Planning Your Basement Remodel Construction and Design

A basement remodel can recoup you roughly 70% at resale, according to Zillow. Before you go scrolling through the gram and Pinterest for design direction and ideas, there are a few things you’ll need to know about planning your basement remodel construction and design, and decide, such as: 

  • The type of basement remodel. 
  • Permits. Depending on what you will include in your basement remodel, a variety of permits will need to be pulled. 
  • The type of professional you will be hiring. Do they specialize in basement remodel work, or are they a general contractor, interior designer, architect, etc.? 
  • The overall design direction of your project. What amount of detail will your basement remodel entail?

In this blog, we cover: 

  • The different types of basement remodeling projects. 
  • The phases of a basement remodel
  • The different kinds of basement professionals. 
  • What to ask during the hiring process in regards to permits and more. 

There is also some basement remodel projects we have completed that will provide you with a point of reference when determining the amount of detail for your project.

The Different Types of Basement Remodels 

Often, our clients are interested in transforming their unfinished or partially finished basement into a living space. That ranges from a simple bonus room to a guest bedroom/bathroom suites, to a full ADU that can be rented out for supplemental income. Common projects include: 

  • Relocating stairs to improve layout and flow between your ground level and basement floors. 
  • Digging down or lifting up to increase the ceiling height of your basement space.
  • Adding square footage through bathrooms, bedrooms, or additional living space.
  • Creating an ADU for a multi-generation family or rental.
  • Turning a traditional basement into a daylight basement.

When it comes down to the cost of a basement remodel, there are two major factors that impact the budget: the scope of work and the materials used. 

The more complex the project, the larger the cost. Major layout changes (like adding bathrooms, bedrooms, or additional living space) will always prove to be more complicated than a cosmetic upgrade to an already-finished basement. 

Material costs vary just as much. There’s a wide range in price and quality between the custom, high-end end of the spectrum compared to budget, builder-grade quality. If you intend to live in the space for several more years after a remodel, we recommend investing in materials that are at least mid-grade quality. They’ll last longer.

The Phases of a Basement Remodel 

Although these phases of a basement remodel can overlap, there are the major basement finishing phases you will likely experience.

  • Framing work, such as partitions.
  • Electrical work, such as electrical wiring to support entertainment systems. 
  • Plumbing to support wet bars, bathrooms, etc. 
  • Installing drywall.
  • Painting basement ceilings and walls. 
  • Trim & Doors
  • Installing the type of flooring you choose.
  • Setting up the home theater. 

Different Kinds of Basement Professionals 

The Architect 

Architects can—but won’t necessarily—handle a range of responsibilities in a basement remodel. Many homeowners fail to discuss their expectations outside of the design, and therefore, are caught off guard once the remodeling begins. Here are some of the services architects might perform:

  • Drafting plans
  • Getting creative with the design 
  • Helping you choose fixtures and finishes

Some architects have contacts in the industry and may be able to point you in the right direction when hiring professionals to do the work. They may also be able to help keep you within your budget by making suggestions to keep the project on time. However, at most, during construction, they serve as a project manager. The actual construction aspect is left to the general contractors and sub-contractors. 

The Contractor 

Contractors are more involved during the construction process. However, many homeowners fail to discuss their expectations when it comes to planning the design and selecting the products and material phases. As a result, they are caught off guard during that period of the project. Here are some of the services contractors might perform:

  • Drafting plans 
  • Assistance with selecting certain products and materials
  • Coordinating all sub-contractors and keeping the construction phase running smoothly

Some basement contractors can help with the design of your basement remodel. Others will point you in the right direction based on meetings, and ask you to visit showrooms and then provide them with the products and materials you choose. If you really want a professional who will make suggestions, help you choose the best items for your basement remodel, and design the space for you; it is very important that you ask your contractor these questions to avoid common misconceptions.

The Design/Build Company

When you work with a design and build company, all parts of a basement remodel are planned for, coordinated, and executed. Just as the name implies, they will design and build your basement remodel. However, the cost of your basement remodel will depend on the scope of work performed. 

Design/build companies offer different service packages. As a result, some homeowners may be expecting more than they pay for. Here are some of the services design/build professionals might perform:

  • Drafting plans
  • Design coordination 
  • Material and product selection 
  • Oversight of all phases of construction 

It is important to review your expectations for each phase of the remodel: design, planning, construction. In doing so, you’ll receive the coverage you expect. Ask the design/build company you choose what their policy is for change orders or revisions. Some companies charge extra if you request those items after the work has begun or the product has been ordered. 

As for planning, ask how many drawings come included as well as how many revisions. For construction, ask if you will receive a designated project manager and how often you can expect to receive updates. 

Basement Remodel Designs

Having a vision is one thing, but knowing what your finished basement remodel will look like once it is completed can provide peace of mind. Take a look at two of the basement projects we have completed and gather basement remodel ideas and inspiration for your own. 

Westfield, NJ, basement remodel & bar 

North Plainfield, NJ, basement remodel home office

Have questions? That is completely normal. We’re happy to schedule a free no-obligation consultation with you to discuss your visions and answer questions.