Frequently Asked Questions

Get to Know Basements & Beyond

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General Questions About Basement Finishing

Questions About Our Company and Services

 

Answers

How are you different from your competitors? First, our experience of being in business since 1994 as a remodeling contractor and having built over 1,000 projects means that we know what we are doing so that you can trust our expertise to design and construct a superb project.

Second, because we have done so much building and are confident in our product, we offer a LIFETIME WARRANTY on the labor and material that we build for as long as you are in your home (does not apply to manufactured items that come with their own warranty, like faucets, appliances, etc). Industry standard warranty is 18 months.

Third, is that every year we will win many awards for our designs. So whether you want to remodel a small bathroom or a 3,000 square foot basement, you will get our best team designing your project with the most advanced design software available. The software allows us to show full 3D renderings so you will know exactly what your project will look like before we even start.

Fourth, is that we are GUESTS in your home for a period of time and we must respect your needs and concerns. Our trade partners are NOT allowed to have tobacco, food or beverage products, and radios on your property. We install fans in the windows to exhaust dust to the outside and set up plastic tents in the areas where we are working to keep dust contained. On basement projects we come and go from the window wells and do not need to access your main floor.

What is the estimated cost to finish a basement? This is our number one question, and of course, there is no direct answer. There are many variables that must be considered before even giving an estimate. Additionally, every contractor charges a different price. You can expect, however, that the more features you are requesting, the more expensive it will be. Solid surface counter tops, wet bars, fireplaces, home theaters, architectural features, steam showers, etc., will raise the per square foot cost. The more basic the basement finish, the less the cost.

In addition, a small basement of 700 sq. ft. or less, will cost more per square foot to finish. The bathroom is the most expensive room to finish per square foot, and that cost must be spread over the entire square footage cost – so the smaller the basement, the higher the per square foot cost. The reverse is also true for larger spaces, such as over 1,500 sq. ft.

How long will it take to finish my basement? Again, this is a question that has no exact answer because of the numerous factors involved. We usually estimate one week per 100 sq. ft. up to 1,000 sq. ft., and one week for every 200 sq. ft. over 1,000 sq. ft. For example, we estimate 10 weeks for a 1,000 sq. ft. basement, and 11 weeks for a 1,200 sq. ft. basement. These estimates can change by several weeks, though, if there are a lot of unusual or time-consuming features.

What is the resale value of a finished basement, kitchen, master bathroom, or other remodeling project? That question is probably best answered by a real estate broker whose judgment you trust and research. We have provided links to relevant articles that may be informative.

Hanley Wood Remodeling Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, Real Estate Report, March, 2006 The National Association of Realtors "2005 Cost vs. Value Report" Denver Post, October 21, 2004

Is a permit required to finish a basement, kitchen, master bathroom or whole house remodel? Yes, absolutely. It is against all building codes to finish a basement or complete a remodeling project without a permit. Additionally, having a permit is for the homeowner's protection and safety. With a permit, all work must be inspected and must pass inspection, assuring that everything meets safety codes. It is also to a homeowner's advantage to have a permit if they are considering selling their home. Potential buyers will require inspections to ensure all work was done to building codes.

What do permits cost? Permits costs vary in each jursidiction. Contact your local building department for permit costs.

What is an egress window? Every finished basement must have at least one egress window, and if applicable, an egress window well. Every sleeping room must have an egress window, and they can be one and the same if there is only one sleeping room. An egress (escape) window must have a clear openable area of 5.7 sq. ft., net clear openable height of 24 inches, and net clear openable width of 20 inches. Sill height will not be more than 44 inches above the floor. Windows with a sill below ground level must have a window well with a minimum net clear opening of 9 sq. ft. with a minimum dimension of 36 inches. Window wells deeper than 44 inches must have a permanently attached ladder.

For more information, refer to Section 310.4 of UCB.

Are there requirements for a certain size or number of windows in a basement? There must be at least one egress window in a basement, and if there is a bedroom, it must be in the bedroom. All bedrooms must have an egress window. There is a code requirement in certain jurisdictions that all habitable space must have 10% natural light and ventilation, so be aware of that requirement.

Is a kitchen allowed in a basement? Many jurisdictions do not allow full kitchens in basements. The stove top is the issue, but most other appliances are acceptable. Check with your local building department.

