Basement Remodeling Contractors
Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | December 14, 2011
Remodeling your basement can provide a nice new living space, a way to "get away" from the world in the comfort of your own home, and a nice return on investment. Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report for 2010-2011 estimates that homeowners can recoup up to 70 percent of the cost of a basement remodel. That's a good reason to start looking for a basement contractor, and you can begin your search right here by completing the brief form on our web page.
Narrow down the field of basement remodeling contractors
Though it might be tempting to undertake the work on your own, keep in mind that the basement is one of the most difficult areas of the house to work on. Between the moisture issues that most basements have to the challenges presented by low light, uneven floors and low ceilings, hiring a contractor trained to handle the remodel could be much easier and more cost-effective than doing it on your own.
- Start with referrals. Speak to neighbors, family and friends about their basements. Who did the work? You can also get a jump-start on a list of local contractors by using the handy form on this page.
- Get information. This includes references, information on licenses and certifications, proof of insurance, examples of previous work and warranty information offered, if any.
- Check them out. Getting the information is not enough. Check up on the facts to make sure it is all legitimate. This can include contacting licensing boards and looking up the contractor with the Better Business Bureau.
- Ask for estimates. Get at least three estimates from basement contractors, then closely compare them. Keep in mind that the lowest price is not always the best; there are other factors to consider, such as reputation and years of experience.
- Look at a contract. Make certain you understand every point of a contract before you sign it. The contract should spell out materials, labor costs, the time the remodel will take, and how payment will be handled.
- Get the permits. Depending upon where you live, permits for the work could be required. Check on this before you sign a contract. Your contractor might take care of the permit issues for you, but as the homeowner, it is your responsibility to follow up and make sure everything has been done before the work starts.
- Make the plans. Your remodeling contractor will be coming in and out of your home for several days or possibly weeks, so make sure the timing is right. Plan to move everything out of the basement in the days prior to the work so that the contractor has plenty of space.
When the contractor is done, review the contract again to ensure everything was completed as promised. If all looks great, make the final payment and enjoy your new space.