Possible Surprises and Underwater Stones at Basement Finishing Process


inishing a basement is the wisest decision that you have ever made. Many homeowners like you decide to take advantage of the useless area and turn it into an extension of their liveable space.

Since you will be working with an unfinished space, you will likely encounter surprises and challenges during the renovation process. LevelUp is an experienced basement renovation contractor with more than ten years in the industry. Therefore, we have seen it all. This post shares the possible surprises you can encounter during the finishing process. Once you go through it, you will be prepared for what comes next.

Proper Planning And Layout Approval

Planning the space will require you to work closely with your contractor. However, designing the layout isn’t as easy as it looks. You will need to plan the walls, doors, and breaks in the framing. Don’t forget that each room needs egress windows to comply with the building code.

Other aspects of the planning include the electrical outlets and switches. In addition, you should plan for plumbing if you will install an additional bathroom or a kitchen.

Unplanned Expenses

The finishing process isn’t as straightforward as many might think. Unexpected problems may arise during the project, and they need to be addressed if you wish to proceed. Homeowners should count in 5%-10% extra in their renovation budget to cover unplanned expenses.

Some contractors will take care of the insulation, flooring, framing, drywall, and ceiling, but their services won’t include plumbing and electrical work. Consequently, you will need to hire subcontractors to finish the job. Therefore, clarify with your contractor what is included in the estimates to avoid unplanned expenses.

Material Cost Increases

The pandemic has increased the prices of construction materials, which affected many home projects. According to the StatCan Canadian Construction Index, project costs for residential construction have increased by 20.3% from the third quarter in 2020 to the third quarter in 2021. Price increases will put additional strain on your budget, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Contractor’s Work Delays

Finishing a basement will take from 4 to 8 weeks. However, the exact timeframe of your specific project will depend on various factors such as the complexity, size, and reliability of your contractor.

We have spoken with many homeowners that wanted to cancel the contract with their contractor and find a reliable one to take over the project.Delays on the contractor’s side aren’t a rare practice. Even the best contractors might face a delay due to reasons out of their control. However, a 50%-100% delay of the forceen time isn’t normal.

What can you do to avoid contractor delays?

The contract between you and the contractor will determine actions you can undertake in case of delays. A contract should contain a description of all tasks and deliverables. Include the length of the project in the agreement, breaking it down into a specific deadline for each deliverable.

For example, you can specify a date for completing the insulation and framing. Then, you can discuss the next steps and include a time frame for each step in the process.

If you think you could have any problems with your contractor, keep records of your communication and take photos of the completed work. If you decide to take any legal action in the future, you will have legal proof to support your claims.

Low-quality Materials Usage

Construction materials vary in price, and so does their quality. Shady contractors might try to use low-quality materials to cut down on costs. However, cheap materials are less durable and will fade, break, or chip quickly. Make sure to clarify the construction materials in the contract to avoid the issue of low-quality materials.


Moisture is a hideous problem if not addressed on time. Before you even put the walls up, make sure that you have overcome the problem with moisture. If you don’t, the chances that mould will start to grow on your newly renovated walls are huge.

Bad Insulation

An unfinished basement has no insulation. Therefore, the area will feel cold and might have problems with moisture. Proper insulation will preserve the heat, thus, decreasing your electricity bills. On the other hand, it will prevent condensation and keep humidity under control.

When discussing the finishing process, ask about the insulation material. Expanded foam products are cheap but low quality and won’t hold in the heat.

Your contractor will install rigid foam insulation on the foundation walls and between the main floor beams. Also, they will caulk the seams to prevent heat from escaping through the tiny crevices. In addition, they will install insulation around the hot water pipes to prevent heat loss and condensation.

Lack Of Light

Basements have limited access to natural light, making the space look dull and cramped. To make sure your area feels light and airy:

  1. Use light colours.
  2. Stay away from textured walls or busy patterns.
  3. Provide ambient and task lighting to ensure every corner of the space is well illuminated.

Final Thoughts

The basement finishing process isn’t as smooth as you might expect. To make it straightforward, make sure to work with a reputable contractor. The skilled LevelUp team has already completed many projects with the utmost attention to detail. We will gladly take care of your project and save you time and money. Be sure to contact us now, and we will be happy to help!


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