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Basement extensions and basement conversions can offer interesting spaces quite different in character to the rest of the house. Basements are close enough to the ground floor that they can easily be designated as playrooms, living rooms, kitchens or separate bedrooms.  With the demands of modern lifestyles, basement conversions and extensions are increasingly being converted into leisure areas with pool tables, home gyms or even swimming pools. If you have luxurious tastes and a love of entertaining, basement rooms make excellent wine cellars. The relative silence of a basement means it could make an ideal cinema room, or for the increasing numbers of people working from home, a silent office. You could even consider a basement garage and storage with external access via a driveway. When developing established properties, you may be required to underpin existing foundations to allow for improvement works to be carried out or to fix any problems such as subsidence. This is done by increasing the depth of the existing foundation in order to spread the load of the building.

Basement Underpinning Toronto: Underpinning is the technique by which an existing foundation will get increased depth. This method has been used historically for foundation repair and strengthening.

Underpinning relies on the ability of a wall to span unsupported for a short length (usually 1.2 meters’ maximum) and a new structure to be built directly underneath. In this way, new sections of lower level cellar foundation and wall structure can be built-in a sequence before existing wall structure is backed to its full duration.

Why underpin existing foundations?

  • To stabilize the foundations due to either;
    • Weak soil causing settlement
    • They have moved or slipped
    • Erosion has caused movement
    • There are tree roots causing subsidence
    • Mining
    • Vibration damage (caused by trains, machinery)
  • To Increase their strength due to a potentially increased load
  • To be able to accommodate a new adjoining structure, basement story or deep sewer.


A Structural Engineer should carry out an appraisal of the existing building and its foundations. If there is structural damage, the following should be included;

  • How significant the damage is.
  • What is causing it – if its movement then what is causing this? This will allow them to assess whether it can be resolved immediately or whether they need to investigate further in order to find the correct solution.
  • In some occasions, the cause will need to be monitored for a period of time to evaluate if it is progressive or not. This can cause time delays for developers.

In the most cases where movement is the reason, it’s important to research the depth of the prevailing foundations. This calls for testing the earth types below to be able to establish an adequate stabilizing depth of underpinning and should be carried out by an industry expert or engineer.


The operatives who complete the underpinning work should be competent; this will ensure that the workmanship is to the required level. The Association of Specialist Underpinning Contractors (ASUC) is a specialist contractor association who provide useful information on their website for underpinning works strongbasements.com. 1 Basement waterproofing systems with Strong Basements – Toronto basement experts. We fix leaky, wet basements with professional approach and diagnosis.

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