Jill Finkelstein - Compass



Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 11/24/2019

When buying an older home, you might wonder how to get more livable space out of that low-ceiling basement. There are two ways to gain height: raise the foundation or lower the floor. Raising the foundation requires lifting the entire home off its current foundation, building a new foundation, and resettling the home. For most homeowners, the sheer number of things that can go wrong with a project of this magnitude makes it an unlikely option. An alternative is bench footing, a method of lowering the floor of the basement that results in a higher ceiling.

Bench footing is a straightforward technique regarded by contractors to be an optimal approach for supporting your building while providing room for more structural support and depth. With bench footing, professional contractors do not need to dig deep into the home’s foundation. Instead, they can lower the basement floor and add structural support from there.

How Is It Done?

The process is straightforward, but don’t try to do this one yourself: Hire a professional contractor. Bench Footing costs less than other methods because it doesn’t require you to dig underneath the existing footings. Instead, a new floor is dug through the existing basement floor. A new foundation is laid inside the existing one, creating your new basement floor and an additional wall inside your existing basement. It is important to consider that the width of your bench footing is determined by the depth you want to add to your basement.  For every foot in depth that you add, you will need about a foot of width for your bench footing.  The floor space of the basement will decrease in area by the thickness of the new wall. 

The result is a ledge or “bench” all the way around the outer wall of the basement. That’s why they call it Bench Footing. A savvy contractor can make use of the space above the bench by installing cabinets, reading nooks and other built-ins. Others simply inset the entire wall to the new location. 

Why Choose Bench Footing?

If you need to increase your usable space but you are unable to add another story or extend your home on any side, making better use of your basement is the most valid option. In addition to being less damaging to your existing home, bench footing is less costly to complete and doesn’t change the exterior aesthetic of your home. This is particularly important if your home is in a historic area or has a strict association.

To get the best results with your bench footing, hire a professional contractor with several years of experience and with many positive reviews. Consult with your real estate agent for recommendations for a local contractor who can help you with your project.





Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 9/23/2018

One recurring problem all parents deal with -- especially on weekends and school breaks -- is keeping their children entertained and engaged. (Sound familiar?)

While you can sometimes take your kids and their friends bowling, to the movies, or roller skating, those type of activities are only short-term fixes. Once you've expended all the possibilities, you're back to square one! The ideal scenario is to be able to fill in some of those gaps with fun, recreational activities at home.

If you have a finished basement or are talking about renovating an unfinished area, then that part of the house can provide the space for a dedicated rec room. The cost of finishing a basement can be expensive -- with estimates ranging from $10,000 to around $35,000. The final cost would depend on factors like the square footage of your basement, contractor pricing, materials used, and whether you're willing or able to do any of the work yourself. For growing families with active children, remodeling a basement or buying a house that already has a finished basement could prove to be a priceless resource for years to come!

Setting Up a Game Room

Outfitting a rec room with items like game tables is an additional expense that could have an impact on your budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep a lid on those costs. One idea would be to spread out those purchases over a period of time. For example, one year you could buy a billiards table; the next year, you could add a ping-pong table, air hockey game, or a foosball table to the room. Many of these items also make excellent birthday or holiday gifts for the kids, so you can potentially include those purchases in your gift-buying budget. With a little online price comparison, you'll also discover that you don't have to pay top dollar for any of those game tables. It's rarely necessary to get the "deluxe" version of a pool table, air hockey game, or foosball table, and there's a wide range of sizes and prices available -- both online and off. You may also stumble upon opportunities to buy used versions of those popular rec room games, and save a lot of money in the process.

Two inexpensive ways to expand the range of activities available in your recreation room (and keep your kids happy) is to stock up on board games and age-appropriate craft supplies. A television with a DVD player, popular channels, and video games is also sure to provide hours of entertainment on rainy days, school holidays, and unstructured weekends. Finished basements can also be a great place to host children's birthday parties, sleepovers, and club meetings. A TV in the basement can also help maintain family harmony. When the grownups want to watch one program and the kids want to watch something entirely different, you don't have to draw straws or pull rank!







Jill Finkelstein