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So You've Decided to Finish Your Basement!
by: Patrick Condon 

When a family decides to finish a basement space, there are so many factors to consider it can seem overwhelming. What does your family want to achieve within the new basement? Are you looking for a play area, a family room, a work-out room, home theatre, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, wet bar, etc? Do you have the square footage required to accomplish what you want? How do you get started and how long will it take? How much will it cost and is it worth the money? What if there is a huge beam in the center of you basement? Do you have to have a building permit? Do you have to remove the items you currently have stored in your basement?

If these questions make your head swim, try this approach: look for the right team of design/build consultants to navigate you through these waters.

People often know they want their basement finished, but don't know how to put it all together, whether they have the necessary space, or even how to get started. Specialty design/build consultants are able to assess your needs and, after accurate measurements are taken, will design various blueprints to fit your requests. From these drawings you can choose the ideas that best suit your requirements and come up with a final blueprint. With this final blueprint in hand, your designer/builders will be able to determine what the cost of the basement finish will be, and provide a start-to-finish timeline on when the project will draw to a close.

When determining whether finishing your basement is going to be a worthwhile investment you should consider several variables. Are there comparable homes in your area with finished basements? How long do you intend to live there? Will the homes there increase in value, and if so, how fast? With a little bit of research you will be able to answer these questions, and decide if finishing your basement is right for you.

Sometimes a basement has restrictions that need to be considered during the design process. Such limitations can include steel columns or I-beams, HVAC trunks, underground plumbing, water meters, sump pumps, window wells, furnaces, water heaters, the height of your ceiling, and the existing floor conditions. Your design/build consultants should be focused on making these restrictions disappear into the architectural design of your basement while accomplishing your goal for the space.

Safety is an important factor to consider when construction of any kind takes place. Ensure all necessary building permits, applications for variances, and building code inspections are complete. All building and fire safety codes should be strictly followed, without exception.

In order for construction to begin all items in the basement must be moved to another location such as the garage or a temporary storage facility. This allows construction to be completed without damage to your valuables or disturbance to the construction team.

After thoughtful consideration of these questions, you'll be closer to determining your family's basement needs and how to fulfill them. Gathering all the information upfront will help you achieve those goals.

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