CMH Builders Basement Finishing FAQ’s
Q: What is recommended if our furnace is not large enough to accommodate a finished basement?
Depending on the size of your home’s basement, finishing it could add hundreds of square feet to your living space without a major extension of the structure. Taking advantage of the existing space means you’re increasing the total space of your heated home, putting extra load on your furnace or other heating equipment. Instead of relying on multiple costly space heaters to warm up just the basement, consider a heat pump for efficient separate heating.
Secondary Heat Pump
A: It’s perfectly possible to simply install ductwork during your basement renovation and upgrade to a larger furnace to compensate for the new space. However, a brand new furnace costs thousands of dollars with installation. Heat pumps capable of handling up to 1,000 square feet can be found for under $1,500, with installation only adding a few hundred dollars to the total cost. There are also ductless models so there’s no need for bulky ducts taking up space behind a false ceiling or along the walls. Finally, heat pumps also offer some of the most efficient heating for your money. They produce heat as long as temperatures stay above 30 degrees F or so, making them a full-time heat source for mild climates. Houses in colder areas can still rely on a space heater or other backup heating method during the coldest days of winter while using the heat pump the majority of the time.
Q: Is it Possible to Have a Hardwood Floor in the Basement?
A: Hardwood flooring is beautiful, easy to clean and has a long lifespan. It also keeps the air quality better for those with allergies or asthma compared to carpet. However, hardwood can be permanently warped or discolored if it comes into contact with water or large amounts of moisture. If you are finishing off your basement, you may find yourself wondering if it is possible to have hardwood flooring in this space. Here is some information you should know.
Can You Install Hardwood Floors in a Basement?
As a general rule of thumb, it is not recommended that you install hardwood flooring in a basement. This is because of the additional humidity in basements and the higher likelihood of water damage in this space
What Additional Installation Steps can be taken to Install Hardwood Floors in a Basement?
If you are set on hardwood, a sub-floor needs to be installed in order to lay hardwood. Many contractors actually recommend using a sub-floor and then a waterproof membrane or pieces of plywood between the sub-floor and the hardwood. This reduces the likelihood of water coming from under the home or the foundation and damaging your wood floors. These sub floor systems can add $$$ to the overall project costs and have the potential to hide water issues that the basement may have.
What Are the Alternatives to Hardwood Flooring for a Basement?
If you love the look of hardwood but are flexible in your flooring material, both engineered wood and laminate are great alternatives to hardwood flooring. They both have the same look as real wood, without being susceptible to moisture or water problems. Also, a high quality vinyl plank flooring can give you the look of wood, for a fraction of the price and are virtually water proof.
If you are looking to have your basement finished off, or simply need new flooring installed, give us a call today. We would love to help you with all of your basement renovation needs.
Q: Is a kitchen, fireplace, or hot tub allowed in a basement?
A: Once you realize you can transform even the smallest or dampest basement into a beautiful living space with a little work, you may be tempted to go overboard in dreaming up new ways to use the area. Not all additions work well underground, especially when you’re considering what local and state building codes will allow for in Indiana.
Kitchens are Tricky
It’s acceptable according to the building codes of most counties to add a kitchen, including a sink, to a basement. There are requirements for smoke detectors and separate challenges to plumbing in a basement, but it can be done. Make sure you follow all egress and other safety rules for finished basements since you’ll be adding an extra fire risk with cooking appliances.
When it comes to fireplaces in basements, each county has a different option on whether it’s safe or not. If your local code allows for it, remember that you must still place an air intake for the fireplace that is connected to the exterior of the building and not the basement or the rest of the home. This can be difficult when you’re building in a room with 12 inches of concrete block for walls.We recommend contacting a local fireplace specialist during the planning and budgeting phase of the project to discuss options.
While there are no specific building codes preventing the installation of a hot tub in a basement, it’s not a good idea unless it’s handled with care. Installing a tub as part of a sealed sauna with powerful ventilation will work, while adding it to a corner of the room without humidity controls will lead to mold and mildew issues.
Q: Is there requirement for a certain size, or number of windows in a basement?
A: Remodeling a basement allows you to transform otherwise empty space into clean, dry, welcoming living space. Whether you’re expanding your family or creating a bigger guest room, you’re likely interested in adding windows to your basement to let in natural light. You may be surprised to find out that windows are a legal requirement in finished basement living areas.
Egress for Safety
The International Building Code mandates that each finished basement must have at least one window with an opening area of 5.7 square feet or more. These are known as egress windows because they allow residents to escape in case of a fire or accident. If the basement windows are located more than 44 inches above the floor, you need steps or a ladder permanently mounted in place as well. 90% of the country has adopted this code or a stricter one for their local building requirements, including most of Indiana. Failing to install the proper egress window in a finished basement could leave you paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines and hurrying to remedy the mistake within the time limit offered by the code enforcement office.
