Basement Underpinning Toronto

Welcome to Aquamaster Basement Waterproofing. Since 2009 our team has been offering basement lowering services and basement underpinning in Toronto, with over 3000 happy customers across the region! Talk to one of our experts and get a free on-site estimate today!

Built to Last for Decades

What is Basement Underpinning?

Basement underpinning is a method of basement floor lowering. This process involves digging underneath the existing foundation and pouring new footings under the existing ones. This strengthens the existing foundation, increases its load-bearing capacity, and lowers the basement floor in the process.

Most homeowners do basement underpinning to increase the amount of space in their homes and there are many ways to do this. Depending on the specifics of your property, our team will suggest the most suitable option for you – basement underpinning, bench footing, or another service that will help lower the basement floor and strengthen the foundation.

Is it Worth It?

The Benefits of Basement Lowering: Is It Worth It?

All of the benefits that a lower basement floor brings to your home make basement underpinning worthwhile. The benefits may vary depending on the specific needs and circumstances of your property.

Increased structural stability

Underpinning strengthens the foundation of a building, making it more stable and capable of supporting additional loads. This is particularly beneficial in cases where the existing foundation is cracked, weak, damaged, or inadequate.

Expanded living space

Basement floor lowering will help create more living space. This is especially valuable in Toronto & GTA where the land is limited, and expanding above ground may not be possible.

Increased Property Value

Adding a deeper and reinforced basement can significantly enhance the value of a property. A well-executed basement underpinning project can increase the usable square footage and appeal to potential buyers or tenants, thereby increasing the overall market value.

Waterproofing & moisture control

During the basement floor lowering process, additional measures can be taken to improve the basement’s waterproofing and moisture control. This can include installing drainage systems, sump pumps, waterproof membranes, and more.

Extends the Life of the Foundation

Underpinning addresses existing foundation issues and prevents further deterioration. By reinforcing and stabilizing the foundation, it can extend the lifespan of the building and reduce the need for future structural repairs.

Adaptation to New Requirements

Underpinning allows for the modification or adaptation of a building to meet new requirements, such as increased load-bearing capacity or compliance with updated building codes and regulations.


The process is easier to obtain permits for compared to building an addition to your home

Added Living Space

Increased comfortable living space without taking up additional land on your property.

It’s important to note that basement underpinning can be a complex and costly process that should be approached with careful planning, engineering expertise, and adherence to local building regulations. Professional consultation and assessment are essential to determine the suitability and potential benefits of underpinning for a specific property.

​Talk to one of our experts & get basement floor-lowering services today!

Before & After

Basement Underpinning Gallery

Common Reasons to Lower Basement Floor

More Reasons to Consider Basement Underpinning in Toronto

One of the ways to add more living space to your property is by lowering the basement floor. Especially in Toronto and GTA where the land is limited and real estate is expensive, it may be a good idea to increase the size of your property by lowering the basement floor and converting your basement into full-size living space. Here is why you should consider basement underpinning for your home:

  • Added Value – Basement floor lowering increases the height of a basement ceiling. Combine this with basement renovations and now you have more square footage of living space, which translates to a higher value of the property. 
  • Creates More Living Space – Our clients often turn their basements into gyms, game rooms, saunas, and more. How would you use an extra floor of space? 

Additional Income Source – In some cases you may be able to rent out your basement.  Which will effectively create an additional source of income and will make it easier for you to pay your mortgage.

Sketch of basement underpinning vs bench footing.
Image Source: Wikipedia
How to Save on Increasing Ceiling Height in Basement

Alternatives for Basement Lowering in Toronto

Underpinning is not the only way to lower the basement floor. There is a number of variations of these services – cheaper alternatives (and easier to get paperwork for), as well as options that apply to crawlspaces. When your hire the team at Aquamaster to underpin your basement,

Underpinning is not the only way to lower the basement floor. There are several variations of these services – cheaper alternatives with more simple permitting, as well as options that apply to homes with crawlspaces. 

