DIY Basement Finishing vs. Professional Contractors

You are finally ready to get started on finishing your basement. You are either a newer homeowner or a more seasoned homeowner that is just determined to make that next step. Are you fed up with the higher energy costs and the unpleasant look of your basement? Then, it’s time to get to work! How are you going to go about it? You are at the point of considering DIY basement finishing vs. hiring a professional contractor.

The first thing you need to decide is if you need a contractor for your basement. This is a decision made on a case-by-case basis. Each homeowner is going to have different resources at their disposal. How you decide to utilize those resources is a personal preference. For example, if you are related to a carpenter, you could lean on that person more and feel more confident in choosing to go DIY. However, if you are entirely new to the idea of basement remodeling, a trusted contractor is going to be your best option.

Since the upswing of platforms such as YouTube, Etsy, and many other blogs, the idea of DIY (doing it yourself) is becoming more appealing for the average person more and more.

Pros to DIY Basement Finishing

1. Cheaper Upfront Costs

Going DIY eliminates all labor and time costs because YOU are the one putting in the time and labor. And since you’re the one liable for the building materials, you may be able to invest a little more into your materials, such as that shiny granite countertop, as opposed to the less expensive option.

2. Involvement of friends and family

Want to spend some more time with your family? Ask them to join in on finishing your basement! You can be your contractor and head up the project, but things often work better when more hands are available for the heavy lifting. We STRONGLY advise caution when tiny hands (children) are involved. Renovating a home essentially is creating a construction site. Safety is mandatory, and children should not be around such hazardous materials, tools, or situations.

3. Sense of pride

After your finished basement is complete, you can take a step back and smile to yourself at a job-well-done. You did it! You have transformed your old Michigan basement into a functioning space for your entire family, and it will be a bonus if you decide to sell at a later date.

Cons to DIY Basement Finishing

1. Time management issues

While it is great to do projects on your own, the time you take to learn to do a task and work on your renovations and fix whatever mistakes you are making as you go will add time to your project. This isn’t a problem in some cases, but if you are working under a time crunch, calling in a professional contractor to finish your basement would be a good idea.

2. The pressure is on

Being the general contractor comes with power and responsibilities. You are responsible for making all of the decisions and executing all of those decisions. If you have people helping you, you are responsible for them as well. Whether it is a monetary contribution or just a pack of beer, it is essential to compensate everyone for their hard work.

3. Unexpected costs

At the beginning of your renovations, you will do your best to make a list of all of the things you need to do. Without the input of a professional, things can fall through the cracks. Forgotten permits, unforeseen safety measures, and cutting corners are all problems of a DIY project. All of these things can cost more money at a later date than you budgeted.

Pros to Hiring a Basement Finishing Contractor

1. Hands-off

When it comes to working with a professional, you have the easy job of communicating your vision and detailing your budget and allowing your contractor to do the rest. You don’t have to manage the people, the materials, or even the safety measures. You get to relax and watch as your vision comes to life.

2. Safety

Because you are working with a professional who has done this job numerous times, safety comes second nature. They will let you know when it is safe to take a look and bring the family in to celebrate each milestone. They will also let you know what to look out for and when to steer clear of the area. They will also be responsible for and protect their employees without question.

3. Speed of renovation

Again, professional contractors have done this job many, many times. They have a great concept of time management and professionalism. If a job goes over time, they will tell you in advance. Otherwise, they will finish on time or earlier. They will also finish faster than you could have done on your own. They have an entire career of training for this job. Their expertise alone is worth the cost.

Cons to Hiring a Professional Basement Finishing Contractor

1. Costs

Most likely, you will spend more money with a professional contractor than going DIY. There isn’t a way around that. People are going to be putting in time and labor for your renovation. They should get paid, rightfully so. You are paying for expertise, minimal mistakes, and professionalism that is not in the same category as your “Uncle Joe” that works for a cold beverage. (Pro tip: Communication and a great attitude could go a long way toward negotiation for upfront costs.)

2. Bad reviews

Unfortunately, some people market themselves as reliable contractors without the experience or the expertise to match. That is why it is essential to interview multiple contractors and look at testimonials. Also, please pay attention to the estimates given and hold him or her to that.

Which one should I choose?

You may be screaming at the screen and asking, “WHICH IS THE BETTER OPTION?!?!” DIY is not the best option for everyone. Cheaper costs, in the beginning, are significant, and your bank account will breathe a sigh of relief. However, some costs could come up later to change all of that.

For example, a contractor will know all of the necessary permits from the city needed to keep everything legal with your renovation. If you start renovating without these permits, your project will have to stop; you’ll need to pay a fine and have to buy the permits anyway. These issues could cost thousands of dollars and precious time on your renovation.

So what do you do – DIY or Hire a professional?

Choosing DIY basement finishing vs. professional contractor is based on your individual or family situation. Finished Basement Plus would be happy to talk with you about this and help you make the best decision for your project. Contact us at Finished Basement Plus today!

Get a Quote