Starting basement finishing process-???

apdnjJune 10, 2012

I live in south NJ and want to finish my basement by hiring various contractors, one at a time as financing allows. I don't care if it takes 5 years to finish I just want a building plan and design help. I know I want a bar, tv area, game area, bathroom, storage, I just don't have the design and placement expertise.

What is step 1? Architect? most basement finishers will design but of course want to do the work. This is understandable but I want to pay as I go and not finance the entire job at one time.

Any help on options would be appreciated greatly. I am in ocean county NJ.

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Most basements are pretty straightforward. But if you're not confident or decisive enough to decide on your own, look for a designer who can not only get the spaces right, but will provide a permit ready plan. Of course, if you're planning this over a five-year period, there may well be changed requirements you'll have to meet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Building Science Corp. on Renovating Your Basement

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 2:12PM
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I recommend that you draw a rough schematic of your ideas as a guide for a designer. All you need is graph paper, pencil and ruler. Indicate the exterior walls, permanent fixtures like furnace and any support columns. Place masking tape on the floor to imagine space for rooms/build items.

This will give you confidence to discuss your space with a designer. Pay for the plan(s) so you can phase the build.

If you follow the link on My Page, I have posted the plan of our basement. It was entirely DIY over 5 winters.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 3:47PM
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Thanks for advice guys.

Fnm, there is no link on your page...unless I missed it.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 9:23PM
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I didn't know it was removed and we are traveling so I am unable to copy the link onto a post. Try:

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Fnm, thank you. Looks great, nice job.

Your plan looks great, is there helpful software to aid in that?

Worthy, should I look for a basement designer or is that an architect?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 11:58AM
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Unless you're emulating the billionaire Ecclestone sisters--building full-scale nightclubs in their mansions' basements--I think it's overkill to use an architect.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 3:28PM
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apdnj - Thanks, hope some ideas will be helpful.

I designed ours years ago with a graphics software loaded on the computer I used then. There are floor planning programs available for modest investment but I haven't used one to offer a recommendation.

My earlier suggestion to begin with graph paper, record dimensions and get a scale layout of the space would, in my opinion, be the place to begin. Then you have that necessary information to pass along to a planner should you enguage one.

I will say I gained a respect for space planners while designing ours because it was necessary that I go measure sizes of things and make certain items would fit. With their experience, knowledge is at hand. For example, how much area is necessary for playing pool? Or, how much space does a bathroom require? But, I can definitely say I did it myself. You can do that too since time is not pressing.

Good luck, come back with questions.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 10:33PM
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