  • Bench Footing – Unlike underpinning, the process of basement benching doesn’t require digging under the existing foundation. Instead, the new footing will be built beside the old one. As a result, the weight of the building will be transferred to the new support.  The basement benching process is often cheaper than underpinning and usually doesn’t require your neighbours to sign off (if you have a shared foundation). However, it is worth noting that as a result of this process, a bench will be created inside your basement which will take away some space. See some designer benched foundation ideas in this post.
  • Crawlspace Conversion – A common variation of the underpinning that applies specifically to crawlspaces. During the crawlspace transformation process, our team will dig underneath the crawl space and transform it into a fully livable basement. Imagine adding a full floor of space to your property!

How Basement Floor Lowering Works

Underpinning projects are complex. It is not enough to simply lower the basement floor, as this may compromise the structural integrity of the whole building. That’s why our professionals also dig under the existing foundation of your property while pouring new footings to increase the load-bearing capacity of the foundation as a whole.

In addition to construction knowledge, basement floor-lowering projects also require experience in project planning, construction permits, and organization of the overall process. 

The Aquamaster Underpinning Process

Our team will start with the initial property visit, which will be followed by a quote. Once we decide to work together and sign the paperwork, our experts will carefully examine your property and help create a step-by-step project plan. At this stage, we will outline project requirements and determine what building code permits are necessary. This may vary depending on the location of your property, excavation depth, if your property is detached (or if you share a foundation with neighbours),  plumbing, electrical work required on this project, and more.

From here the underpinning process will begin. Underpinning projects are complex, but working with an insured & licensed team you have extra assurances that your project will go smoothly as planned.

Get a free on-site estimate today & discuss with our team what your property’s floor-lowering project should include!

#1 Initial Assessment

A professional engineer will conduct a thorough assessment of the existing foundation, soil conditions, and structural needs. This assessment helps determine the scope of the project and identifies any potential challenges or risks.

#2 Removing the Concrete Floor

Breaking and removing heavy concrete slabs is not easy, but professional underpinning contractors have special equipment to do it. Conveyer belts, wheel barrels, and other equipment are used to expedite & simplify this process.

#3 Excavation

The process begins with carefully excavating the soil beneath the existing foundation. This is typically done in sections or stages to maintain the stability of the building. Excavation can be performed manually or with the help of heavy machinery, depending on the project requirements and site conditions.

#4 Temporary Support

Temporary supports, such as hydraulic jacks or shoring, are installed to provide temporary support to the building. These supports help transfer the load away from the excavated area and ensure the structural integrity of the building during the underpinning process.

#5 Underpinning Construction

The newly exposed area beneath the existing foundation is prepared for underpinning. This involves cleaning the surface, ensuring proper soil compaction, and creating a stable base for the new foundation. 

#6 Curing & Monitoring

Once the construction is complete, the newly installed foundation materials are allowed to cure and harden. The curing time can vary depending on the type of materials used. During this period, the building may be monitored to ensure stability and detect any signs of movement or stress.

#7 Repeat the Process

Steps 2-5 are repeated for each section of the foundation until the desired foundation depth or structural requirements are achieved.

#8 Finishing & Waterproofing

After the underpinning is completed, any necessary finishing work, such as backfilling the excavated area and restoring the surface, is carried out. Waterproofing measures, such as the installation of drainage systems, sump pumps, and waterproof membranes, may also be implemented to prevent water infiltration and ensure a dry basement.

How Much Does Underpinning in Toronto Cost?

An average basement underpinning project in Toronto costs $50,000-$70,000. It’s priced at $80-$350 per linear foot and on average involves lowering the basement floor by 2-2.5 feet. You may also want to consider bench footing as a more affordable approach to adding ceiling height to the basement.

How Long Does it Take to Lower a Basement Floor in Toronto?

On average, basement underpinning takes 35-40 days to complete. The specific duration of your basement underpinning in Toronto will depend on the complexity of the project, what final ceiling height is needed, how hard is it to access the basement, and so on.

Your project will take less time if your basement is easy to access (to remove soil, concrete removal and other concrete tasks) or if your foundation does not require extensive repair. 

However, if your basement has a deep layer of concrete floor or reinforced concrete floor, if your basement is hard to access or if you are looking to lower the basement by more than 2-2.5 feet, the process will take longer.

Frequently asked questions

Here are the answers to some of the questions we hear most often about our basement underpinning services.

