As Economy Struggles: Now is the Perfect Time for Basement Refinishing

Many reader might find it hard to believe – but right now is the primetime for homeowners to consider Basement Refinishing.

That’s right, while the United States economy struggles basement remodeling projects are a buyer dream come true.

Here’s why:

After all, isn’t business struggling?

Benefit #1:

Professional, and highly experienced, tradesmen are more readily available.

Several years ago, it was often very difficult to get things done when you wanted them done, and done right. Every tradesman in the business had more work than they knew what to do with. Often, professionals in the remodeling business didn’t have time to work on smaller jobs, or projects that were important to you.

Things have now changed. Right now, there is a lot less work to go around. This means there are more contractors, available for our basement refinishing jobs – and they are just waiting fort he phone to ring.

Benefit #2:

There are more basement refinishing professional, and more skilled than ever,. Similarly, before the market slowed down there was so much work to be done, quality and craftsmanship were increasingly rare. Right now, with more time to get the job done, and with a realization that more contractors are ready to do the job right if they don’t, tradesmen are doing better work.

Benefit #3:

The actual labor cost for every basement remodeling projects is less, a lot less. This directly translates to lower costs to you, the customer (which I’m guessing you love too!). The reason for this is basic economics – with more skilled people in the labor pool chasing fewer jobs equals lower prices for work.

Benefit #4:

Generally speaking, the material used to complete your basement refinishing project have maintained steady pricing for the past  prices 3 years.

Normally, we expect at least an inflationary increase in prices every year (2-4%), and increases in oil prices will often drive material price increases well beyond yearly inflation rates. With the struggling economy, material manufacturers have done everything possible to keep material prices steady to remain competitive in the shrinking economy. This means consumers are paying 6-12% less for basement finishing materials today than they otherwise would be.

As with anything, we often need to step back from a situation to examine the effects and better understand where we need to go from here. In this way a recession is a good check on out-of-control prices and overpriced builders.

But the real silver lining in this is for homeowners.

If you are in the market for a basement finishing project right now, or other home remodeling project, project costs couldn’t will be better.

Increasingly we see signs that the economy is beginning to come back.

As this happens, expect material and labor pricing to recapture some of the increases they’ve held off for so long.

Finishing your basement will never be this affordable again… ever… period. If you were waiting for a special sign to start your project, this is it!

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Colorado Home Remodeling Channel – Jach Project 3 Days & Counting

We’ve only got 3 days left before we have to turn the Jach’s Centennial home remodeling project back over to the homeowners and it still remains to be seen if we can pull it off.

Join us as we count down to the final reveal!

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A Basement Finishing Saga – Why an Ounce of Preparation is Better Than a Pound of Correction

You’ve heard the expression “Experience is the best teacher,” but learning from sad experience isn’t exactly what you want to be doing during a basement finishing project.

While small mistakes and/or corrections are to be expected on any project, you’ll want to minimize the size and frequency of mistakes if you’re going to make it to the end of the project with a quality finish.

For this reason, preparation trumps making corrections any day of the week. Someone else once said it differently (and much better): “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

While project plans and pre-construction meetings are readily recognized and understood as effective methods for reducing mistakes, another tool – the pre-electrical walk-through – is just as important.

Years ago we were trained to always conduct pre-drywall walk-throughs on our basement finishing jobs. The purpose was to catch any errors in placement of:

• electrical,

• architectural, or

• mechanical elements.

If placement was incorrect, we wanted to correct the error before covering them over with drywall, at which point moving them required drywall patches – less than desirable in any type of construction: new builds, kitchen remodels or basement finishing projects.

Projects Like This Aurora Basement Finishing Job Finish Much Better With the Use of a Pre-Electrical Walk-Through

I quickly realized that the vast majority of errors were simply miscommunications in the exact desired location of lights, outlets, switches, and audio/visual components. The architectural and mechanical elements in our basement finishing projects were usually correct (as per the plan). Thus, most of our walk-through was spent looking at improperly placed electrical elements.

Because the electrical components were typically the last to be installed I discovered that by moving the walk-through from a pre-drywall walk to a pre-electrical walk, we eliminated 90% of the homeowner’s headaches before they even started!

Let’s face it; visualizing a completed project is not the easiest thing for all of us to do. While plans are the first line of defense, a walk-through after the basement finishing efforts have begun, and after the structure has really taken shape is the best way to visualize a finished project.

The pre-electrical walk-through is the perfect way to visualize how the location of lights and video and audio components would work in the completed basement. Walking through a framed structure gives you a more accurate idea of potential dark spots, logical location of switches and outlets, and functionality of audio/visual and tech-wiring components.

Basement finishing isn’t rocket science, but it does require careful planning and accurate timing to pull off great quality. Your basement finishing contractor should care more about preparation than correction. The pre-electrical walk-through is a step in the right direction.

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Colorado Home Remodeling Channel – Jach Project Hardwood Finish

If this episode of Colorado Home Remodeling Channel is a little noisy, its because we’re sanding the hardwood floors so we can do our first coat of polyurethane. We’ll do our first coat today, our second tomorrow, and then our third and final coat right before we hand this project back to the homeowners.

