Basement Remodeling Contractor:  Making the Right Choice

Remodeling the basement is a great way to improve the quality of your home and increase its living space, but care should be taken when choosing the best basement finishing contractor in the area.  Making the wrong choice can lead to lost money, lawsuits, and shoddy workmanship. 

Reliable Basement Contractors

Basement contractorsA great first step to finding a reliable basement finishing contractor us to ask friends, family members, and coworkers whose opinions you trust.  Even if they don’t know any basement remodeling contractors, they may be able to give you the name of an honest person in the home improvement business who can recommend someone.

Once you’ve developed a list of basement contractors, be sure to research their reputation.  Check with the Better Business Bureau and be sure to get three recent references from the basement contractor before having the job done.  Make sure that you’re hiring someone who is experience in remodeling a basement- a carpenter is not going to know enough about basement finishing to do it right.  If a basement remodeler needs to be licensed and registered in your state, make sure to confirm their credentials with your local building department.  You should also make sure that the company has an established business, as 50% of contractors fail within the first five years.  You’ll want someone who will be there when you need them!

Quality Basement Finishing Products

To make sure that you’re getting the best value for your investment, make sure you compare at least three estimates.  Most good basement remodeling specialists will offer the estimate for free.  Be informed and prepared for the visit so you can ask questions and get the most out of the experience.  The least expensive quote is not necessarily the best.  No two basement finishing systems are the same- each will have their own advantages and disadvantages, and a low bidder may be cutting corners with quality.

Make sure that you find out how long the job will take, how much mess is involved in installation, and if their products are mold, water, and fire resistant.  Do not trust people who try to install wood and carpet directly on the walls and floors, as moisture will seep through and cause these materials to rot and grow mold.  If you’re financing, ask questions about payment options and if the basement contractor offers a written warranty.

Avoiding Scams and Legal Woes

While most basement contractors will ask for a deposit of 30%, be wary of workers to demand the full payment up front. Avoid basement contractors who go door to door, or who say that can give a discount because they have materials left over from the last job.  Never pay for a job in cash or allow the basement contractor to pressure you into a quick decision without reading the paperwork.  If a basement contractor asks you to obtain the building permits yourself, it may be because they are unlicensed- one good way to find out if they are unlicensed is to check to see if they’re not listed in the phone book.  Exceptionally long guarantees on the materials are likely to be as unrealistic as they sound.

Basement contractors and builders should always carry worker’s compensation insurance.  If one worker is injured while on your property, this will cover their damages.  If you hire a basement contractor who does not have proof of this insurance and one of his subcontractors suffers from an accident, the property owner may be sued for financial responsibility.  This can be a terribly expensive and exhausting problem!

Additionally, there are many contractors that will scam homeowners by offering them a job through a lender that the contractor “knows”.  The financing that you’re doing for your basement remodeling project may actually be a home equity loan with a very high interest rate and fees.  These basement contractors, who are sometimes paid by the lender, will have little interest in completing the job properly.

 

Renovating a basement can be an exciting new improvement in your home, but only if you do your research and carefully pick a basement finishing contractor who can do your basement makeover the right way.  Check your sources, find a reliable and established contractor, and make sure the products are high-quality!

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