Wise in­vest­ment

$80,000 base­ment reno yields 1,000 square feet of lux­u­ri­ous liv­ing space

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

IS it pos­si­ble to buy a 1,000-square-foot house for $80,000 in to­day’s realestate mar­ket? You might pick up a build­ing lot in a tony new sub­di­vi­sion for that amount; but, a func­tional house with a lot of ameni­ties? I don’t think so. (Please let me know if you find one; I’ll buy it.)

That’s why Brian and Donna said they made a wise in­vest­ment when they spent around $80,000 to ren­o­vate the base­ment in their Birds Hill condo. They con­verted a drab, cold un­in­hab­it­able part of their home into 1,000 square feet of lux­u­ri­ous liv­ing space, in­clud­ing a jet­ted tub, shower, work­room, stor­age space and a liv­ing room with a pool ta­ble and many other lav­ish items.

As part of the reno, they had their base­ment walls re-in­su­lated with spray foam, a de­ci­sion that al­lowed them to drop their ther­mo­stat set­ting by five de­grees through­out their condo as well as main­tain a com­fort­able liv­ing tem­per­a­ture in the once-chilly base­ment.

The spray-foamed walls were cov­ered with gyproc and then painted soft earth tones to com­ple­ment the lux­ury vinyl plank (LVP) they chose to cover the en­tire floor.

“LVP is a pop­u­lar prod­uct be­cause it doesn’t scratch as eas­ily as hard­wood and it re­tails for $2 to $5 a square foot com­pared to $5 to $12 for solid wood or some en­gi­neered prod­ucts,” said Mi­lan Kucinic, sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive with Cre­ative Car­pets, the com­pany that pro­vided the LVP for the Birds Hill ren­o­va­tion.

He said Brian and Donna chose a prod­uct called man­zanilla maple by Kraus, priced at about $2.40 a square foot, with a 20-year res­i­den­tial war­ranty.

“For base­ments or other floors where mois­ture can be a prob­lem, we rec­om­mend LVP be­cause it can be lifted up, dried out and then re­laid,” said Kucinic, adding that even LVP res­cued from a flooded base­ment can be re­ju­ve­nated.

Another fea­ture of the ver­sa­tile prod­uct is that a scratch can be re­moved by warm­ing the area with a heat gun, re­mov­ing the marred piece and re­plac­ing it with a new one, a process that is much sim­pler than lay­ing a new piece of T&G hard­wood, he said.

LVP can be floated, clicked to­gether or glued to al­most any sub-floor. Floated floors are less likely to tele­graph in­con­sis­ten­cies in the sub­strate through to the vinyl. Click floors are eas­ier for DIYers to in­stall while glued LVP forms a wa­ter-re­sis­tant mem­brane that can with­stand a small flood with­out lift­ing, Kucinic added.

Floated LVP has an ad­he­sive ap­plied to the edges, pro­tected by a plas­tic strip that is re­moved as the pieces are laid and edge-joined to­gether. Click-to­gether planks have tongue and groove-like joints that fit to­gether like many lam­i­nate floors. Glued lengths come with an ad­he­sive ap­plied to the back­side of the ma­te­rial, also pro­tected by a plas­tic film, that is peeled away to al­low the LVP to be stuck di­rectly to the sub-floor.

“Mod­ern LVP is thicker and much tougher than the peel-and-stick tiles that ma and pa used to lay in the foyer or kitchen. It also comes in a large va­ri­ety of colours and fin­ishes that are dif­fi­cult to dis­cern from real wood or stone,” Kucinic said, adding that the ma­te­rial is softer and eas­ier on the feet than stone or hard­wood.

For their lux­u­ri­ous new base­ment bath­room, Kucinic said Brian and Donna chose 13-inch by 20-inch porce­lain tiles by Cer­do­mus, fea­tur­ing tan, taupe and off-white tones to match the earthy colours of the LVP plank floor.

Go­ing for about $8.40 a square foot, the lovely tile was used on the en­clo­sure for a jet­ted tub and the walls of a cus­tom-built shower stall. The floor of the stall was cov­ered with two-by-two-inch dark taupe tiles by Sub­way, part of its Feng Shui se­ries and cost­ing around $4.30 a square foot, he said.

A tem­pered-glass shower door and a glass half-wall that sep­a­rates the shower from the tub have yet to be in­stalled, noted con­trac­tor Tony Te­u­nis.

Lind­say Martens, of The En­suite in Winnipeg, said her com­pany pro­vided the cou­ple with a Crescendo jet­ted tub by MAAX that costs be­tween $3,700 and $5,300 de­pend­ing on op­tions. Donna se­lected the tub be­cause she cross-coun­try skis and the wa­ter jets help to re­lieve aching mus­cles.

“It’s a gor­geous, two-per­son, white whirlpool that is six feet in length and about four feet wide,” Martens said. “It can be adapted to in­clude both wa­ter and air jets as well as chro­mather­apy light­ing, and it comes with er­gonom­i­cally de­signed seats and a safety grab bar.”

For his part, Brian pur­chased a fourby eight-foot pool ta­ble with carved hard­wood lion’s paw legs, aprons and rails. The ta­ble in­cluded a starter kit with cues, balls, chalk, a tri­an­gle, ta­ble cover and wall cue rack, all for about $2,400, ac­cord­ing to a lo­cal bil­liard Brian also had a small work­room with a bench and clean-up sink built into the fur­nace room, and Donna had a life­long dream come true when large stor­age clos­ets and a study were con­structed as part of the reno.

A gift to the whole fam­ily was an eight-foot screen hid­den by an over­head bulk­head. At the push of a but­ton the screen drops down from the ceil­ing, cre­at­ing a home the­atre with sur­round sound and a pro­jec­tor that plays the lat­est movies, TV shows and sports events.

A wet bar and fridge were in­stalled nearby.

While the con­trac­tor was at work, Donna de­cided to have him re­place the up­stairs kitchen coun­ter­tops and build a new glass-top stove and mi­crowave oven — it also func­tions as a range hood — into the ex­ist­ing red oak cab­i­nets.

Which brings us back to the ques­tion: Where are you go­ing to find lux­u­ri­ous digs like th­ese for $80,000? Ren­o­vat­ing may seem ex­pen­sive, but, when you look at the al­ter­na­tives, a well-planned and ex­e­cuted job may be the wis­est choice you can ever make.


An oc­tag­o­nal MDF col­umn (avail­able for about $130 at big-box stores) el­e­gantly hides a tele­post.

New 80-gal­lon wa­ter heater in­stalled to pro­vide suf­fi­cient hot wa­ter for jet­ted

tub and shower.

Above, the Birds Hill base­ment

ren­o­va­tion in Oc­to­ber 2013.

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