Guy Solomon: How a basement renovation can maximize your home’s value


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If you’re looking for basement renovation ideas, your imagination is likely overwhelmed with possibilities.

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The space beneath your home could be the ideal venue for a basement apartment (also known as a second suite) that may fetch $2,000 a month in rent and knock a huge chunk off your mortgage.

You could also turn your basement into a family TV area or the games room of your dreams — a vibrant space where loved ones gather for movie nights, billiards, ping pong, poker or darts.

It’s also relatively inexpensive to turn your basement into a personal spa with sauna and steam showers, or a home gym with all the accoutrements and none of the membership fees.

Then again, maybe a basement wet bar is the best choice — a comfortable lair where you can unwind with friends and entertain dinner guests.

“A basement renovation is one of the best ways to maximize the value of your home,” believes Guy Solomon, president of Penguin Basements, the largest specialty renovation contractor in Ontario.

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“While many contractors will try to sell you on a build that seems functional, our focus is on current and future-proofing the home. At Penguin, we only do basements, and our application of design, material selection, labour and management creates the basement solution. We use our unparalleled abilities to create modern basement renovations that harness your property’s full potential.”


Possibilities (and limitations) of a basement renovation

It all begins with a plan.

Once you’ve settled on your favourite basement renovation idea, be sure to choose a knowledgeable contractor with a meticulous eye for detail.

“Most of the value of your basement is in its design, not only the construction,” says Solomon.

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“Working with a comprehensive design can optimize space and functionality in advance. At Penguin Basements, our designers help you create a natural flow, minimize hallways and catch details that are unique to your home, like the ceiling height around washrooms and cabinets.”

It’s also crucial to keep the intended use of your basement in mind.

Do you need plumbing for a new bathroom and renovated kitchen in your basement apartment? What about electrical outlets, or an Ethernet hookup for a new home office?

Consider future-proofing your home with features such as an electric vehicle charger, gas lines for a backyard barbecue and moving water shutoffs for increased accessibility.

“Penguin Basements works with a design-first approach to create the perfect space,” says Solomon. “Our experts know the common misconceptions about modern basement renovations, and we can help reduce basement renovation costs throughout the process.”

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Save on basement renovation costs with “finish it yourself”

Whether you’re on a tight budget or a do-it-yourselfer who enjoys the challenge of renovation work, Penguin Basements’ finish it yourself (FIY) option is often a natural fit.

“This is a big part of our business,” says Solomon, who founded Penguin Basements in 2011 to fill a gap in the market and bring a standardized process to the basement renovation industry.

“It’s also a cost-effective solution, since big box stores and other retailers can be quite expensive for the homeowner. FIY allows you to hire skilled tradespeople to do the early legwork, and you can add finishing touches like flooring, carpentry and paint at your leisure.”

With Penguin’s FIY option, it’s feasible to finish a $50,000 basement for as little as $30,000.

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Skilled tradespeople from Penguin Basements will handle all the dirty work, including specialized tasks such as door framing, boarding, taping and initial sanding, using mould-resistant products designed for subterranean use. They also provide rough-ins for the bathroom of your choice.

Then, the homeowner adds finishing touches like flooring, carpentry and paint.

“You can finish the renovation yourself for a fraction of the cost,” says Solomon. “All you need is a bit of weekend work, and we’ll help you source all the materials and resources.

“Hiring each service on the private market will cost much more, so to keep your basement renovation costs to a minimum, work with the experts at Penguin. We’ll help you do it right.”

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Why you shouldn’t do all the renovation work yourself

When it comes to renovations, it pays to hire an expert contractor such as Penguin Basements for the dirty work.

For starters, it’s much less expensive than hiring multiple subcontractors, and Penguin takes the worry away by securing all the right permits for your basement renovation project.

“We’ll deal with the hassle of cumbersome tasks like installing insulation around the joists and cavities of your walls; it’s a job that can easily cause skin irritation,” says Solomon.

“Similarly, framing and ceiling reinforcement will take you weeks, but Penguin can complete the task in just one or two days. Quality matters, and boards are heavy — particularly in the ceiling. For detail in the bulkheads and window boxes, you should hire a professional.”

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It’s also important to remember that plumbing and electrical work are licensed trades, and tasks like mudding and plaster require a highly skilled professional.

“This is critical for completing a professional finish,” says Solomon. “You’ll notice the difference when you’re painting.”

Inflation pressure, a skilled labour shortage and a stressed supply chain are driving up costs, he adds.

“Penguin Basements is a value-driven company with better service that won’t bloat your basement renovation costs. Work with us, and we’ll help you maximize the value of your home with the basement of your dreams.”

To work with Penguin on your next project, you can simply email [email protected] or call 1-866-262-8298 and ask to speak to Guy Solomon about your project. If the project is a good fit, they’ll send out their draftsperson to measure the space properly and set up a meeting with a designer to review a couple layout options, materials and accurate fixed pricing.

For more information, visit Penguin Basements is located at 906 Magnetic Drive, North York, ON M3J 2C4.

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Penguin Basements.


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