This Centennial home remodeling project is on its way to an excellent finish.

Join us for an update… but bring some earplugs!

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The Worst Basement Finishing Nightmare Ever and One Simple Tip You Can Follow to Avoid it!

More so than most industries, construction has been reeling with the economic downturn in the last couple years. While it creates an excellent building atmosphere in terms of price, it also creates some unique challenges to your basement finishing project.

One potential issue that no one thinks about is the problem with contractors who can’t pay their bills. You might ask: “Why should this matter to me? I’ll pay my contractor 100% of what I owe when the job is finished.”

Listen carefully. Even though you paid the bill for your basement finishing project, you can still be subject to mechanic and material liens!

If your basement finishing contractor utilizes subcontractors (which is a good thing – for more info on this see our previous article titled “Basement Finishing – Will I Recoup My Costs?“) those subcontractors have rights to the work they’ve done on your house until they’ve been paid.

Further, if your basement contractor provides materials for the project (which is also a good thing – for more info on this see “Basement Finishing Member Benefits“), the suppliers have rights to those materials in your house until they’ve been paid.

Choose the Wrong Basement Finishing Contractor and You’ll Experience the Hell on Earth Known as Mechanics Liens

 

If your contractor is less than honest, or otherwise can’t pay the subcontractors and suppliers who helped on the project, then the basement project itself is the only recourse those subcontractors and suppliers have for the money they are owed!

An unpaid subcontractor or supplier can file a lien with the municipality to be placed against your home, pending final payment. This puts you in a sticky situation! You’ve already paid for the project, but the funds didn’t make it through to the rightful party.

Removing these liens isn’t easy and will likely involve attorneys, which is going to be expensive.

The best way to deal with a lien is to not get a lien in the first place. While there are a couple different ways to prevent this from happening, the easiest and most effective is to make sure you hire the right basement finishing professional.

You’ve probably thought to ask for past customer references, but have you ever considered requesting professional references? A while ago we made it common practice to offer a professional reference sheet to new customers.

We’re the Qualified Contractor for Your Denver, Parker, Centennial, Highlands Ranch or Aurora Basement Finishing Project.  Click for the Contractor You Can Trust!

With the number of failing businesses increasing, we felt it was important that our customers knew our accounts were current. If you know your basement finishing contractor pays his bills quickly and completely, it’s a good bet that you won’t be troubled with liens. You might also tell him upfront that you’ll require an unconditional waiver and release of lien rights at the end of the project. Alternately you can request proof of payment (check stubs or lien waivers from subcontractors and suppliers prior to giving your contractor final payment).

Unfortunately nothing is a sure thing any more, but starting with the right basement finishing contractor is an important step in the right direction.

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Colorado Home Remodeling Channel – Jach Project After Trim & Doors

Its always a good day when trim and doors go up on any home remodeling project!  So today is a good day at the Jach’s project.  Now that trim and doors are up, the character of the project is starting to show itself. 

Starting tomorrow, we’ll prep, prime and paint the house.  Then we’ll commence with all the other finishes (lights, sinks, faucets, flooring, etc).  But today its time to take a look at the project in its naked pre-finish state. 

Join us for another Centennial home remodeling episode!

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A Fire Hazard in Your Basement Finishing Project and the Insurance You Need to Protect Against It

Your basement finishing project is intended to be a comfortable place for your family to enjoy for years to come. In some cases, you may have a son or daughter who will have a new bedroom in the basement, or at the very least you may create a bedroom for visitors to enjoy when the come see you.

Whatever the case, there are a couple of potential safety issues that you should know about before you commence the basement finishing efforts.

The main issue that we’ll discuss in this article is a fire safety issue. Your furnace and hot water heater are likely fueled by natural gas. While this method of heating your home and water is proven and reliable, there still is the potential for a hazard to you and your family.

When your house was originally built, the furnace and hot water heater were placed in the basement to keep them away from you and your family. Your home was constructed so that fire would have a harder time transferring from your basement to your first floor.

Considering a Basement Finishing Project? Discover the Trust Constructors Difference! Click to Get Your Free Quote Today!

Your basement finishing project will bring you and your family into closer contact with this potential fire hazard and you’ll no longer have the protection of your floor to slow the advancement of the fire.

However, proper basement finishing will create a new barrier between you and the fire hazard. First, you should have a separate furnace room, complete with fire-rated drywall and fire-blocking to keep fire from transferring to other sections of the basement.

Second, you should require your basement finishing contractor to install a self-closing weather-stripped door that is fire-rated for 20 minutes. This accomplishes a few things.

First, because it is self-closing, you can get one over on Murphy’s Law by assuring there won’t be that “one time when we forgot to close the door.” Second, the weather stripping will help to keep the air you breathe in your basement finishing project separate from the air the furnace uses. Finally, the door (usually a weak point in preventing fire) will now withstand a blaze for at least 20 minutes, which will give you the needed time to react to a life-threatening situation.

While the probability that a fire will occur in your basement is small, the possibility still exists. Taking simple precautions will give your family a better chance of escaping without harm in the unlikely event that a hazard does occur. It’s cheap insurance to protect the people you love.