More for Light
Of course, once you’re putting the effort into installing one egress window you might as well add a few more for the increased light and ventilation. This is easier and more affordable in basements that have at least one uncovered wall, but wall wells make it possible in practically every basement.
Q: Are permits required to finish my basement?
A: The joy of renovating and shaping your home’s interior to match your needs is one of the best parts of home ownership. Yet you can’t simply do whatever you like without notifying the local building code enforcement office and applying for the proper permits. While many parts of rural Indiana once allowed homeowners to do as they pleased with regards to repairs and renovations, a project like finishing a basement now requires a permit in virtually every county in the state.
The Importance of Permits
The building inspectors aren’t just making you get a permit to make the process harder. Indiana has adopted the International Building Code to standardize structures throughout the state, so new projects like basement refinishing must follow these rules for safety reasons. If you get the appropriate permits and have everything inspected and approved, you can sell the home knowing it’s safe and ready for someone else to use. It’s also essential for keeping your home insurance up to date because insurance companies need to know you’re not creating safety hazards by using unsafe building practices.
In some parts of Indiana, a building permit is all that’s needed for basement refinishing. Other areas require separate permits and inspections for structural changes, electrical installations, and plumbing. Check with your code enforcement or building inspector’s office to verify the deadlines, requirements, costs, and types of building permits you need before planning your basement renovation project.
Q: How Long Does it Take to Finish a Basement?
A: Finishing off a basement can add more usable square footage to your home. It can give you a much needed extra bedroom, laundry space, kid’s playroom or man cave. If you are interested in finishing off this space, one of the biggest questions you may have is how long it will take to complete the project. Here is some information you will want to know regarding completion timelines if you are considering having your basement finished.
How Long Will it Take to Finish a Basement?
Unfortunately, there is no way to determine how long it will take to finish your basement until you meet with contractors and they take a look at the scope of work. If you simply adding insulation, drywall, flooring and a ceiling, it will take a lot less time than someone adding in plumbing, a kitchen or framing out various rooms. All in all, the process can take as little as a few weeks or as long as a couple months for most projects completed by a renovation company.
What Factors Affect the Timeline for Completion?
Every unfinished basement is at a different stage. Some are completely unframed and not insulated, where as some are partially finished and have this. They scope of the work being done also affects the timeline for completion. Additionally, if there are any unexpected problems, such as a damaged concrete floor or warped wood, that can add to the length of time it will take to complete, as those issues need to be fixed before renovation work can begin.
If you want to have your basement finished, give us a call today. We can provide you with an estimate as well as a more solid completion timelines base on the current condition, size and type of work you want done in your basement.
Q: Does a Finished Basement Add Value to My Home?
A: If you have an unfinished basement, there are benefits to finishing it off. One of the questions that we are frequently asked is whether a finished basement will add value to a home. Here is some information that you will want to know if you are considered this home renovation project.
Does a Finished Basement Add Value to a Home?
When you finish off a basement, you are adding more livable square footage to your home. As such, you are increasing the amount your home is worth. However, it is important to note that the average price per square foot for a finished basement is typically a lower than the average price per square foot for above-ground space.
How Much Value Does a Finished Basement Add?
The amount of value that a finished basement adds varies based on many different factors. The biggest factors are what your home needs most. If you have a one bathroom home or a two bedroom home, adding a bathroom and/or bedroom in the space can significantly increase the value. If you need a laundry space, adding this to the basement can also add more value to your home. A contractor can help you determine what the right finishes are for the space and how to maximize it to not only meet your family’s needs, but to provide the highest return of investment for the project.
If you are considering having your basement finished, give us a call today. We can discuss various options with you and give you an estimate. This will help you determine if you want to move forward with finishing off your basement.
Q: Who is CMH Builders, Inc. ?
A: We are a family owned and operated business serving Central Indiana since 2006 specializing in Finishing and Remodeling Basements. We take great pride in being the #1 basement finishing company in our area.
Q: Who is the contact person during construction?
A: You will be assigned a project manager at the beginning of your project, who will be your point of contact from start to finish. They will make sure you will receive the personal attention your desire.
Q: What is the cost per square foot to finish my basement?
A: There is no easy answer to that question because every basement is unique. The cost to finish your basement will be based on the rooms needed and the amenities you desire. A basement with a wet bar, full bathroom, sauna, fireplace and maple trim will have a different cost than one that does not have those features. Prices can range from $10 to $50 per sq ft, with the majority falling between the $20-$30 range.
