 90% of basement lowering projects in Toronto have the homeowners occupying the property during construction. However, you should be prepared for construction noise during working hours, typically from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday.

Lowering the basement floor and underpinning can increase the living area, which directly impacts the property value in Toronto. By creating additional functional space, such as a rental unit or a comfortable living area, you can potentially increase the resale value of your home. It’s always a good idea to consult with a local real estate agent for more information about the potential impact of underpinning on your property’s value.


More about Basement Construction in Toronto:

  • Toronto
  • Etobicoke
  • Mississauga
  • East York
  • North York
  • Leaside
  • Scarborough
  • Vaughan
  • Oakville
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