Here's a basement finishing story from Brandon. Brandon lives near Louisville Kentucky and finished his own basement. I don't know how he got by without it but you won't believe the one tool he DIDN'T have!
Name and General Location:
Brandon, near Louisville, KY
Basement Size :
About 700 sf
Foyer, Family, Laundry, Half Bath
What Phases Did You Do Yourself?
Framing, Drywall hang (finisher re-hung it since I did such bad job), Tiling, Plumbing, Paint, Trim
Q: What is your normal day job?
Supply Chain Manager
Q; What type of previous DIY experience did you have?
Some, not a lot. Hang blinds, plant trees, laminate wood flooring
Q: How much did it cost you to finish your basement yourself?:
Q: How much value do you think you added to your home:
Sold house for $15,000 more than comparable homes w/o finished basement
Q: What made you want to start finishing your own basement?
Was generally underwhelmed with day to day life. Had no kids yet, in grad school, newly weds with some extra cash so needed something to do. Once I set my mind on something I'm pretty maniacal until it's done. Need to work on that actually.
Q: When did you feel like, yes, I'm actually going to do this?
During framing, when I learned how to do soffits. That was my confidence builder.
Q: What was your favorite tool?
Father in law.
Q: Man Up! Which part of finishing your basement made you feel like "dang, I'm feeling kinda manly right now" ?
I looked at my wife, and said, "I don't always use tools, but when I do, I use them to finish my own basement."
Just Doing It
Q: Tell us about wood
You need more than you think! Used a circular saw through the whole project, never even thought to use a miter. Must, must get a miter saw folks.
(This, to me, is somwhat amazing. No miter saw? Seriously? This is on par with those penguins that walk like 10 miles to lay eggs. They don't even have real feet! - Jason)
Q: What was the hardest thing to learn (for you) about finishing a basement?
Patience to think it through and do it right the first time, just like Mike Holmes says! Still working on this one, hope to change during my next basement project.
Q: Did you do your own electrical for your basement?
Nope, I didn't trust myself. Knowing what I know now, from Jason, I will next time around.
Q:Did you do your own drywall or hire someone? How did that go?
I hung the walls, then hired a guy to hang the ceilings and tape, mud, sand it all. I didn't get joints right and the screws were set too far in, so he had to re-do a lot of that. He worked cheap though, should have just paid from the start.
Q: How long would you say it took you? When did you typically work?
A few months, on weekends and late nights.
Q: Describe what it feels like to accomplish a project like this ?
Great. People were impressed and we had a nice extra area to watch Lost and play Wii.
Q: Which room in your basement are you most proud of?
Family room with surround sound and can lights. Picked a great burnt orange color and some awesome carpet.
Q: Who was most surprised that you had tackled something like this?
Probably my mom. She knew I didn't grow up around handy men stuff or construction, so it was a shock that I just picked up tools and got after it.
Q: Is there anyone you want to thank for helping your along ? Family / friends?
My wife. Not sure what she was doing every night, upstairs, but it must have been lonely... At least I hope it was lonely. And my father in law was a big help with knowledge and extra set of hands.
Encouragement for Others
Q: What would you say to a complete stranger who was thinking of finishing their basement on their own?
Just Do It! Not rocket science, not a life in your hands. Just some wood, some tools, and you. Take your time, learn what you need to know, and carry on.
Thank you Brandon! Great job. I'm starting to realize that I went over board on my tool buying. You did it without a mitre saw. Bob from Virginia had no nail gun, just a hammer.
If you've finished your basement I'd really like to share your story on this blog. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
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Cheers - Jason