Is a fireplace allowed in a basement? Yes, a direct vent gas fireplace can be installed in most basements.

Can rough plumbing for a bathroom be moved or added? Yes it can. Many times the bathroom can be placed or added in other locations in the basement making it a better location for the design.

Are hot tubs allowed in a basement? Yes, but they are not recommended. A de-humidifying system is necessary to deal with the added humidity.

Is it possible to have a hardwood floor in the basement? Yes. It works well if the basement has a wood floor. There are also new products that allow for a wood floor on a concrete floor.

What is recommended if our furnace is not large enough to accommodate a finished basement? Another furnace can be added for the basement, or the existing one can be replaced with a larger furnace. A high efficiency furnace may be needed if the existing flue is too small.

A zoning system can also be added to existing forced air ducting to increase the comfort and flexibility of the basement temperature. It allows for temperature regulation on each floor.

Supplemental electric baseboard heat units are another option. It is the more economical.

Is there an advantage to using a suspended ceiling versus a drywall ceiling? The only advantage is the ability to easily run wires from room to room with a suspended ceiling. The disadvantages outweigh the advantages, though. Suspended ceilings are unattractive, limit design options, sag and discolor over time. We do not install this type of ceiling.

Do we provide design services exclusively? We are a design/build general contractor and our talent is our in-house design and construction teams.

Do we do other projects in a home, such as remodeling in the upper levels? We provide remodeling services for kitchens, master bathrooms, and whole house remodels in addition to finishing basements.

Do we do projects in phases or let home owners finish the work? Yes we can. There are certain “break-off” points that we must achieve before we end a phase and can discuss those options with you. Much of this has to do with ending a phase at a stage that would not cause a life-risk situation for our clients.

Do we allow clients to provide some of their own finishing materials, such as paint, carpet, tile, bath fixtures, etc? Yes. Clients providing some their own finishing materials, however, must follow all criteria in our Owner Furnished Items Agreement.

Do we allow clients to perform some of the work in their basement? Yes, in certain circumstances. Any work requiring a license, such as electrical, HVAC and plumbing, must be done by a licensed tradesman in the client's jurisdiction, and must be completed within our schedule timeline. Other work not requiring a license must also be completed within our schedule timeline, such as painting, installing cabinets, carpet, etc.

Do we handle partial finishes? Yes, if the project meets a minimum project price.

Do we finish basements or any other remodeling project in phases? No, we do not finish basements or any other remodeling project in phases.

Do we provide upgrades to existing finished basements? Yes, if the upgrades meet a minimum project price, however, that is rare. An interior designer or interior design service is probably the best solution for upgrades to a finished space.

Do we refinish existing basements without any demolition work? Yes, but the project must meet a certain minimum price. Also, all previous construction must meet certain criteria. Older homes may require upgrading electrical, HVAC or plumbing to meet current building codes. Reframing or adding an egress window may also be necessary and require some demolition.

What does our contract price include? Our fixed price contract includes design through construction with final inspections for a turnkey basement, including flooring.

Can clients make changes to their projects after a signed contract? Yes, we have a change order process by which clients can make changes to the design or finish materials. A client's project manager will calculate the price difference, debit or credit, and present the Change Order to the client for review and approval. No work is performed until the Change Order(s) is approved and signed by the client.

Do we finish crawl spaces? Yes we do. We can excavate the crawl space to a full ceiling height and finish the area giving more space. It is an excellent use of the space you have. Please call us to discuss.

Do we use subcontractors? Yes, all of our trades people are subcontractors. Most of them have been working with our company for years, and several since our inception. We believe they are the best in their fields.

Do we have a project superintendent on site? Yes, we have both a project superintendent on site, as well as his assistant, who visit the site a minimum of 4 times per week.

Are we licensed and insured? Yes.

Do we repair water damaged basements? Yes.

Theft and Security when homeowners are not home or on vacation? We are proud to say that we have never had a case of theft on our jobs. When homeowners are not home or gone on vacation during a construction project, we lock the house up each night and unlock it in the morning. We will also take pictures of the project’s progress to send to the homeowners. Go on vacation and come home to a new kitchen! How great is that?!