Basement Walkouts are a Great Option

Over the past year we have been in discussion with a client who wanted to build an addition to their home to make space for elderly family members to move in.  One option was to build a suite over the double garage and another option was to build into their large backyard. Then in the spring their basement walls started leaking in a few places causing a small flood and mould issues that needed to be fixed immediately. All of a sudden the cost didn’t make sense any more to build an addition to their home, once added to the expense of necessary waterproofing for the entire foundation.

We proposed a natural solution: create a basement walkout with a new in-law suite in conjunction with the foundation waterproofing. Our client was relieved to find this new option that addressed both their needs. We were given the green light after our drawings were accepted and permits were obtained from the municipality.

The Ontario Building Code has strict guidelines for basement walkouts, not only for ceiling height, fire code, doorway and window openings, but also for structural underpinning and waterproofing of the walkout foundation. We got started right away.

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After the trenches were excavated around the house and the rubber membrane applied, it was time to excavate a total of 8 feet for the new walkout entrance. We have to pour the stairwell footings below the frost line: this is the depth at which the moisture present in the soil is expected to freeze. In Ontario we have ensure frost protection for all below grade structures. Below that line, the ground will act as a barrier to insulate the soil below the footing from freezing in the winter.

The walkout itself is built with reinforced concrete and adequate drainage to hold its integrity many decades into the future. After the door is installed and wiring for lighting is complete, we plan to get started on the interior renovation. This is an exciting time for our clients as they design their in-law suite. We expect the interior work to last for 3 weeks. Total project time: 5 weeks.

Our clients will realize a huge boost in home value for themselves plus an increased future selling price, when the day comes for them to move. It’s a great investment for now as well as the future!