Whatever neighborhood you call home in Calgary – Canyon Meadows, Mission, the hills of Edgemont that overlook the Bow Building and the entire downtown skyline – you undoubtedly want to make the most of that home. In addition, as more Calgarians aim to age in place and preserve their independence, the importance of accessibility renovations becomes increasingly evident.
One area often overlooked in this discussion is the basement – a valuable space that can become wholly unusable if mobility issues arise in our lives. So, let’s explore some of the most impactful and popular accessibility renovations for your Calgary basement, helping you make the most of this space while ensuring your home remains functional and comfortable for years to come.
Why should I make my home more accessible?
Before diving further into the specifics of basement renovations, it’s crucial to understand why investing in accessibility modifications is not just a matter of convenience but also a wise decision for homeowners in Calgary. There are many key benefits, covering multiple angles:
- Tax Breaks: In Calgary, homeowners may be eligible for federal tax breaks and incentives when making accessibility improvements. These financial benefits can help offset renovation costs.
- Safer Environment: A home designed with accessibility in mind reduces the risk of accidents and injuries, ensuring a safer and more secure living space for you and your loved ones.
- Improved Quality of Life: Accessibility renovations enhance your overall quality of life, allowing you to move freely within your home, access all areas, and maintain independence for years to come.
- Increased Home Value: These modifications can increase the resale value of your property, making it an attractive option for future buyers.
- Enjoy Your Entire Home: With accessibility renovations, you can continue to utilize every level of your house, including the basement, without limitations.
When considering how these renovations may impact you, it’s important to look at them in the greater context of your home investment. It’s not merely a matter of spending money; it’s investing in a better future, a higher ROI, and a greater peace of mind for every day to come.
Are there grants for accessibility renovations in Calgary?
Yes, there are several grants and other forms of financial assistance options available for Calgary homeowners looking to do accessibility renovations. For comprehensive information on grants and programs specific to Alberta, take a look at our full blog post on the subject: Grants for Accessibility Renovations in Alberta.
If you have any questions about these offerings, or require further assistance regarding financing Calgary home renovations, simply reach out and ask us. Our team at MyLifetimeHome™ would be thrilled to walk you through your options, and we are here to support you in making your home an accessible, amazing spot to age in place.
The best renovations for basement accessibility
Specific renovations can transform your basement from a dark, cramped afterthought area into a welcoming, functional space for all. These modifications go beyond aesthetics; they are designed to enhance accessibility and enjoyment, and ensure that your basement remains an integral part of your Calgary home well into the future.
Elevators and stair lifts
True basement accessibility starts with stair lifts and elevator lifts. These options are particularly relevant for Calgary homeowners in hilly neighbourhoods, such as Mount Royal or Beddington, looking to optimize the multi-level layouts with basement or walkout areas.
Stair lifts provide a cost-effective way to ensure your basement remains accessible. These devices take you – and any mobility devices – directly from floor to floor, following a preset path along the wall of each flight of stairs. For a straight run, the price typically falls under $10,000; in homes with more complex spiral staircases, the cost can raise to around $20,000.
Elevators, on the other hand, offer a broader range of accessibility solutions. For a simple, single-floor lift, you can expect to pay $30,000 or less – making them an excellent choice for homes with minimal vertical movement needs. However, if your home has multiple levels and requires several stops, costs can vary widely – perhaps reaching to $100,000 or beyond. For a comprehensive breakdown of elevator options, including cost considerations, you can refer to our full blog about installing in-home elevators in Calgary.
Improved smart lighting
Southern Alberta has very short days during the winter months, and this means basements can often feel dark and gloomy throughout the year. Therefore, lighting plays a pivotal role in basement accessibility renovations.
Basements tend to have limited natural light, making the right lighting solutions essential to create a welcoming atmosphere. On a recent project we completed, for example, we addressed this issue by incorporating more windows to prevent the basement from feeling gloomy and dim. In addition to this natural light, we also installed smart pot lighting, which is a major advancement in basement accessibility.
Smart lighting not only brightens up the space but also offers innovative features, such as the ability to set a circadian rhythm. This means that they can automatically adjust their intensity based on the time of day, simulating natural daylight. As the sun rises over Chestermere and sets on the Rockies, these lights ramp up or tone down, ensuring that your basement always has the right amount of light and creating a comfortable and visually appealing environment.
Furthermore, some of the newer LED lighting options come with manual settings that allow you to fine-tune the brightness, often up to 2500-3000 lumens (enough to easily illuminate an entire room if need be). This manual control ensures that you have the perfect lighting for every occasion and activity in your basement. Whether you’re reading, working, or entertaining guests, you shouldn’t have to deal with dark, dimly lit areas – for safety and for ambience.
For a more in-depth discussion about automated lighting and smart technology, especially for persons living with a disability or accessibility concerns, read our blog all about it at the link.
Bigger doorways and open spaces
Creating larger doorways, having less bulky furniture, and designing with more open space in mind is a fundamental aspect of basement accessibility renovations. If you’re in a smaller and more historic home – such as those found in Inglewood or Ramsay – this can make all the difference in how you lay out and get around the lower level of your home.
The benefits extend beyond accessibility, too; with wider doorways and ample open space, you significantly enhance your safety within that space. There’s less chance of accidental injuries caused by collisions with narrow door frames, jutting countertops, or attempting to navigate through cramped corridors.
Accessible bathroom designs
The inclusion of an accessible bathroom is not just a thoughtful addition; it’s absolutely crucial for proper use of the downstairs space. This design modification goes beyond mere convenience – it’s about creating an environment where everyone, regardless of their mobility level, can feel comfortable and welcomed.
Consider installing strategic (but aesthetically pleasing) grab bars, helping users maintain their balance while bathing or using the bathroom; curbless showers, which offer more space and less of a tripping hazard for those with low mobility; raised countertops, for ease of use with wheelchairs; and non-slip flooring, to keep your family and friends stable, even in wet conditions.
Lever door handles
While lever door handles (rather than the traditional knobs) may seem like a minor detail, their impact is significant. These handles can and do make a big difference, particularly for individuals with limited strength, balance, or dexterity of the hands and arms.
Requiring only a gentle push down or pull up motion, they are much easier to use and quite literally open many doors to a wider range of people – and whether they are in place for your future self or for a loved one now, they are a subtle but meaningful choice for true accessibility.
Remove carpeting for easier mobility
Carpeting in basements can pose substantial challenges for individuals with visual impairments, or who rely on mobility aids such as wheelchairs or walkers.
The transition points between carpet and other flooring can often cause stumbles and falls, which are one of the leading causes of injury among older homeowners. Beyond that, the plush texture of carpets can impede the smooth movement of mobility devices, causing resistance and making it challenging to navigate through the space.
The replacement of carpeting with hard, smooth flooring surfaces, such as hardwood or laminate, significantly improves accessibility and enables more mobility for those with assistive devices. On top of that, it also offers the practical benefits of reduced maintenance and a healthier indoor environment with less airborne particles.
Home accessibility renovation services in Calgary, Alberta
When it comes to making your basement more accessible, the possibilities are vast and must be tailored to your specific needs. Whether it’s installing stair lifts, elevators, optimizing lighting, or implementing other accessibility features, our team at MyLifetimeHome™ is here to guide you through the process.
As a trusted home renovation company in Calgary, Alberta, and leading our industry in the field of accessibility upgrades, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities that homes in our beautiful city present. To learn more about transforming your basement, reach out today to get started with your customized plan – our expert builders and designers are ready to provide personalized recommendations and help you embark on the journey toward a home that will truly last a lifetime. Your dream basement awaits – let’s bring it to life together!