Basement Finishing

The Perfect Winter Remodeling Project…

Finishing your basement is an ideal winter project that will both keep you busy and provide you with a home feature that you can use as soon as you’ve completed it. Whether you want to finish part of it for a family room or you want to renovate the whole thing to create a family room, office, bedroom, and full bath, the sky’s the limit.

Why you should get professionals involved when Finishing your Basement

Many DIYers have learned the hard way that certain jobs require professional expertise. Why?

  • The bigger the job, the more skills you will need to do it. You will need up to code plumbing and electrical to add or upgrade the bathroom, put in a bar, and/or increase lighting. If you want to remove posts or existing walls, you need the services of a structural engineer to assure that the house will not cave in if you do so. Most DIYers are not prepared to handle the challenges they will meet, nor are they certified and licensed to make needed upgrades.
  • In the Flying Horse Community, you need a permit to do extensive work in the basement. Often homeowners think that codes are too strict and take shortcuts, but failing to do certain steps may not be safe. In addition, amateur work may not pass code and the inspector may stop the job and require you to redo it before signing off on it. If you have a code violation or problem later, you will have recourse if a contractor was involved in the project. Do not encourage your contractor to work without a permit.
  • The older the house, the more likely it is you will need extensive repair work before proceeding with the remodel. If you doubt the validity of the statement, watch a few hours of home improvement television shows where homeowners found their remodeling dollars going into making repairs on structures or systems within the house.

custom-basement-window-wellBudgeting for Finishing your Basement

Finishing the basement can be a pricey project depending on what you have in mind. This is especially true if you or your contractor discover problems that must be fixed along the way. You may have your eye on renovations that will make your basement look like a Property Brothers success story, but you cannot get to the end without doing everything right. Waterproofing the basement, upgrading electrical, adding a vapor barrier and furring strips behind paneling, putting underlayment under carpet, and more are all steps that add cost to a project. Failing to do them can be very shortsighted; you will find that cutting back on the scope of your project is a wiser alternative than skimping on important line items in the budget.

How DIYers Can Work with Professionals

As a homeowner, there is plenty of work that you can do once you are sure that all the major systems are in place. If you do not want to engage a contractor for the whole project, make sure to have one review your plans and send in licensed subcontractors to handle plumbing, electrical, and structural work. Often these professionals will be able to discern issues such as dampness, misdirected drains or outdated wiring that could cause you major problems down the road. Otherwise, you can find your brand new basement has issues that require you to undo a good bit of your finished work to resolve the problem.

If you are handy enough to do part of the project, discuss what you can handle with contractor. A good contractor will work with you to lay out a major plan for finishing your basement and then help you scale it down or break it into phases that match your current budget and your ability to do part of the work. Remember that any work you do can add value to your home so make sure it is done right the first time by, at a minimum, partnering with a reputable contractor. Even better, turn over the entire project and you are sure to get professional results.
This article was submitted by Casco Construction Corp. and written by Jillynn Stevens.  Casco Construction is a Colorado Springs contractor, specializing in high-end remodeling since 2006.  If you would like to know what it would cost to finish your basement, use our free online calculator: Cost To Finish Your Basement

7 replies
  1. Hazel Owens
    Hazel Owens says:

    That’s good to know that in order to upgrade a bathroom in the basement you’ll need to code plumbing and electrical. My sister is planning to finish her basement since it’s still incomplete, so I’m helping her figure out what she needs to do. We’ll have to find a company that can help her figure out if her plumbing and electrical is up to code since it is about 5 years old and she wants to put newer appliances in the bathroom down there.


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