Renovating a home and creating a legal secondary suite can be a profitable but also confusing project to undertake.

A building permit will be required. It is necessary to ensure that the suite meets all building code requirements. Things to consider are:

  • Bedroom window egress,
  • Fireproofing between suites with two layers Type X fire rated 5/8 drywall. Varies according to provincial code.
  • A separate entrance is needed,
  • Any plumbing changes must be approved.
  • The choice of heating system is very important.  Usually the easiest thing to do is have forced air in the rest of the house and electric baseboards in the basement suite.  This totally separates the two units, which helps with sound transfer and fire issues between suites.

An electrical permit will be required.  A licensed electrician must complete all of the electrical work.

Another thing to take a serious look at is sound transfer issues between suites.

There are many options to reduce sound transfer such as filling voids between studs/joists with Roxul Insulation. Two layers of Roxul with a 2 inch gap in between  give a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of 50. One layer will get you and STC of 47 .   Make sure to install the Roxul “loose” do not pack it in tight, you want at least a one inch gap between the subfloor and the roxul, and at least 2″ between layers.  It  turns out that air is a great sound dampener.

Also using a product called resilient channel which first attaches to the stud/joist and then the drywall is attached to the resilient channel.  In between sheets of drywall a compound similar to silicone called Green Glue can be used. This helps to lesson sound transfer between suites.

Using all 3 of these methods properly can greatly reduce sound transmission between suites and is worth the initial additional costs.

Check out this video to learn more about resilient channel installation.