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Underpinning and Basement Lowering
Solutions in Toronto

Welcome to A&A Masonry, your trusted masonry contractor in Toronto. If you’re considering lowering your basement floors for increased headroom and usable space, you’ve likely encountered the terms “Bench Footing” and “Underpinning.” Both methods are effective, but they cater to different needs and structural conditions. Here, we’ll provide you with a detailed understanding of these techniques to help you make an informed decision.

What is Bench Footing?

Bench Footing is a cost-effective method of lowering basement floors. It involves constructing a new concrete footing inside the existing basement walls to support the lowered floor slab.

This method is relatively straightforward and quick, making it an attractive option for many homeowners.

Key Benefits of
Bench Footing

  • Cost-Effective: Typically less expensive than underpinning.
  • Quick Installation: Faster to install compared to more complex methods.
  • Less Disruption: Minimal disruption to the existing structure.

How Bench Footing Works

  1. Excavation: The soil is excavated around the interior of the basement, leaving the existing footings intact.
  2. New Footings: New concrete bench footings are constructed along the perimeter inside the basement walls.
  3. Drainage System: A new interior drainage tile is installed to manage water and prevent moisture issues.
  4. Concrete Slab: A new concrete floor slab is poured at the lower level.

What is Underpinning?

Underpinning is a more robust method that extends the existing foundation deeper into the ground. This provides additional support and stability, making it ideal for structures with existing foundation issues or those requiring significant lowering.

Key Benefits of Underpinning

  • Enhanced Stability: Provides greater structural support by extending the foundation.
  • Increased Depth: Allows for significant lowering of the basement floor.
  • Long-Term Solution: A durable and long-lasting solution for foundation issues.

How Underpinning Works:

  • Excavation: The soil around the foundation is excavated down to the required depth.
  • Footing Extension: New concrete underpinning is installed, extending the original footings.
  • Drainage System: A new interior drainage tile is installed to handle water management.
  • Concrete Slab: A new concrete floor slab is poured at the lower level.
Basement lowering

Basement Underpinning vs. Bench Footing

Basement Underpinning

  • Purpose: Primarily used to stabilize and strengthen the foundation.
  • Process: Involves excavating sections below the existing foundation and pouring new concrete to extend the foundation deeper.
  • Pros:
    • Creates a stronger, more stable foundation.
    • Allows for deeper basement floors, increasing ceiling height.
    • Can significantly increase property value.
  • Cons:
    • More expensive than other methods.
    • Requires more time and labor.
    • Can be more intrusive, potentially disrupting the home’s structure during the process.
  • Ideal For: Homes with foundation issues or those needing additional support for renovations.

Bench Footing

  • Purpose: An alternative method to basement lowering without disturbing the existing foundation.
  • Process: Involves digging out a portion of the basement floor and constructing a new, lower floor level with a bench-like ledge around the perimeter.
  • Pros:
    • Less intrusive to the existing foundation.
    • Often quicker and more cost-effective than underpinning.
    • Provides additional height without extensive excavation.
  • Cons:
    • The bench ledge can reduce usable floor space.
    • May not be suitable for all foundation types.
    • Does not provide the same level of structural support as underpinning.
  • Ideal For: Homes where underpinning is not feasible, or necessary but increased ceiling height is desired.

Which Method is Right for You?

Choosing between bench footing and underpinning depends on several factors including budget, the current condition of your foundation, and the extent of the height increase you require. Here’s a quick comparison to help you decide:

Choosing between bench footing and underpinning depends on several factors including budget, the current condition of your foundation, and the extent of the height increase you require. Here’s a quick comparison to help you decide:

Why Choose A&A Masonry?

  • Expertise: Our team has years of experience in foundation work and basement lowering.
  • Quality: We use the highest quality materials and proven techniques to ensure lasting results.
  • Customer Satisfaction: We prioritize our clients’ needs and satisfaction, providing transparent communication and professional service throughout the project.