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Frequently Asked Questions About Finishing a Basement

The following are just a few questions you should ask before finishing your basement space:

Q: Why should you be my basement finishing contractor?
A: Basement finishing contractors are everywhere and you probably want to find the best one to finish your basement. Asking contractors for references and associations they’re in shows you how many happy customers (or not) that company or contractor has. References should also be proportional to the amount of time the company has been in business. For example, if the company has been around for 30 years but only has 5 references, something isn’t right. Also find out if the company is a rated member of the Better Business Bureau. You’ll be able to get information on complaints they’ve had online through the BBB. A company that has long-term complaints that are not closed is a sign of a shoddy operation.

Q: What does it cost to remodel my basement?
A: No one’s going to just have a contractor come into their home without asking about price, right? The cost of finishing a basement should be contingent on how big your finishing area is. Why would you pay the same amount for a 400 square foot basement as a 1600 square foot basement? You wouldn’t, so make sure you understand the cost and fees associated with finishing your basement before you sign anything. If there is any fine print or anything else you don’t understand, ask for an explanation so you don’t get taken advantage of.

Q: Should I use drywall and finish the basement myself?
A: Drywall is a great material to use in spaces that are dry and humidity-free. However, in basement environments the moist earth surrounds the basement walls on all sides, including underneath. This means that moisture continuously comes into the basement. This is a problem because drywall is made of organic materials which mold grows on. It’s also fairly absorbent, and will surely be ruined with just one surprise ground water leak or plumbing leak. You and your family are then at risk of breathing air filled with mold and mildew, which can cause chronic allergies, asthma and other health issues, and greatly aggravate existing ones.

Avoid this problem by using water-resistant basement walls and flooring so mold won’t be an additional member of your family. Additionally, even if you did have water come into your basement, water-resistant materials can be dried out with minimal work. With drywall, you would have to rip it all out, throw it away and finish the basement again. That’s why some call it basement re-finishing – you do it more than once! With water and mold resistant basement materials you can finish it once and rest assured you won’t have to finish your basement again.

Q: What kind of basement flooring is available for basements?
A: There are many kinds of basement flooring options available nowadays. Waterproof basement flooring comes in parquet, various carpeted colors, faux wood and faux tile varieties. Ask your local contractor if you’d like something you don’t see in their samples.

For a reliable estimate on basement finishing in Kansas City, contact Total Basement Finishing of Johnson County.
Marianne Snyder writes about home improvement projects like basement finishing, crawl space repair and energy efficiency.