Questions to Ask Before Basement Finishing

House project planning

Hiring the right basement remodel contractor for your renovation project is critical because who you hire can make or break your project. With so many basement contractors out there claiming to be the very best in the industry, how do you know if they are as good as they say?

By asking specific questions of your basement finishing contractor, you can determine whether they are the right fit for your project.

Working with an unprofessional contractor will be frustrating, at the very least, and can cost you a lot of money in the long run, particularly if you have to hire another contractor to fix the original contractor’s mistakes. To avoid unnecessary headaches, have an extensive conversation with your potential basement renovation contractor and find out some key information about their business before hiring them.

Here Are Some Questions to Ask a Contractor:

Amazing Basement with Custom Backlit Ceiling

1. How Long Have You Been in Business?

The longer the company has been in business the more confidence you can place in their work. You need to be able to trust that they know how to do their job and do it well. So, the longer they have been in the industry, the better. Construction is not always a smooth process, it often brings up some unexpected surprises. You need an experienced team that knows how to adjust and address issues as they arise. A basement contractor with a good track record of completing projects on time and on budget and prioritizing customer service is a good person to have on your project

Basement Finishing Project

2. Are You Licensed?

This is important to know because it will give you peace of mind knowing that the basement renovation contractors working on your home meet requirements established by the province. It is also essential in protecting you if there are any problems with the work. If safety measures are not up to par or some other violation that contributed to a problem, you may not be able to seek compensation because you used an unlicensed contractor.

Luxury Basement with Build in Fireplace

3. Are you insured?

Be sure to ask to see a copy of any insurance certificates your basement remodel contractor has. They need to be current and also clearly outline what you will be liable for in the event of an injury during the project. In the unfortunate event of an accident, you don’t want to find yourself in a difficult predicament, so this is a very important question to ask a contractor.

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4. Do You Have a Showroom?

Keep in mind that having a showroom doesn’t automatically mean that the company provides quality work. However, it does speak to how established the contractor is and that they have invested in showcasing their work. That tells you that they have been around for a while and intend to continue doing business – all good signs that they are serious about being in business. Whenever possible, visit a showroom to get a feel for their work and a chance to meet some members of the team.

Luxury Dining Room in Custom Basement

5. Do You Offer a Warranty?

There is a warranty that is commonly used in construction called the “taillight warranty”, which essentially means that once the contractor is finished with the project, the warranty ends. The taillight is in reference to the contractor driving off of your property. This should not be a choice for you. You want a basement contractor that will offer you a written warranty so you are confident that if anything goes wrong after the project is done, your investment is protected.

Modern Family Room in Custom Basement

6. Can I Call References?

You want to work with a contractor that can provide a list of previous customers you can reach out to inquire about the quality of their work. This way you can get additional insight and determine whether the contractor is a good pic for you. If the contractor does not have a list of references readily available, that shouldn’t deter you, as long as they’re able to provide you with a list relatively soon.

Basement Renovation Project

7. Can I Go Visit Some of Your Past or Current Jobs?

This is one of the best ways to assess the work of a contractor you are Evaluating. For your project. Being able to see their work is invaluable. It’s nice if you’re able to see pictures but there’s some details that are not quite captured in pictures so being able to physically visit a location is preferable.

Basement Dining Room with Build in Fireplace - Basement Finishing Vaughan

8. When Will You Start?

This is important to know because it gives you a timeline of the work. It will also make you aware of how busy your basement remodeling contractor is and how far in advance you will need to book them. If they are able to start right away, you should ask why they are so available. Is that an indication that they are not working on any other projects? While there are high and low seasons when it comes to home renovation projects, if they are not busy at a time when you would expect them to be, you may need to look into that further and ask some more questions. If it will take them a while to begin your project, ask them why. Is it because they are in high demand or is it an indication that they are not as efficient as you may want them to be? Waiting up to 3 months for larger renovation projects to begin is common, but having to wait for 6 months may be an indication that the company you have in mind may not be the best fit.

Classic Basement Family Room by Harmony Basements Renovation Vaughan

9. When Will You Finish?

This is an important question although many contractors have a hard time estimating when they will be done with the project for a number of reasons. However, a reputable contractor should be well organized and be able to give you a rough timeline so you can plan accordingly.

Financing Basement Renovation Project

10. Do You Offer Financing?

Renovation projects can be quite costly depending on the scope of the project, and having all the cash upfront may not be possible for you. This is why it’s good to know if the company offers any financing. Most contractors offer some form of financing that will allow you to begin the project.

Basement Renovation Contractors

11. Do You Do All the Work Yourself or Hire Subcontractors?

This is important to know because you want to be aware of who will be working in your home as the project goes on. So asking your contractors whether they will be working with their in-house team exclusively or if they will hire subcontractors is a good question to ask. Also find out how the work will be managed and overseen.

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12. Will You Be Pulling the Permits?

Permits are a must for any construction project and need to be acquired prior to any work beginning. They ensure that all the renovations done meet safety and zoning criteria. They will be building inspectors coming to examine the work at various stages of the project. This is to ensure that everything is being done properly. A contractor should make sure that all the appropriate permits are in place.

Design and build residential architecture

13. Well I Get a Detailed Drawing?

It’s important that you and your basement remodel contractor are on the same page about every detail regarding the project. Having a detailed drawing can help you see exactly what the project will entail and that your vision has been communicated effectively. You don’t want to have any surprises, so having a detailed drawing is essential before work begins.

basement design by harmony basements

14. Do You Have a Designer to Help Me with My Selections?

Having a designer to provide guidance on design choices is an asset. In many cases, homeowners may not have the expertise to determine the best design for the space they are renovating. Someone who specializes in home design can take your vision to a whole new level just by incorporating a few changes here and there.

Open Space Basement Remodeling

15. What Are the Major Energy Saving Features of Basements You Finish?

Incorporating energy saving features in your renovation project can have quite an impact on your energy costs. It’s a great way to save money on your monthly energy bill. Ask your contractor about what features they offer that provide energy saving benefits. This may seem like a minor detail, but the savings add up over time.

Custom Dining Room in Basement Renovation Project Richmond Hill

16. Do You Provide a Final Cleaning?

Construction creates quite a mess. When the construction is complete, the space will need to be cleaned to remove all the dirt and debris left behind. Ask your contractor if this is something they provide or if you need to make arrangements for this to be handled by someone else.

Basement finishing requires a lot of planning and asking the right questions can lead to a smoother renovation process and help you prepare adequately for the project. You want to eliminate surprises as far as possible, so ask your contractor as many questions as you need to ensure you are fully prepared for the project.

For more information on basement remodeling, contact our experts at Harmony Basements.