Get­ting down with ren­o­va­tion project

Condo re­ceives ex­ten­sive work in the base­ment

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - DAVID SQUARE

AHOME in the town of Birds Hill is about to un­dergo some ma­jor surgery. The 15-year-old condo will re­ceive a ma­jor base­ment over­haul to im­prove the struc­tural in­tegrity of the con­crete walls, add more in­su­la­tion where needed and pro­vide the own­ers with ex­tra liv­ing and stor­age space.

Condo owner Brian said the reno be­gan in earnest when he at­tempted to fit a large pool ta­ble into his base­ment.

“I wanted to set it up down­stairs, but when I took the mea­sure­ments I re­al­ized there wasn’t enough space for it there,” said Brian, who re­cently pur­chased the condo with his wife, Donna.

The space prob­lem was caused by a tele­post that couldn’t be re­moved be­cause it was sup­port­ing a ma­jor weight-bear­ing beam in the base­ment.

The cou­ple wasn’t sure how to pro­ceed. But, as fate would have it, they were in a store about to pur­chase car­pet­ing for a for­mer house they were ren­o­vat­ing in prepa­ra­tion to sell when they met a pro­fes­sional ren­o­va­tor.

Ex­plained Brian: “We had asked the sales­per­son whether we should lay the car­pet be­fore we started the reno or af­ter it was com­pleted. The young per­son wasn’t sure how to an­swer. Then a man be­hind us piped up ‘Lay the car­pet last.’

“We got to talk­ing, and it turned out that he was a part­ner in All Cana­dian Ren­o­va­tions of Winnipeg,” con­tin­ued Brian.

“That’s not the way I nor­mally do busi­ness,” said Tony Te­u­nis. “My work is by re­fer­ral. But Brian and Donna ap­pre­ci­ated my in­put and one thing led to another.”

About three months ago, All Cana­dian was hired as gen­eral con­trac­tor for the job; Te­u­nis’s first step was to ap­ply for a per­mit to re­place an ex­ist­ing beam with a steel-re­in­forced one ap­proved by a struc­tural engi­neer.

“This al­lowed us to re­move the tele­post that was block­ing the in­stal­la­tion of Brian’s pool ta­ble, which re­mains in stor­age,” said Te­u­nis. Brian added: “I was amazed at how this opened up the en­tire base­ment, leav­ing five feet of clear­ance around the pool ta­ble as well as room to in­stall a wet bar, cus­tom TV screen and cab­i­net, and a com­fort­able sit­ting area with plush so­fas and chairs.

Te­u­nis said his con­sult­ing struc­tural engi­neer ad­vised strength­en­ing the base­ment ceil­ing with wood cross-brac­ing to pre­vent the con­crete walls from flex­ing in­ward, a prob­lem caused by some in­con­sis­tent build­ing prac­tices when the con­dos were con­structed around 2000.

Though the walls had been framed, in­su­lated and dry­walled, Brian elected to re­move the dry­wall and the ex­ist­ing fi­bre­glass batts to ex­am­ine the con­di­tion of the con­crete un­der­neath.

“We de­cided to re­cy­cle the fi­bre­glass by fit­ting the batts be­tween the joists in the base­ment ceil­ing and spray­ing the walls with polyurethane foam with a min­i­mum R-22 in­su­la­tion value,” he said.

Even though it’s a more ex­pen­sive prod­uct, foam ef­fec­tively pre­vents air leaks at the top of base­ment walls no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to seal with other in­su­la­tion prod­ucts; foam also acts as first-rate mois­ture/wa­ter bar­rier.

Af­ter con­sid­er­ing floor­ing op­tions, Brian and Donna chose vinyl plank that looks like dark hard­wood, has a life­time guar­an­tee and is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to scratch, even by sharp-clawed pets.

“Com­mer­cial out­lets use the floor­ing in heavy-traf­fic ar­eas, so the qual­ity of the prod­uct speaks for it­self,” said Brian, adding the plank­ing will cover the en­tire 1,000-plus-square-foot base­ment.

“Small rugs will be used to ac­cent ar­eas such as the sit­ting room next to the bar,” added Donna.

She said she is look­ing for­ward to the in­stal­la­tion of a full bath­room, in­clud­ing a jet­ted tub and a cus­tom-made, tem­pered-glass shower stall.

As she suf­fers from pain re­lated to spinal and knee surgery, she said the tub will be a wel­come ad­di­tion to the base­ment, let­ting her lux­u­ri­ate in warm wa­ter with soothing jets to mes­sage her sore spine and knee.

Brian said a large stor­age room for all the house­hold stuff that has ac­cu­mu­lated over the years will be another much ap­pre­ci­ated ben­e­fit of the reno.

Though the ceil­ing ma­te­rial is still un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, Te­u­nis said he prefers the look of dry­wall ceil­ing to that of a drop ceil­ing.

“It will ul­ti­mately de­pend on how much room we have to work with in each area of the base­ment. I want the liv­ing sec­tion to be well-lit with LED pot lights and a large, inset cen­tre light to il­lu­mi­nate the pool ta­ble,” he said.

The con­trols for a wall-mounted TV and other en­ter­tain­ment ac­ces­sories will all be in­stalled in a cab­i­net near the bar for easy ac­cess.

Some di­vider walls for the stor­age area and a larger hot-wa­ter tank for the jet­ted tub have al­ready been framed, said Te­u­nis.

As for ad­vice to peo­ple con­sid­er­ing a ren­o­va­tion, Brian said it can be testy at times, es­pe­cially when a lot of stuff nor­mally stored in the base­ment is strewn about up­stairs.

“My best sug­ges­tion is to keep smil­ing and ap­pre­ci­ate the small steps that take place over a span of a few days,” he said, adding due to un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances, a ren­o­va­tion will gen­er­ally take longer than an­tic­i­pated.

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