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Colorado Home Remodeling Channel – Jach Project Before Drywall

Things are moving along perfectly at the Jach’s Centennial home remodeling project.  We’ve completed all of our “rough” work at the house (framing, rough plumbing, rough electric, etc. – all the work that has to be done before walls are covered up), and are ready to start drywall after just a few final punch items.

We’ve got a front row seat to the project for you, so come along…

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The Two Reasons You Absolutely Must Hand-Select Your Slab for the Bar in Your Basement Finishing Project

One of the most exciting parts of your basement finishing project is selecting the countertop for your wet bar. One popular selection is granite slab, or a similar type of natural stone.

In my early basement finishing days, I was invited to visit my granite vendor’s stone slab yard where they keep thousands of granite, marble, travertine, slate, quartzite, onyx, and limestone slabs. That visit was a fascinating experience and every trip since has been a real pleasure!

If you decide that part of your basement finishing project should include a natural stone countertop for your wet bar, bathroom countertop, shower seat, mantle, etc. congratulations! You’ve made an excellent choice! However, don’t fail to consider this…

Most homeowners who select granite or another type of natural stone for their basement finishing project do so in their home or, at best, at a local flooring shop/design center. They usually are presented with a small sample, maybe as large as 6″x6″ if they are lucky.

Not Only is Hand-Selection Fun, but the Benefit to Your Basement Finishing Project are Significant

The problem with this approach is two-fold. First, natural stone can exhibit significant differences in color, pattern and movement, even within the same “color” of granite. For example, if you decide you want “Venetian Gold” granite (a very popular color), and you looked at two slabs of “Venetian Gold” granite, they could potentially look very different. Some colors have vast differences, other colors have very small differences, but there is almost always some difference.

Second, the number of samples available to select from in a typical design center is usually very small. 40 to 50 different colors may sound like a lot, until you realize that the local slab yard may have 4 to 5 times as many colors as the design center is showing you!

If you are considering natural stone slab, before your basement finishing project even starts make sure to find out if you will have the option of hand-selecting your granite slab. Not just the color, I mean actually physically picking the slab that will be fabricated and installed in your home.

The main advantages to hand-selecting your slab are quickly apparent when you arrive at the slab yard. A good slab yard may have as many as 250 different types of granite (and other natural stone), with multiple slabs in each type (4 to 50). Your first impression might be awe as you see the vast quantities of slabs at the yard.

Don’t let that overwhelm you though, a good guide will quickly help you filter through the ones that don’t apply to you, and in no time you’ll have narrowed it down to the winner. Now, you get the advantage of picking the exact slab you want in your home. As they move the slabs so you can see all that’s available, picture how your finished bar will look and the colors, patterns, or mineral movement that you do or don’t want permanently in your home.

Look at the Difference in these Two Slabs.  Both are Crema Bordeaux.  Imagine Your Surprise if You Expected the one on the Right for the Bar in Your Basement Finishing Project, but Got the one on the Left Instead!

If you select your own slab for your basement finishing project you’ll love the experience of visiting the slab yard. More importantly you’ll love the slab that is installed in your home because it wasn’t picked for you from the next available slab; it was picked by you especially for your project.

Just think how proud you’ll be in the coming years when you tell all your visitors, “and over here is our wet bar, we hand-selected the countertop ourselves from over 1,000 different slabs!”

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The Cold Hard Truth About Basement Finishing and Shower Tile Height

Ever wonder why the tiles in your shower stop about ¾ of the way up the wall instead of going all the way to the ceiling? Worried that the basement finishing project that you’re about to start will have the same thing?

Well, the cold-hard truth is that your builder was cheap. And chances are, if you don’t specifically request it, the basement finishing contractor will try to take the cheap road too.

Don’t let it happen. You’re splitting hairs here. The cost to add a few extra rows of tile to your basement shower walls will be relatively small.

We used to waste so much time talking to our tile installers about the right place to stop the tile. Should it go above the shower head? Or below? If we go below, the escutcheon on the shower head might be too close to the tile, if we go above, is the strip of painted wall going to be so thin it looks funny?

Walls Tiled to the Ceiling in Your Basement Finishing Project Not Only Look Fabulous, But are Functionally Effective

Additionally, you need to consider this. Your basement is almost certainly more humid than the rest of your house. Finishing it will not decrease the humidity; rather it will simply place materials in this damp environment. Now envision a bathroom in an already humid basement. Do you suppose your bathroom walls above the tile need any more moisture splashing up on them from someone showering?!

Finally we got smart and realized that we were being ridiculous. Not only was the cost of going all the way to the ceiling small, but deciding the best place to stop the tile was aggravating, and we were setting the homeowner up for a future water problem. You don’t need that headache in your basement finishing project!

When we made it standard on all basement finishing projects to go to the ceiling, the difference was immediate. Homeowners loved the aesthetic. They loved how it made the shower walls seem taller. And they loved not having water splash up onto painted walls.

Give your basement finishing contractor the cold-hard truth right from the start: “tile… to the ceiling… got it!?”

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