I just got back a couple of days ago from Toronto, watching some of the PanAm Games. Awesome! My brother got the ladies in our fam, tix to see some of the Games for Christmas. The feel in the downtown core of the city was great. Lots of activity, excitement and energy for the Games. We saw Rhythmic Gymnastics. I can’t even hool-a-hoop around my waist, let alone launch it in the air with my toes and catch it beautifully with one finger! It was awesome.
As you know, we’re in the midst of our basement renovation and wanted to give you an update. We’ve always done our own renos and I have to say, it’s been wonderful getting home from the office and not having to tackle the depths of the basement till the late hours. Like any home renovation, we’ve hit some roadblocks and we’re about 3 weeks behind schedule. Our contractor has been wonderful and really helped us get through various issues with the City and what they have required. Let’s just say…frustration! We have one more minor adjustment to make, and then, fingers crossed we can continue to move ahead! Biting tongue now.While making the adjustments to meet the City’s requirements, we have made lots of progress on moving the main plumbing stack of the house from the centre of the basement, to run alongside the main pillar and out through the front of the house. A new furnace was installed and all the ducting and piping was moved and some of it was re-worked into the ceiling beams. The electrical was all done with a new panel added and LED pot lights installed. They require almost zero space in the ceiling which is great for achieving maximum ceiling height in basements. The vapour barrier is up, insulation and framing complete. It’s starting to feel like a space, instead of a beach!
The main obstacle we had with the City’s requirements was the ceiling height. The main ceilings met the height requirements, except for the height where the main beam holding up our house was. So, what were we going to do with that? Replacing the 100 year old beam with a new steel one didn’t add height and underpinning the house was going to be an additional $50,000. Nope, no thank you, not an option. Our contractor worked hard with the City to come up with an option. The solution was to cut a 4 ft. hole out of the main beam and support that load with a new post.
This way we technically have a “breezeway” from one side of the basement to the other that meets the ceiling height. I wasn’t thrilled that it added a post, but our contract is going to hide it in a wall and in the end, the ceiling height does create a good amount of height. These old houses are so beautiful and so finicky at the same time!
Can we start talking about the pretty things? Let’s talk flooring. I love carpet in a basement, however we just didn’t feel it was the way to go for any water issues. We also didn’t go with hardwood for the same reason. Laminate was the choice for us. Laminate has come really far. The options are endless and the price is right. We shopped around, looked for sales, picked up samples and made our decision. We knew when we started that we wanted a grey floor…
In our search for the floor, we learned a few things. I thought I would share a few tips when shopping for laminate flooring.
Laminate flooring has a:
BACKING layer to provide a barrier against moisture and gives the floor support.
CORE layer, mostly made of fibreboard.
DÉCOR layer, a photographic image that makes it look like hardwood. The images have come a long way on laminate and often it is very difficult to tell that it’s not real wood.
WEAR layer, this is what helps keep the floor looking oh.so.pretty and not scratched.
Thickness.Thickness of the laminate does not necessarily mean that one is better than the other. We learned that buying quality over whether a board is thick or thing, as well as, having a really good underpad is more important. It is the materials and the way the board is made that is more important, otherwise you just might be buying more fibreboard.
UnderpadThis is really important. If you are installing laminate in a basement, the recommendation is to get the underpad that is designed for areas where water could potentially be found.
Look for a sale! After scouring the city’s big-box stores and smaller flooring companies, we went with laminate from Rona and waited till it was not only on-sale, but the weekend we bought it, they had a “get 15% back in gift cards”. Win! Don’t forget to buy about 10% extra for any mistakes.
Definitely try out the floor in the actual space. What you may think you love in the store, can look completely different under the lights of your room. We're loving this soft grey, with lots of grain-looking texture. Let’s hope we can get it out of the box soon!
Have you recently put laminate in your home? I would love to see where and what you chose.Keep it Beautiful.