Basement underpinning is definitely worth the investment, but before you hire underpinning contractors you need to decide if it is right for you:

  • Investment – Make sure that you plan the finances beforehand. While a very cost-effective service, basement underpinning projects are fairly expensive to complete.
  • Purpose – It is always good to begin with the finished project in mind. Think about how you want to use your basement – a gym, a living room, a nanny suite, a rental unit etc. This will impact the scope of basement underpinning work & you will be able to accomplish all of your objectives at once (e.g. building a separate entrance or adding large windows)
  • Finished or Unfinished – If you are planning to renovate your basement, ask our team about basement waterproofing measures we can take to prevent basement water leaks in the future. Keep in mind water may come up from the basement floor, leak through wall cracks etc. Waterproofing in advance will help save on future costs of redoing renovations (floors, drywalls etc). 

Yes, it is possible. While our team will need to examine the details, most of the basement underpinning projects involve lowering the basement floor from 5 ft to around 9 ft.

Yes, basement underpinning is more cost-effective compared to home additions. The cost of an average underpinning project is $50,000-$70,000. According to VBM Contracting, the cost of an average home addition is $400,000-$800,000. This method of lowering your basement floor and adding a walkout entrance can accomplish the same goal as a home addition while costing less per square foot and saving you from needing to use up expensive land.


A fully finished and waterproof basement can involve basement underpinning, walkout construction, interior or exterior waterproofing, concrete slab pouring and more.

Basement piering and slabjacking are two techniques used to repair sinking foundations. Slabjacking helps put the foundation back in place by using a special mixture that is pumped under the foundation.

On the other hand, foundation piering relies on hydraulics to push the foundation back to its original position. Our team will install piers deep under the foundation, piers will then lift the concrete back in place, foundation 

Basement underpinning & benching - before and after. Source OREA
Services Often Performed with Basement Underpinning

Basement Underpinning in Toronto Often Includes

Underpinning is often combined with other services. Together they help turn your basement into a more convenient and usable space. Here are a couple of examples:

Bench footing is a cheaper alternative to basement underpinning. It can be a good choice for people who have their foundation shared with neighbours who don’t give permission to dig under the foundation. With that said, bench footing may result in a smaller basement space compared to underpinning due to the “bench” that will be built.

Various foundation repair methods can be included in underpinning projects, from simple wall crack repairs to foundation piering. It’s an essential part of fixing the basement & turning it into a fully-finished living space.

Crawlspace Conversion

The process that helps lower the crawlspace floor and turn it into a usable space with 9ft ceilings. Most crawlspaces can only be used as storage rooms, but crawlspace conversion services can change that.

Basement piering is a process that involves the installation of piers that go deep into the ground to support your home’s foundation.

Door cutouts and walkout basement construction will require the team to ensure structural support for the newly cut-out basement door. These projects are often combined with concrete stair installations and retaining wall installation services.

When underpinning a basement we often add egress windows that allow for safe exit in case of emergency. Egress windows need a proper drainage system and window wells to prevent soil and debris from entering the window.

Breaking concrete floors often means that your current drainage system will be removed. After a basement underpinning project is completed, we recommend weeping tile installation & sump pump installation to keep your basement dry.

A crucial part of any finished basement, basement waterproofing can include a variety of services – interior or exterior waterproofing, weeping tile installation, sump pump installation, and more. Together, these services will turn your basement into a usable & well-protected living space.

Next Steps

How to Get Started?

  • Get in touch with Aquamaster to book a free on-site consultation.
  • We will provide you with an architect/engineer to obtain permits OR you may find one yourself.
  • The architect/engineer will obtain permits and will expedite them according to your timeline.
  •  Set the commencement date for the project and get to work! 

If you are interested in basement underpinning, reach out to us directly over the phone or through chat to get your 10% rebate. Our team will be happy to discuss your project!

Underpinning is a complicated project that must be done properly to prevent damage to the rest of the house. The staff at Aquamaster has helped thousands of customers in Toronto and the GTA to lower their basements and turn an unusable storage space into a beautifully finished room.

Why Choose Aquamaster for Basement Waterproofing in Oakville?

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Work, materials and labour warranty for 25 years. Fully transferable from owner to owner.
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Aquamaster team is fully licensed & insured to work in plumbing, concrete, underpinning and waterproofing.
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How Does It Work?

Discovery Call

Connect with one of our certified experts, so we can advise on the best way to approach your project.


We sign a contract that outlines details of your project.


We do the work, you get peace of mind and a 25-year transferable warranty.

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