Q: Do you provide free estimates?
A: Yes. We do not charge for an estimate. Our project consultant will visit your house to look at your project and sit down with you to discuss all of the available features based on your design. We will then take this information and present you with a full design that is approved by you before completing your detailed estimate. We also offer a no cost follow-up meeting to tour our showroom, discuss the estimate in detail as well as give a 3-D virtual tour of your finished basement.
Q: Why is there a big price difference from different companies?
A: There are many possible reasons for this. Some are not giving you exactly what you’re asking for. They are including the minimum, which will result in a much lower price. Others are giving you lower priced materials and/or quality of workmanship. Other companies also leave out big ticket items like flooring and painting from their bids and leave it up to the homeowner to complete. You have to be specific with what you want. We are very detailed with our proposal. You need to compare “apples to apples”. If there is more than a 10% difference in bids, there is a problem that should be discussed. Remember, quality does cost, but it also pays. We may not always have the lowest price, but will deliver a product of the highest standards at a price that is fair.
Q: How accurate is your estimate?
A: Our price is guaranteed for 30 days, based on your plans and specs. Our proposal is very detailed; you know exactly what you’re getting. Our price only changes if there is a dramatic change in material costs or if there is a change made to the scope of work.
Q: Who designs our basement?
A: We will sit down with you to discuss your ideas, lifestyle, wants, needs, existing floor plan and provide you with our ideas for your finished basement. We will take all that information and put it into our architectural software and help you visualize the finished product with a 3-D virtual walk-thru of your finished basement at our follow-up meeting.
Q: Do you finish everything or hire some sub-contractors?
A: We take care of the entire project, from start to finish. All you have to do is make your selections. We are a full service finished basement company. We complete the vast majority of the project with our own employees and only rely on our sub-contractors for specialty work.
Q: Do you allow clients to perform some of the work?
A: Most of the time, no. A homeowner who wants to perform a certain task or hire a friend or relative MUST perform the task as a licensed/insured contractor. The work must also be completed within our scheduled timeline.
Q: Do you allow clients to provide some of their own finishing materials?
A: Most of the time no. We do allow light and plumbing fixtures. We would have to look at it on a case by case basis.
Q: Do you do other projects in a home, such as remodeling the upper levels?
A: Yes. We do provide remodeling services to the upper level of homes in which we are finishing the basement. We can install new flooring, countertops, plumbing fixtures, cabinets, painting etc. We do not typically provide handyman services.
Q: Do you finish basements in phases?
A: Yes, as long as everything is completed up to a certain point.
Q: Do you install dropped ceilings versus a drywall ceiling?
A: Not usually, but the final decision would be left up to the Homeowner. We do not typically install this type of ceiling. The only advantage is the ability to run wires from room to room. The disadvantages outweigh the advantages, though. Suspended ceilings are unattractive, higher in cost, limit design options, lower ceiling height, sag, discolor over time and lower the resale value of your home.
Q: What cities or areas do you work in?
A: We have extensive experience in finishing basements and service Indianapolis’ surrounding areas including: Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, Zionsville, Noblesville, Brownsburg, Avon, Plainfield, Greenwood and more.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: CMH Builders, Inc. has been in operation since 2006
Q: Are you licensed and insured?
A: Yes. We are a licensed General Contractor in the state of Indiana and carry all necessary insurance.
Q: How many projects have you completed?
A: We finish an average of 55 to 65 basements per year.
Q: What is your warranty?
A: We provide a 2 year warranty on all our work, which we are able to provide because of our limited use of subcontractors. We take great pride in every aspect of your basement finish and stand by our workmanship.
Q: How long will it take to finish my basement?
A: Depending on the size of your project, it will take between 6 and 9 weeks, the average is 8. We will give you a schedule before we start that will describe the daily activities and the completion date. We believe in 100% customer satisfaction. Many contractors start your project and then leave to work on other jobs, but we don’t.
Q: Can I make changes after we’ve started?
A: Yes. Changes can be made as long as it is for something that has not been completed. But remember, certain changes can result in a longer time to finish the project and will involve extra costs. Your project is completely custom, we want you to be happy.
Q: Will the job site be messy?
A: We cannot avoid the fact that a construction project will create a certain amount of dust, noise and inconvenience. We will take measures to reduce these problems by cleaning up every day, and treating your home like it is our own.
Q: Who will be working in my home?
A: Since CMH Builders, Inc completes the vast majority of the basement project with our own employees, you will become familiar with the guys showing up to your home during the project. This adds a familiarity and comfortability aspect to working with CMH Builders. Ultimately we care about the Homeowner being 100% comfortable throughout the entire project.