Managing a Basement Remodel
Get tips on tracking costs, hiring contractors and working with permits.
By: Karin Beuerlein
It's possible to manage your own basement project from start to finish rather than hiring a general contractor, but it's not for everybody.
If you're trying to save money, Steve Iverson, owner of Finished Basements Plus, recommends pitching in on labor rather than trying to juggle the entire project yourself. But if you love creating custom spreadsheets, solving problems and working with people, here are a few tips for surviving your basement project.
Hire an architect to design the space.
Your first order of business should be figuring out what your priorities are in terms of design and making sure your plan adheres to building codes, such as those for egress windows. Get the design in place before you begin hiring subcontractors.
Design a customized spreadsheet to track the project.
You'll need to be able to see pending payments, shipments and deadlines at a glance.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring 01:04
Find out what questions to ask before hiring a contractor for your remodel.
Choose products designed for basements, such as paneled wall systems.
Think like a professional contractor and forgo traditional studs and drywall in this moisture-laden environment. Wall systems designed specifically for basements will insulate, inhibit mold, and create far less dust and debris in your house for the duration of the project.
Go by the book with permits.
You'll need to file for the main building permit. Don't be tempted to skip it. Permits for portions of the project will require contractors with separate licenses, such as the plumber and the electrician. Contractors doing the work will pull permits filed under your general permit.
Write out a thorough scope of work for each contractor you hire.
Have a complete plan in place that won't change in the middle of construction. "Everybody should know from beginning to end what his or her responsibilities are," Steve says. "Change orders in the middle of work delay things longer than you think they will." The single biggest thing you can do to ensure success is maintain constant communication.
Expect wrinkles and potential delays.
Coordinating subcontractors and the delivery of materials — and negotiating the inevitable delays that occur along the way — is the most difficult aspect of managing the project yourself.
Give yourself some cushion. Depending on the scope of your project, expect it to take six to 12 weeks to complete rather than the two to six weeks you'd expect if you hired a pro.
Basement Building Codes 101
Knowing what you can and can't do is a key to good planning.
Top Six Basement Spaces
From media rooms to home offices to bars, get tips on transforming your basement.
Add Style to Your Finished Basement
Get tips for choosing the right finishing touches for your basement remodel.
Solving Basement Design Problems
Mechanical systems and other obstacles can present design opportunities. Get tips for tackling the most common problems.
Before You Hire a Basement Pro
Choosing a contractor is one of the most difficult decisions. Here's what you should ask.
Basement Remodel: Splurge vs. Save
From bars to insulation, get tips for where to invest money and how to cut basement remodeling costs.
Assess Your Basement Needs
Your unfinished basement could be the most popular area of your home. Use these tips to begin your transformation.
Access Your Basement With Ease
Stairs and windows are an integral part of your basement remodel. Get tips for safety and design.
Basement Bathroom Ideas
Using available space to build a basement bathroom will cut down on expenses.
Best Bets for Basement Lighting
Don't let your downstairs become a black hole. Learn what you need to brighten up your basement.
Behind the Design at HGTV Dream Home 2016
HGTV Dreams Happen: Sweepstakes Blog » HGTV Dream Home Oct 6, 2015 by Virginia Moon
Stylish + Efficient Appliances for Hard-Working Spaces
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Sep 30, 2015 by Kayla Kitts
This or That: Pick Your Favorite Bathroom Wallpaper
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Sep 17, 2015 by Farima Alavi
Fall Decorating Ideas From HGTV Magazine’s October Issue
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Sep 8, 2015 by Alyssa Sparacino
Go Behind the Scenes of John Colaneri’s HGTV Magazine Shoot
I Heart HGTV Sep 3, 2015 by Alyssa Sparacino
Were You Correct? HGTV Magazine’s Latest High/Low Challenge
HGTV Design Blog – Design Happens Sep 2, 2015 by Alyssa Sparacino