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Ready to tackle that basement reno? Read this first

Everything you need to know about framing, insulation and flooring from James at JL’s Home Hardware Building Centre

If the new year has you ready to finally start that basement renovation, you’ll definitely want some advice from the pros.

We spoke to James at JL’s Home Hardware Building Centre in Guelph, to learn the basics about framing, insulation and flooring—the key components of any basement reno project. Before you start the demolition process, here’s what you need to know.


If you are not a beginner but are handy, experienced and skilled, you can frame your own basement. Of course, before you can do this, you must have the design completed and all of the necessary permits and inspections in place. All repairs must have been done, including any waterproofing.

There are two approaches you can take: building a wall in place or on the floor. For the first, you start by nailing in the top and bottom plates, then you nail the studs in between. The other option is building each section on the floor, then raising it and nailing it into place.

Framing requires a good number of tools, including: a power saw, drill, air compressor, nail gun, plumb bob, laser level, measuring tape, wood or metal studs, framing square, speed square, hammer, carpenter pencils, safety glasses, dust mask/respirator and a sill gasket.

It’s a big job as you’ll need to frame walls, ceilings, doors, windows, electrical fixtures, partition walls and soffits. As always, if you run into any issues, call a professional.


One of the biggest benefits of renovating an older basement is the opportunity it allows you to increase the amount of insulation you have. Bulking up your insulation will make your space more comfortable year-round, save you money on both your heating and cooling bills, and give you peace of mind that you’ve improved the efficiency in your home to meet the latest standards.

Once the first couple of steps have been completed—after a moisture barrier has been installed, a subfloor has been built, stud walls have been constructed, and your electrical and plumbing are complete—it’s time to install the insulation.

You have two options to choose from: foam or batting insulation. Standard foam batting is sized to fit between 16-inch studs. It gets stuffed into place, from floor to ceiling. When choosing the type of insulation you’ll use, you will also want to make sure to check the local R Value Code requirements. When it comes time to installing and actually handling the insulation, wear protective goggles, a mask, a long-sleeved shirt and pants.

Shop for all of the insulation supplies you’ll need to keep your newly renovated space—and, by extension, the rest of your home—comfortable. From flashing to housewrap, fiberglass and foil insulation to poly film and vapour barriers, JL’s Home Hardware Building Centre has it all.


Assuming you have concrete floors in your basement, you’ll want to start by installing a plastic moisture vapor barrier. You can secure it in place by using vinyl tape. This will protect not only your new flooring but your concrete floor too, which, yes, can actually be damaged by moisture.

Next you’ll want to choose your underlay material. This will help protect the new floors you install from water damage caused by condensation. Typical options for this include vinyl-backed, foam barrier and cork. For comfort, some padding is also a good idea.

Before you put down any flooring, take the time to prepare the subfloor, ensuring your surface is smooth and level, clean and dry. The supplies you’ll need include adhesive, nails, saw, rubber mallet, tape measure, and a marker.

Be sure to check out all of the basement flooring options available. Vinyl plank flooring is an excellent option for basements, because it is sturdy and strong, resists moisture, looks great and is easy to keep clean and dust-free.

A properly finished basement can add value to your home—not only when it comes time to sell, but for the pure enjoyment you’re likely to get out of it. Whether it’s a place for the kids to play or a cozy and relaxed living room you can retreat to at the end of a long day, you won’t regret having the extra finished space, so take the time to do it right.

For more information about renovating your basement, visit JL's Home Hardware Building Centre or call 519-822-8230.