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  • Corsac Construction Ltd.

DIY Basement

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

So you want to have your basement developed but are low on budget. We hear you. Basements can easily cost $50,000 and more. The good news is if you have spare time, are not afraid of physical work and are willing to learn many new skills, you can build the basement yourself. Nowadays, there are tons of resources, such as books and videos, explaining everything you need to know to get your basement developed on your own. Remember that before you start, you should study and research.


First of all, start with planning. Think about the purpose of developing your basement. What are you going to do in the basement? Do you need it for entertainment or maybe you need a spare bedroom? Will you require three-piece bathrooms? When you start, ask yourself those questions. Once you decide on several rooms, start laying out the walls. You can do that on your basement floor directly. Check where your plumbing rough-ins are; this will be your bathroom location. It is cheaper to build around what is already there. Enclose your service room, and ensure you are leaving enough space for maintenance and boiler replacement in case you need to.

Put your plan on paper. The best thing is to get your basement plan and locate walls directly. That way, you can catch as many details as possible. If you do not have a basement plan handy, we suggest doing measurements of your basement interior and preparing a simple sketch yourself. It does not have to be an architectural blueprint but should be clear and accurate.


Check your municipal requirement carefully and ensure everything is shown on the plan and all the required documents are included. Pay attention to the code requirements. For example, if you plan to have a basement bedroom, there should be an egress window. The size of the window is regulated by code. Typically, municipal websites have a ton of information regarding code requirements that will help you prepare for the building permit. Check the code for corridor width, door sizes etc. Make sure to coordinate your basement plans with the plumber and electrician.

Construction Begins

Now that you have done your due diligence, it is time to start building. First, you need to lay out the walls. Take into account some important aspects, such as using a thicker stud for the bathroom plumbing wall, installing mould-resistant drywall around the shower and framing around ceiling pipes. Make sure you work per the latest standards and follow the code regulations. Otherwise, it is better to find a professional to complete the work. Corsac Construction Ltd. specialist will be able to help you with that. Once the framing is complete, get the building inspector to check the work before proceeding further. Also, we suggest finding the right licensed specialist to complete your basement's electrical, mechanical and plumbing portions. Those specialists will ensure everything is done right, to the latest trade standards, and arrange any required inspections.


Once framing, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing are complete, proceed with the finishes and the rest. This is likely the most exciting part of any basement project. Check out different supply stores for better material prices. Sometimes smaller stores have lower price tags compared to larger ones. You can choose the match existing finishes on your main floor or let yourself pick what you prefer.

Make sure you coordinate each step of your finish process. Think about what should be done first; we suggest starting your finishes from top to bottom. So, first ceiling, then walls and finally - flooring. If you are finishing your drywall by yourself and have never done mudding and taping, you might want to practice on a smaller, less exposed surface to get a grip on the process. Mudding can get messy, so cover the area around it to avoid stains that are hard to get off. We suggest postponing the installation of the casings and the doors until you are done with the drywall finishes. After that, proceed with door installation. This is where you test your framing straightness. To avoid gaps and misalignments at your doors, check your walls for level when framing. Once doors are installed, go ahead and paint them all.

The next step is to install flooring, tile, carpet etc. Think about adding an underlay, which will make your basement floor warmer. There are tons of options on the market, so shop around. Finish with the baseboards, and your floor is complete.

Finally, install the vanity, toilet, shower any other fixtures unless you plan to have those installed by the plumber.

As you may see now, building a basement from the beginning can be tricky and require lots of time and dedication. However, at the same time, the basement project can be a fun and exciting activity. You will learn a lot throughout the process. Just be prepared to spend some time studying and researching.

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