Inexpensive Ways to Finish Your Basement

Inexpensive Ways to Finish Your Basement
  • Opening Intro -

    Home renovation projects can prove costly, requiring you to tap your savings or take out a home equity loan to pay for the work.

    Finishing your basement won't come cheaply, but it can done with a certain amount of thrift and without you settling for poorly made supplies or equipment.

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Save money on your home improvement project.

The following are the steps you can take to help you accomplish the job:

1. Set the parameters for your project.

First things first! Write down what you want your finished basement to look like. If you’re transforming a cellar and want to turn it into a fully functional room, then you need to identify what you will need to make your dreams become a reality. Flooring, ceiling panels, dry wall, extending duct work, installing electrical lines and perhaps replacing the stairs may be part of your plans. Or, it could be as simple as reclaiming one section of the basement and turning it into a storage closet or TV room.

2. Assemble a team.

Hire a contractor and your project may cost you a mint. Oversee the job yourself and you can guide it every step of the way. Tap people you know who have the skills to handle various tasks and you can hold down your costs. Plumbers and electricians need to be licensed, therefore your friends who do this work should have current licensing available. You may be able to handle carpentry tasks yourself or work with others who can help you out. Discuss your plans with your team and seek their input. Determine an amount that you can pay everyone and negotiate that cost before finalizing your details. Contact your insurance company to ensure that everyone who sets foot on your property is covered if injured. You may need to buy a rider to cover the work being done.

3. Visit city hall.

If you live in an incorporated area, expect to submit your plans to your city’s building department for approval. Obtain the necessary forms, pay the required fees and post your permit in a visible area of your home. Ensure that your project meets the town’s requirements and expect a visit from the building inspector once your job is done. Have a fall back plan in place in case some aspect of the job doesn’t pass muster. You may need to call on one of your friends to make the needed change to help your home pass inspection.

4. Seek wholesale prices.

Building supplies can be extremely costly, but discounted prices are available for contractors. Your electrician, plumber and carpenter may be able to procure what you need at a reduced price, shopping at wholesalers that are not open to the general public. Save money on supplies, paying much less than what you would if you were to shop at a home improvement store.

5. Use remaindered items.

You can save on supplies by choosing remaindered or discarded items. Check with your local thift store to find shelving costing just pennies on the dollar, heating equipment salvaged from a torn down home and even building supplies. Consider negotiating directly with a business that is renovating its own property to remove its discards at no cost to them. Ask friends to contribute supplies that they don’t need too. You can also barter your services in exchange for some of the work. Keep in mind the IRS looks at bartering as income, treating it as something you’ll need to report on Form 1040, Schedule C.

How much can you save on a do-it-yourself basement finishing project? That’s hard to say, but a 50 percent or greater savings is possible, even more as you put in your own sweat equity.

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Categories: Basement

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".