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Monday, June 10, 2013

Finishing a Basement – Contracting vs. Doing it Yourself

Many homeowners wish to finish their basements, not only because it offers additional usable space for living and recreation, but also because it greatly enhances the resale value of the house. Finishing a basement can be a high-cost affair and seemingly very tedious. Therefore, a lot of people deliberate between hiring a contractor and doing it on their own. Here are a pros and cons of these two options. Assessing the trade-off between the two will help you decide which choice is better for you:

Contracting Pros:

  • Professional contractors are experienced and have access to all the necessary equipment and machinery. They are also well connected with suppliers so they know where to get the materials from.
  • Full-time contractors can devote several days at a stretch and get the job done in a matter of weeks, ensuring that your basement is finished as fast as possible.
  • They are also well aware of current trends and practices in the industry, and can offer you the latest information and advice on finishing or remodeling your basement space.

Contracting Cons:

  • Labor charges account for as much 75% of the total cost. Therefore, homeowners on a tight budget may want to consider finishing the basement on their own.
  • You will have to deal with a lot of paperwork arising from work permits, drawings and layouts, invoices, material billing, etc.
  • A contractor may not work in the same manner as you would like him to. Things done differently give different results, and the contractor can never guarantee if you will be pleased with the work done.

DIY Pros:

  • If you have ample time at hand, you can easily learn how to finish your basement. In fact, if you have the knack for doing things with your own hands and love learning new skills, this is one experience you are bound to enjoy. Your finished basement will be something you will be proud of forever.
  • Doing it yourself will help you save on the labor cost. You can use these savings for other purposes such as purchasing lights, furnishings, and other decorative installations for your finished basement.
  • You will actually find some tasks very simple. Hanging doors and trim, drop ceiling construction, and framing and installing drywall are jobs that can be done in simple steps, one at a time.

DIY Cons

  • Some other tasks may not be so simple, and you might have to consult a professional for help. Electrical work, flooring, and plumbing are areas where you might face problems if you do not have prior experience or knowledge. It is advisable to take help from an electrician for the installation of electrical wiring and fittings.
  • It may take up quite a lot of your time. A busy person may not be able to dedicate too many working hours to get the basement completed in a reasonable amount of time.

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