A basement under renovation

Raising the Roof: How to Get More Ceiling Height in Your Basement

Your basement could be more than just a spare room. It could be another bedroom, office, man cave, or a potential rentable room.

However, creating the space you want can be challenging when working with low ceiling heights.

With the help of experienced contractors and some creative thinking, there are several ways to add height to your basement.

By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to make your basement a workable, comfortable space.

Skip to What You Need to Know:


Why Should You Increase Your Basement Ceiling Height?

A carpenter making adjustments to a project.

Before you renovate your low-ceiling basement, it helps to understand why the extra height is worth the effort!

You’re Starting a Remodelling Project

Adding ceiling height can increase your basement size and make it more conducive for remodelling.

You Want to Increase the Value of the Property

If you plan to resell your home at some point, remodelling your basement with a low ceiling height can make it more attractive to potential buyers.

You Need Better Heating and Cooling

Installing heating and air conditioning ductwork is a breeze with a higher ceiling. This can improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your basement.

You Want More Natural Light

A higher ceiling allows more light from the upper floor to enter your basement. This creates a more inviting atmosphere for you and your guests.

You Want a Safer Basement for Your Tenants

Low ceilings can be hazardous for small children and seniors. If you have younger or elderly family members, increasing your basement’s ceiling height can help ensure their safety.

What Methods Are Used to Increase Basement Ceiling Height?

Construction workers digging a tiled floor using jackhammers

Depending on the specifics and goal of your project, there are several approaches you can use to add height to your low-ceiling basement.

1. Underpinning Your Basement

This method involves digging through low levels of the basement to increase its ceiling height. While an excellent option, this approach can be expensive and time-consuming.

The Process:

  • Partner with a crew and find the right equipment to complete the task.
  • Clear the basement of any objects or electrical and heating systems.
  • Add trusses or support the basement walls during construction.
  • Remove the floor. If it’s concrete, you and your team might need heavy equipment.
  • Cut a part of your basement’s wall to let the other equipment in.
  • The actual digging begins, which could take weeks. Dig from the outer perimeter and work inwards. 
  • Once you achieve the depth and ceiling height you want, pour the concrete in and add the finishing touches.

Pros & Cons of Underpinning


Pros

  • While this method is typically used for low-ceiling basement renovations, it can also improve your property’s structural integrity.
  • You get to enhance your water and electrical systems.


Cons

  • It’s a painstaking process and will require a lot of your attention. All the noise and dust created by the construction crew can be distracting.
  • It’s costly and could take weeks or even months to finish.

2. Bench-Footing Your Basement

Unlike underpinning, you won’t have to excavate your entire basement floor. You only need to add a bench or ledge around the basement’s foundation.

The Process:

  • Partner with a team who will design and conduct the bench footing.
  • Dig a portion of the basement’s foundation.
  • Add new footings that will be deeper than the floor.
  • Once the new footings are added, pour concrete on it and add the final touches. This should look like a bench around the perimeter of your basement.

Pros & Cons of Underpinning


Pros

  • This method is practical if you share a common wall with a neighbour and need permission to renovate your low-ceiling basement.
  • It requires less labour and costs compared to underpinning.


Cons

  • This can take up space in your basement, so you’ll need to find practical and creative ways to use the newly added bench.
  • If you have foundation cracks in your basement, bench footing won’t fix it. You might need to charge extra for that.

3. Lifting Your House

With this method, you’ll need to lift the entire house and all its components. This is an effective way of increasing ceiling height and improving your foundation’s waterproofing system, but it is also costly.

The Process:

  • Partner with a team who will provide the necessary equipment.
  • Clear your house of all objects and furniture. You might have to move out for a while.
  • Sever the house from its foundations. This process will disrupt its heating, electrical, and water systems.
  • Your house will be temporarily lifted with the help of beams and jacks.
  • Replace the foundation. It should be tall or broad enough for the new basement height.
  • Once done, your house will be placed back on the foundation. New window sills, doors, and trim may be added.

Pros & Cons of Lifting


Pros

  • You can update your home’s wiring and plumbing while remodelling your low-ceiling basement.
  • For properties in flood-prone areas, a taller and stronger foundation protects the property from water damage.


Cons

  • It is an expensive method that could take months to complete.
  • It can be inconvenient to have your home’s systems disrupted.

What Should You Consider Before Raising Your Basement’s Ceiling Height?

A basement ready for renovation.

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to consider these factors before beginning any low-ceiling basement renovation:

  • Cost: How much can you spend on renovations?
  • Timeframe: How much time do you have for a project like this?
  • Permits and standards: Are specific permits required in your area?
  • Equipment: What equipment and supplies do you need to complete the project?
  • Expertise: Can you do it yourself, or do you need to hire professionals?
  • Safety: Will this renovation put anyone in danger during and after completion?

Pro Tip:

House lifting is often recommended for old homes, while underpinning is usually advised for newer homes with relatively solid foundations.

Let the Pros Handle Your Low-Ceiling Basement Renovation Project

Construction crew planning a basement renovation.

Remodelling a low-ceiling basement can be tricky, but you can make it happen with the proper knowledge and team.

Skyhold Construction has all the expertise and experience to deliver low-ceiling basement renovation projects on time and within budget.

Contact us now to discuss your low-ceiling basement remodelling needs and how we can help you make the most of your property!