Home Remodeling Blog

Behind-The-Scenes: Updating An Older Kenilworth Basement

By Bryan Slowick | Jun 04, 2019


Older homes always present a unique set of challenges during a home remodeling project. Remodeling an older home's basement can be particularly tricky if you're not sure what to do.

When it comes to older homes, much more goes into a remodeling project than a simple face lift.

In this behind-the-scenes video series, I'll explain what to look out for and how we tackled each obstacle in this older Kenilworth basement renovation.


HubSpot Video


Identifying Challenges in Older Basements When Remodeling:

It's only natural that you'll uncover some updates that need to be made to basements when remodeling older homes. Safety codes change, style preferences evolve, and families use spaces differently now. Generally, these challenges include:

  • old radiator pipes
  • old domestic water lines
  • low ceilings
  • small windows taking up wall space

This particular client is looking to grow their family and improve the usable space in their basement. Because the home was built in 1926, we ran into many uncommon issues for more modern homes. 

We also crafted a home theater room while updating the challenges we faced along the way.


HubSpot Video



Safety Protocols When Remodeling Older Homes

About halfway through a project, I tend to do a job site visit specifically aimed at ensure all safety measures necessary are being to taken - to protect both the homeowners and the home.

One thing you will see on every job site is a HEPA filter. It works hard to purify any toxins, dust, or dirt released into the air during demolition and remodeling. These filters ensure that the dust created during a remodeling project does not migrate to other areas of the home.

Anything that remains in place during a home renovation, such as furniture, we cover in plastic. This avoids any damage that could occur such as from a spill.

We also keep a binder open during the whole remodeling project to keep our team (and the homeowners) on the same page. It identifies the scope of work, and each person involved can see what their responsibilities are.


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Rough Framing and Sewage System Updates

When demolition is complete, we are ready to begin rough framing. At this point in the project, we are identifying rooms and flow of spaces.

In older homes, everything in the basement like the floor drains and the bathroom are connected to an underground sewer. The risk associated with this outdated setup comes from risk flooding (such as during a storm) that could create sewage flooding as well from the floor drains.

To protect this basement, we disconnected the current sewage setup and installed what is called an "overhead sewer." This prevents any back up from water in the streets to create sewage flooding into the basement.


HubSpot Video



Dry Wall and New Windows

Rough inspections have already passed. Drywall is hung and the outdated, smaller windows are removed. At this point, we have cut the foundation and dug an exterior window well. This allows us to install what is called an egress window which allows for safe exiting during emergencies such as a fire.

Egress windows are necessary when adding a bedroom to a remodeled basement. They're highly recommended whenever any living space is updated in a basement to ensure safe exit in the case of a fire on the first floor preventing safe escape from a stairwell.


HubSpot Video



Completion DAY

The family can now begin to grow into their new space - and enjoy this beautiful home theater! In this basement remodeling project, we encountered updates that are unique to remodeling older homes as well as general challenges from remodeling a basement.

HubSpot Video


If you're curious to see more behind the scenes projects, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube!

Tags: Featured Projects, Chicago Homes, Remodeling Tips, Behind the Scenes Project

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