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Thread: Basement Finish

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    Basement Finish

    I know there have been some threads in the past on this topic but I was looking for some tips and pointers on finishing a basement. I am closing on a house July 1st that has an unfinished basement. I would like to finish it off as soon as possible. It is plumbed for a full bathroom already. It is 728 sq foot but I may leave a small portion for storage. Any good price estimates for contractors in Eastern Iowa? I would like to include wiring for a projector, sound, etc. What are other considerations to factor in?


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    Re: Basement Finish

    Just seconding the idea of keeping a portion unfinished. I'd keep more than are thinking unfinished. I have a townhouse with a 520 square foot basement and probably 2/3's of it is finished and 1/3 is unfinished. No lie, the unfinished storage room is one of my favorite features.



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    Re: Basement Finish

    Quote Originally Posted by jsb View Post
    Just seconding the idea of keeping a portion unfinished. I'd keep more than are thinking unfinished. I have a townhouse with a 520 square foot basement and probably 2/3's of it is finished and 1/3 is unfinished. No lie, the unfinished storage room is one of my favorite features.

    Can i ask what you paid to finish it?


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    Re: Basement Finish

    Definitely have a sizeable unfinished part. Put your lights on dimmer switches for low-light movie and sport watching.



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    Re: Basement Finish

    I did mine last year, about 400-500 sq ft. I spent about $3,000 or more. I think $1,300 was for drywall, mudding and texture. I basically did everything =else. My buddy is an electrician and did it for some beer. I think if i had contacted it all, it wouldbeen at least twice what i paid, maybe 3x. If you do a bathroom it'll get really spendy


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    Re: Basement Finish

    I didn't do flooring tho, just stained and sealed the concrete, we have pets and its just easier to clean up than carpet. And it was only $100. Love the results as well. Not everyone would love it tho.


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    Re: Basement Finish

    I don't trust myself finishing it, would like to know its done right but might get pricey.


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    Re: Basement Finish

    Leave some unfinished crawl space in case there's an emergency and you need someplace to bury the body.

    (I got that tip from JW Gacey)


    No matter what, I could NEVER cheer for Dirt and Urine.

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    Re: Basement Finish

    Quote Originally Posted by cloneteach View Post
    Can i ask what you paid to finish it?
    I actually bought it that way, so I have no idea what it cost.



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    Re: Basement Finish

    If you are in Eastern Iowa, watch out for crooked Hawkeye type contractors that will want to rip you off.


    Hit it hard, every yard

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    Re: Basement Finish

    Dan Olmstead of Olmstead construction in Cedar Rapids does great work, has a good crew and is honest about pricing. Lot of guys looking for work right now though so don't be shy negotiating on costs, no matter who you pick.



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    Re: Basement Finish

    I know some will say it saves money, but I bought a house last summer, and there were several where it was obviously a homeowner finished basement...butt jointed trim, painting jobs that looked like they were done with a straw broom (and no, it wasn't intended), tape joints so bad that not even the heaviest popcorn texturing could help it.

    Those were the ones we walked out of immediately, even if they were priced as if they didn't have a finished basement.

    I would recommend hiring individual contractors rather than a general to handle it all if you're confident in what you are looking for and know how to do it. It will still be some work to oversee, but that's work that I'd put in. I was surprised when I got quotes from individual contractors (electrician, plumber, drywall, painter) how cheap it was compared to my time and headaches and peace of mind that it'd be done right.



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    Re: Basement Finish

    Quote Originally Posted by 00clone View Post
    I know some will say it saves money, but I bought a house last summer, and there were several where it was obviously a homeowner finished basement...butt jointed trim, painting jobs that looked like they were done with a straw broom (and no, it wasn't intended), tape joints so bad that not even the heaviest popcorn texturing could help it.

    Those were the ones we walked out of immediately, even if they were priced as if they didn't have a finished basement.

    I would recommend hiring individual contractors rather than a general to handle it all if you're confident in what you are looking for and know how to do it. It will still be some work to oversee, but that's work that I'd put in. I was surprised when I got quotes from individual contractors (electrician, plumber, drywall, painter) how cheap it was compared to my time and headaches and peace of mind that it'd be done right.
    I'm the same... when I see a house with a basement that is obviously amateur finished I cross it off the list. Chances are, if they went amateur on the basement they went amateur other places as well. Unless you can make it look professional, contract it out.



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    Re: Basement Finish

    The other thing to consider if your relationship is good, suggestions from your realtor. Their job is to be tied into the industry and likely they've seen the work of the good and bad contractors in your area.



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    Re: Basement Finish

    We did a 800 Sq Ft Basement Project last summer found good contractor that bid it out where I paid for supplies directly when he purchased and paid his labor weekly. 5 - 6 week timeline and cost of aprox $17K which included $2500 for carpet and $2000 for the 42" high cabinets for the small kitchnette area. Had a 3/4 Bath, Kitchnette area, and office room leaving aprox 100Ft sq for storage along with under the steps. Aprox. $21 ft sq cost seemed reasonable compared to 2 other bids we had of $24,000 - 31,000 by General Contractor.

    Find a starving contractor trying to get his business started with great references. Offer to support their business as a reference if job done well. The guy doing ours got 3 more jobs because of our reference.



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