Whether you’re looking to turn your unfinished basement into livable space, you’re interested in creating a legal basement suite or you just want to refresh and repurpose a dated basement – there are a few things to consider before you get to picking out paint colours. By doing your homework, finding the right fit and being prepared for the work ahead you have a much better chance of achieving basement bliss - here are our top five tips for an Edmonton basement renovation:

Build Your Budget

Setting aside an appropriate amount of money to complete your renovation project is essential. “$25,000 to $30,000 is what you can expect to spend on a pretty standard basement,” says Ryan DeBruyne of MODE Contracting. “That would include a bathroom, bedroom and living area, finished from the stairs through the entire space.” This standard budget range applies to a typical 600 - 700 square foot basement. DeBruyne adds that once customers begin the renovation sometimes additional features and more luxury finishes can increase budgets by a few thousand dollars, but overall you should be able to keep costs at or under the $30,000 mark. Basement Renovations can make your home much more liveable, and save costs in the long run “If you are needing an extra 600 square feet to make your homework for you it’s much cheaper to add it by finishing off your basement rather than picking up and moving to a new property,” says DeBruyne. “by the time you factor in real estate fees and moving costs, you can save a lot of time and energy just by renovating.”

Getting an Estimate

When working with a basement in a newer home built in the last 15 years, contractors can easily provide accurate quotes without any hidden surprises. “To reduce the possibility of changing costs, we meet with the customer to figure out what they want to go into the space, I will do a walkthrough to inspect the foundation and any possible framing issues,” says DeBruyne. “From there we have the clients pick all of their finishes, from cabinets to flooring, and we can provide fixed pricing for their entire renovation before any of the work begins.” If a home is built before 1989 contractors will often perform an asbestos test in advance, and inspect the foundation for any leaks. “That is something that you never want to cover up, if there is a crack where water is coming in you want to make sure that’s addressed before you spend all the money on a renovation,” says DeBruyne. “If electrical wiring needs to be upgraded that could also affect the overall scope of work, but again those are all factors that we’ll be able to identify very early in the process and can plan for.”

Hiring a Reputable Contractor

Arguably the most important step of your renovation is hiring a contractor that you can trust. By selecting a pre-paid contractor you know the company has been approved by Service Alberta. “Pre-paid contractors have something called a surety bond behind them, which protects customers in case money is handed over but the work isn’t finished,” says DeBruyne. “That homeowner can then go back to Service Alberta and they’ll be compensated so that they aren’t out of pocket.” Costs for companies to maintain their pre-paid contractor status is quite low but registration requirements are stringent so often it’s this designation that separates the reputable companies from the less experienced. To confirm that a contractor is licensed as a prepaid contractor you can call the Service Alberta Consumer Contact Centre at 1-877-427-4088 or you can check their website www.servicealberta.ca.

Take Your Time

As excited as you might be to get the work started on your basement it’s important to do your due diligence and take your time when deciding on the company you want to hire. In addition to researching your potential contractor online through google reviews and social media, it’s important to find the right fit “It’s a lot of money and these people are going to be in your house for a prolonged period of time so find somebody you’re going to be comfortable with,” says DeBruyne.

Selecting Your Finishes

Finishes and design should be dictated by what you’ll be using the space for in the end. “We wouldn’t recommend carpet for example in a legal basement suite, to avoid having to replace it every other tenant,” says DeBruyne. “We’d actually recommend a material called LVP or Luxury Vinyl Plank, which looks great and is super durable.” Beyond function the sky is the limit when it comes to adding your own personal touches to a project. “One customer’s basement bar that we worked was worth more than the entire kitchen in my house,” says DeBruyne. “He had a full gym with a sauna in it, pool table, stand up video games, which was definitely outside of the more traditional basement renovations we see but it was really something when it was done.” By sticking to your budget, finding the right company for the job and doing your due diligence you’ll ensure a pain-free renovation process and in no time you’ll have added value to your home and gained hundreds of square feet of usable living space. Ryan DeBruyne is a partner at MODE Contracting, an A+ Rated Edmonton Renovation Contractor on BBB and RenovationFind. Their team has expertise in basement, kitchen, bathroom and full-home renovations. Posted by Liv Real Estate on
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