How long to wait before finishing basement on new build?

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Posted by: from Windsor
3/13/2015 at 5:31:49 AM

Hi there,

Is it true that you have to wait few months or years before finishing your basement once the house is just built?

I heard that and they said it is because the house can have structure problems so you need to wait at least one year to see if there is any problems otherwise if you hire a contractor to do the job you will not be covered whether a new problem emerge on your basement.

Second question, can I simultaneously have a new home build by a builder and have a basement finished and a kitchen improved by a contractor?

Is it more affordable than to get all the job done by the builder? Because some upgrade they offer are not worthy and even so it seems to be like the price is overcharged to have a kitchen that suits my need as the one they are building is just a basic.


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Date/Time3/13/2015 at 9:08:06 AM


Your new home comes with a 7 year tarion warranty. If your worried about the home having structural problems then you haven't hired the right builder to construct it. When we build homes we finish the basements all the time right away. When new homes are built you should assume that nothing should go wrong, if it does its the builders responsibility to repair it and the damage done to the finished space.

Rob abbott

Village builders

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Greg from McHaleReno in Oshawa
Date/Time3/13/2015 at 9:23:15 AM

Good questions, many likely share your thoughts.

Having the Builder finish your basement is convenient in that it will be finished when you move in. But it will cost far more than doing it after you move in. Builders generally push trades people to the lowest price possible and many trades do not even get paid on a timely basis or sometimes at all. So when features are added trades charge a different price and the builder usually adds from 40 to 100% markup on the job. The Builder must provide a warranty for all work completed on the home under the Tarion program.

It is unlikely any Builder will allow you to engage another contractor to perform this type of work while the home is being built. Sometimes for small things they are accommodating, like installing speaker wire and network cables. Sometimes even flooring. Your lawyer would advise you against doing work on a property that you do not own, things happen and what happens if you do not take possession? Who owns the improvements?

As for waiting, any structural problems encountered within 2 years are covered by the Tarion Warranty program and the Builder must repair. However he is not responsible for repairing the improvement you may have completed.

If for example you had a water leak in the foundation and the basement is finished. The builder would repair the leak but not the damage cause. However your home insurance policy would likely pay the cost of repairs.

I would suggest to wait for 3 - 6 months away to give the foundation time to dry and allow for any settling. A home owner can experience problems with the flooring on the main level having access to this from the basement is helpful in repairing.

I am a Certified Home Inspector and I see a lot of issues with new homes. I would recommend having it inspected within your 1st 30 days to see what concerns are present.

It is important to have all new homes inspected by a qualified home inspector.

I have helped people to have floors, stair cases replaced issues with mold. I even had a couple of clients have their whole Master bath completely rebuilt. Exterior drainage is another area of concern and I have helped people to solve serious problems here. For the cost of an inspection one client received a $90,000 benefit because the builder had to completely re grade the whole lot. Water was entering the basement.

I hope this helps.

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Greg from McHaleReno in Oshawa
Date/Time3/13/2015 at 9:42:03 AM

To clarify, Tarion Warranty

The Tarion Warranty program is basically an insurance policy for Builders to provide the same coverage to all purchasers in Ontario. While the program is a great start in providing purchaser protection. some provinces do not have this type of program.

However, Tarion does not cover all aspects of problems home owners may experience. There are many frustrated home owners in Ontario that have seen their dream vanish because of the lack of support within the program.

You should read what the program offers at Tarion's site

To believe you will have no problems getting a builder to repair defects is an unwise expectation in Ontario. Many Builders are very good, but as in life there are many who will drag their feet and refuse. The Tarion process is long to secure satisfaction and painful to invoke.

it is true Tarion offers a 7 year warranty. the first 2 years cover most issues. After this it only covers major structural failures. Like a wall collapsing. It does not cover foundation water leaks after 2 years.

A Builder can offer you a cash settlement for any problems you experience and Tarion will accept this. they use a "book value" table to determine charges. This may not match up to actual costs of having a contractor repair.

And just because the Builder is a large corporation one should not assume they offer a better product or are any easier to deal with on warranty claims. Investigation is key to protecting the biggest investment you will make in a life time.

it is best to be informed.

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Date/Time3/13/2015 at 11:09:45 AM

You do not have to wait at all to finish your basement. The only reason you should wait is if there is a problem down the road that the builder has to rip out your basement to fix it. He WILL NOT put the basement back the way it was. They do not take any responsibility for any improvements that you make or that are in there way. So its up to you if you want to take that risk and finish your basement.

Most builders will not let you work on the house until you have taken possession. You'll have to wait to get any improvements done on the house untill you take possession of it.

As far as cost, it will always be cheaper to hire your own contractor to redo the kitchen and basement. The quality of a builders upgrade is basic garbage and they charge a small fortune for it. I've seen builders try to charge $2500 to put a door to the garage, $17 sqft for hardwood and tens of thousands for kitchen cabinet upgrades (which is basically just a different door finish that isn't completely ugly).

Most times I can do improvements for less money and much better quality after the house is built, rather than what builders try to charge. You will get higher quality materials, installation and price from an independant contractor, just make sure to do your reasearch on the contractor that you hire.

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Date/Time3/13/2015 at 6:37:48 PM


Something that wasn't clarified with your question was if you were building a track built home (sub division) or a custom home. If you are building a custom home then the custom home builder should finish the basement. Don't let some renovator who is working illegally tell you they can do it cheaper. custom home builders build with the best practise and best quality not what is the cheapest price.

When it comes to home building and finishing you get what you pay for, cheaper is usually because it's finished poorly with poor products.

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Date/Time3/16/2015 at 12:39:04 PM

You do not have to wait to finish a basement, however the builders cost is much more higher than hiring a basement contractor in a later time.

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David in Windsor
Date/Time8/20/2015 at 4:25:18 PM

Thank you all for your feedbacks.

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Nick in Brampton
Date/Time11/30/2015 at 11:06:29 AM

Hi David,

Did you went ahead with the basement ?

I am in the same boat and considering to finish the basement of my brand new home.

My main concern is how would I know about cracks in floor and walls once it is finished.



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