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New Build - To finish the basement or not?

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  • Dec 9th, 2019 3:54 am
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Deal Guru
Feb 29, 2008
13846 posts
10085 upvotes

New Build - To finish the basement or not?

I can finish a small basement of my new build for about $23K. This includes flooring, a 3 piece bathroom and a small bar with under counter fridge and sink. I do not know the finishes (yes, this is a big factor).

My question is...is it best to let the house settle before doing the basement? Just looking for pros/cons. If I were to get this done on my own, how much would I spend (ballpark?). Area to be finished is 15ftx20ft
27 replies
Deal Addict
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Dec 10, 2008
4806 posts
1336 upvotes
I'd wait

Leaving it unfinished means:

- You can check for cracks in your foundation wall and floor
- You have access to the floor above you if you need to run electrical, ethernet or a water line
- You can store paint, cleaning supplies, and building materials with little regard to damaging finished walls and floors
- What you want to do with the space will most likely change after you move in
Let's hug it out
Deal Fanatic
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Sep 8, 2007
8942 posts
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Way Out of GTA
Because you said finishes are important....it’s impossible to ballpark.

I’d say a big pro is just getting it done and out of the way and will be usable space once you move in. While above me listed unfinished as a pro because you can store paint cans...i would say it’s a con because it can tend to accumulate junk out in the open...like paint cans, etc. If finishing Leaving it as open as possible with some storage areas can be a plus. Closing it in with rooms everywhere less attractive. I’ve found sometimes an unfinished bsmt can actually look smaller than a finished bsmt with everything optimized and open concept.

Also makes a big difference if you plan to use the space...home theatre, office or workout area.
Sr. Member
Oct 21, 2003
612 posts
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Toronto
Curious if this will have any impact on property tax assessments?
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 15, 2007
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Dan325ci wrote: Curious if this will have any impact on property tax assessments?
If it adds value to your home then of course it will
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. - Andre Gide
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2015
6412 posts
2814 upvotes
Canada, Eh!!
Ideally wait a year or two but have seen quite a few developments where new housing comes with fully finished basement.

Research insulation for floor and walls and try to get better then pink fibreglass and uninsulated slab.
.......
July 13, 2017 to October 25, 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime rate next day each time.

2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited and waited to drop its prime rate to include all 3 drops.
Deal Addict
Dec 14, 2011
1598 posts
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London
I’d wait, but see if they will pop the sheets of drywall down there for you!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 25, 2015
1115 posts
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York Region
I would just get it over with and get it finished.
Deal Addict
Feb 11, 2018
1607 posts
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JayLove06 wrote: I can finish a small basement of my new build for about $23K. This includes flooring, a 3 piece bathroom and a small bar with under counter fridge and sink. I do not know the finishes (yes, this is a big factor).

My question is...is it best to let the house settle before doing the basement? Just looking for pros/cons. If I were to get this done on my own, how much would I spend (ballpark?). Area to be finished is 15ftx20ft
You should wait 18 months from the time the cement was poured to give it time to cure properly. Finishing basement will increase property value so municipal tax will go up. Unless you leave the floor as bare concrete.

In this kind of work labor is usually between 60% and 80% of the total cost.
Mistakes are learning opportunities. Not the expression of failure.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9634 posts
5035 upvotes
Paris
Every basement I have been in done by a builder looks ok but always has massive issues with insulation and the like.
Deal Fanatic
Jun 11, 2005
8545 posts
2320 upvotes
Mississauga
JayLove06 wrote: I can finish a small basement of my new build for about $23K. This includes flooring, a 3 piece bathroom and a small bar with under counter fridge and sink. I do not know the finishes (yes, this is a big factor).

My question is...is it best to let the house settle before doing the basement? Just looking for pros/cons. If I were to get this done on my own, how much would I spend (ballpark?). Area to be finished is 15ftx20ft
I was advised to wait a year and let everything settle before doing the basement. My house foundation was pored in January 20 years ago. I didnt even think they could pore cement in January but its allowed. I ended up with a small foundation leak which they drilled and sealed and still sealed 20 years later.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
33294 posts
6985 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
My builder told me to wait five years before finishing the basement.

If I was to finish it earlier, they may void my warranty
Deal Addict
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Mar 30, 2004
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Edmonton
Gee wrote: My builder told me to wait five years before finishing the basement.

If I was to finish it earlier, they may void my warranty
I have never heard of this, it makes little to zero sense. A year, yes - it will allow time for the concrete to completely dry and any construction issues to come to light. Five years? Crazy talk.
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten....
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Jul 4, 2006
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Gee wrote: My builder told me to wait five years before finishing the basement.

If I was to finish it earlier, they may void my warranty
Are you sure the words are right? I don't think it voids your warranty. I think if there's an issue the builder is only responsible for the house in its original condition upon closing and you (and your insurance) are on the hook for any upgrades in the basement.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
33294 posts
6985 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
walleye*guy wrote: I have never heard of this, it makes little to zero sense. A year, yes - it will allow time for the concrete to completely dry and any construction issues to come to light. Five years? Crazy talk.
After two years, there is still a lot of concrete dust in my basement.

poorwingman wrote: Are you sure the words are right? I don't think it voids your warranty. I think if there's an issue the builder is only responsible for the house in its original condition upon closing and you (and your insurance) are on the hook for any upgrades in the basement.
I think he has it written in my Tarion warranty. I have to look at it again. Regardless, I am house poor, couldn’t afford to do anything right now anyways
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Oct 6, 2010
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No
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0-joke
10-no joke

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Deal Addict
Nov 30, 2011
1022 posts
400 upvotes
GTA
I waited 18 months to finish the basement. My (Ontario) new build contract said I had to wait 12 months. If there were any issues in the first12 months and the basement had been finished, the builder would rip out anything they needed to, to fix the issue, and would not put it back - they would also charge for the demo.
My basement finished was about 600 sq ft. I spent about 22K for materials and having a contractor do the framing and a plumber do the rough-ins. I did everything else myself. All told, I figure I put over 500 hours into this project. We ended up selling shortly after the basement was done and I estimate the basement added about 50K in value to the house, based on comparables selling without finished basement. Finishes were not super high-end but they were quality. I used the time beforehand to shop and picked up a lot of stuff on sale.
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Banned
Nov 17, 2014
942 posts
752 upvotes
Ontario
Looks awesome. One question though, did you leave any space for storage? My basement is over 2/3s finished and sometimes I wish there was more dedicated storage space. Something to consider for those who are finishing their basement.
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Mar 30, 2004
2268 posts
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Edmonton
Gee wrote: After two years, there is still a lot of concrete dust in my basement
If your concrete hasn’t been sealed, you will get dust in the basement. The dust is a result of the concrete being dry. After the concrete has dried - max 1 year, I’d seal the floor and walls. Sealing the concrete will take stop the dust, mitigate any radon penetration, add a bit of waterproofing and give you a more useful space.
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten....
Deal Addict
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Dec 29, 2008
3545 posts
881 upvotes
Definitely wait at least a year, within the first year we found 3 cracks in the foundation. Although they could have been easily spotted way earlier if the insulation wasn't in the way.

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