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Old 11-30-2009, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Lancaster County, PA
1,741 posts, read 4,136,792 times
Reputation: 831

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Can anyone recommend a contractor in the Lancaster County area that finishes basements? It looks like my mother in law will be moving in with us soon, and I'd like some opinions from those of you who have used general contractors in the past.

Thanks.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Lancaster County, PA
1,741 posts, read 4,136,792 times
Reputation: 831
Default Follow up request

If no one can recommend a contractor can someone suggest a website where I can find unbias ratings of contractors in the area?
Thanks.
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:57 AM
 
175 posts, read 565,919 times
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Small contractors:
Middle Creek Builders
Manheim

Fairview Builders
Lebanon

M & M Construction
Denver

Large contractors:
EG Stoltzfus Homes
Lancaster

We have worked with all of the above and we would have a hard time making a choice if doing another project. Get estimates and talk with each builder so you can get a feel with who you would want to work with.

Who ever you decide to go with, check out the state's home improvement contractor list before making a choice.
Home Improvement Contractor Search
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Hooterville PA
712 posts, read 1,845,166 times
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I would buy the Mike Holmes books and read and do a lot of searching before I hired the first contractor I found.

There are many issues you have to look at before trying to convert the basement into a apartment. HVAC, electrical, plumbing, structural etc..

Here is my opinion, when a contractor builds a home, no thought is made of trying to make the basement into a liveable space until the homeowner comes along and decides that they need more room.

Depending on how the house is plumbed, you sometimes run into issues with how the french drains is installed and water in the basement. How big the furnace is - and if it can heat the extra rooms you are building.

How big the windows are in the basement and if you can escape in the case of a fire. Even if it has outside door / doors. How easy is it to get into and out of the basement.

Some builders puts their plumbing through the wall, while others puts their drains through the footer. Are you going to have to raise the floor or are you going to have to jack hammer the floor if it is cement to move the septic lines deeper under ground - to establish drains and to build a bathroom. It isn't just cut the lines and attach new lines.

Structural - is there supports that holds up steel beams that supports the first floor? Will they have to be moved?

Wiring, in some cases, building codes prohibit enclosing the ceiling if there is junction points in the ceilings.

Moisture, will they have to dig up the foundation and water proof the foundation before they even start inside construction.

Having to build walls inside of the cinder block walls, having to reroute wires and plumbing?

In a effort to save money, how much money are you willing to spend to build a apartment in your basement? You might get into as much as $60,000 just to improve the basement to make it liveable.

I have 8 years of heavy construction experience and I can tell you that you are there and I am here and there is no way for a person to give you good advice without first seeing the situation.

One word of advice is to go and look at jobs that contractors said they did and ask the homeowners how satisfied they are with the work the contractor did. New jobs - are easy to hide mistakes. In a couple of years, when there is a little problem that then becomes a bigger problem, you don't want to have to spend the money twice to fix what should have been fixed the first time.

A lot of contractors are now into the sub contractor game, where they bid the job and then sub the work out to others who are not as qualified as the contractor - to save a couple of dollars. I have a cousin with a 5 year old house who has been telling me horror stories of leaks in the plastic pipes where the sub contractor did not use a primer and the joints fell apart inside of the walls and she had to replace insulation, drywall, plumbing, studding, - all because the job was done wrong. Or the garage doors that the weather stripping fell apart and the replacement parts cost as much as the door did 6 years ago.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:46 PM
 
82 posts, read 137,157 times
Reputation: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by lititzman2003 View Post
Can anyone recommend a contractor in the Lancaster County area that finishes basements? It looks like my mother in law will be moving in with us soon, and I'd like some opinions from those of you who have used general contractors in the past.

Thanks.
also check with the local code enforcer to see if you can put an apartment in the basement .
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:00 AM
 
Location: Lancaster County, PA
1,741 posts, read 4,136,792 times
Reputation: 831
Thanks for the advice. I did contact four contractors and I've gotten one estimate so far. I did check with the township, and the only requirement was to install an alternate route out of the basement, which I did know about.
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