22 Jul
10 Questions To Ask Your Next Basement Renovations Contractor

Decided on getting a basement renovations expert to remodel your basement? That’s the right way to do it. Building basements requires a deft touch and basement renovations are best entrusted to the professionals. Especially since the structural safety of your house is at stake.

Not all contractors are the same, and that’s not something you should be finding out at the end of your basement renovation.

Here’s a handy guide to finding the right people for your basement renovations. Don’t be shy! The more you ask your contractor at the start the better. The more questions you ask, the more that can be discussed in detail – and fewer are the surprises for you and your contractor.


How long have you been in basement renovations?

Some contractors will have done thousands while some will have done hundreds of basement renovations. Then there are a few who have done none! Don’t become a victim of the ‘learn on the job’ contractor. Ask your contractors point-blank how many jobs they have worked on; whether they have worked on houses in your area; and what their track record is like.

Don’t worry, it’s not rude to do so. The best basement renovations contractors will proudly tell you their experience.

Ask this specifically: How many years of basement renovations experience; how many jobs have they done; what is the average experience of their people


Are you basement specialists or general contractors?

Too many general contractors pass themselves off as basement renovators. That’s like a GP passing themselves off as a heart surgeon (thankfully they never do it). No, not all building projects are the same. In fact, if you hear that, run away. Basement renovations, basement remodelling and basement finishing are a specialized field all their own. There are specific permits involved; engineering expertise is a must, and a great deal of logistics support is required.

Make sure you hire only basement renovations specialists like BasementBro. If you approach a general contractor make sure they have a dedicated basement team and a track record of completing quality basement renovations.

Ask this specifically: What type of projects have they worked on; will they be able to complete the basement from start to finish


Will any renovation or finishing work be sub-contracted to third parties?

This question ties into the one above. If your renovator is going to sub-contract large chunks of the work out to third parties, what good is it for you? It is quite bad, actually. If such were the case, you would be stuck dealing with, essentially, a middleman. There would little accountability and you would have no control over the project. Ask yourself what you would do if the basement leaked at the end of the project?

Some sub-contracting is fairly normal. After all, basement renovations can involve work such as window installation, dirt removal and more. For these things, a third party may be contracted. Thus, be very clear about what work will have to be sub-contracted.

Ask this specifically: Is the cost of sub-contracting included in the quote; what basement renovations work will be outsourced; who is responsible if there is a problem with third party work


Do you have a track record of leaving customers happy?

Has your next basement renovations contractor left a trail of disgruntled homeowners? You must find what, if any, specific complaints stand out. Asking the contractor could be useful, but you will have to rely on your own due diligence to get a fair idea.

You can ask to see their latest projects. Reviews online, like on HomeStars, Google and on forums can be very telling. But beware! A happy customer is less likely to review the contractor than an unhappy one. If you can get a word-of-mouth recommendation… well, that’s just perfect.

Ask this specifically: Are previous homeowners happy; can you see projects they have completed recently; what does the internet say


Do you offer a warranty on your finished basement?

Not many contractors offer warranties on their work. Only the best basement renovations contracts, like BasementBro, will offer a warranty on the finished basement. It is a real mark of confidence if the builder is willing to implicitly certify that they are satisfied with their work. BasementBro gives you a two-year warranty – that’s two years of you not having to worry about defects.

Ask this specifically: Is there a warranty on the basement; how long is the warranty offered for



Is your basement renovations business licensed and insured?

There can be different licensing requirements in different municipalities. Make sure your basement renovations contractor is licensed to work in your area. Elements such as gas and electricity installation and structural changes are regulated. What’s more, individual trades such as electricians and gas installation require licensing too. A failure here can not only mean an unsafe basement, but it may also breach your insurance conditions too.

On the subject of insurance, if your basement renovations team is not insured, you may be liable for any damage they cause to the property.

Ask this specifically: Are you a licensed building renovations Toronto contractor; are you registered with the WISB; are your tradespeople registered with industry bodies; what is your business insured against


What is the project timeline?

The single biggest mistake people make when choosing basement renovations is not discussing timelines. If a fixed and final date is given, they accept it and no further questions are asked. Don’t make that mistake!

A basement renovations project is complex. Material availability, third party commitments and planning permissions can all affect the date of completion. That’s why a ‘Complete by’ date is such a misnomer. Experienced renovators will give timeframes and walk you through estimated project targets.

Ask this specifically: What are the significant project milestones; what are the timeframes for completion of these milestones; where can delays be expected


Is the basement contractor responsible for permits?

Planning permits may not be required for small remodels, but if there is any structural work then city permits are a must. Even things like parking a crane or a large garbage bin will require permits. You need to make sure these do not fall on you. After all, experienced basement renovations professionals will already have their systems in place for these.

Ask this specifically: Who will be responsible for all planning permits for the basement; will the contractor be responsible for all ancillary permits; have the costs and time associated with obtaining permits been factored into the plan


Does basement renovations work include finishing?

A simple and obvious point – overlooked more often than not. Less reputed basement renovators can exclude finishing – to the chagrin of homeowners. Come down to see the ‘final’ basement and you are left shocked by bare walls and naked supports. “But the basement is complete”, you are told.

Don’t fall into this trap. Make sure the contract spells out exactly what work will be done. Don’t fall for outrageously low renovation quotes, they are likely just a lure.

Ask this specifically: What will be the scope of the work; will they be performing basement finishing; who will be responsible for the material costs associated with finishing


Do you provide a final cleaning?

Don’t be fooled, this is not just a matter of vacuuming the floor. You should be clear that your basement renovations contractor be responsible for cleaning up the mess. What state it should be left in depends on the project. But things like earth from excavation, building material and wiring should be disposed of by the renovator. If you have commissioned basement finishing too, then be clear about the finer cleaning before the basement is handed over to you.

Ask this specifically: Will construction debris and excavated earth be cleared; are the costs for that included in the quote; will a portable garbage dumpster be hired


Want to ask us any of these questions? Call us at (647) 699-1563 to find out how we make your basement renovations so easy and hassle-free. Or visit our website and request a quote online.

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