FAQ

Q. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FINISH A BASEMENT?

Our basements range from $40 to $80± per square foot, although square footage is not the only factor in the calculations. Linear footage of interior walls, customization, decorative elements, bathrooms, bars, existing location of pipes, vents, and sprinkler system and modification required thereof, all factor into the final price per square foot. There is no magic formula calculated merely by square footage. Decades of experience renovating & finishing basements and meeting the challenges helps us to give a fair and reasonable price, for an agreed upon scope of work, that won’t go up as we build it.

Q. Can I do it myself? Possibly, but should you?

Even the handiest homeowner is easily overwhelmed by a monstrous basement and the considerable amount of time it requires to transform it into livable space. Do you know the local and national building codes and have the proper tools and expertise required to deal with the mechanical and structural challenges that lurk beneath your home? Considering the size of the project and the impact it has on your home as a whole, it is a risky investment of time and money, because the end result may not merely disappoint, but actually be unsafe, unhealthy, and devalue your home. We guarantee our workmanship and a flawless finish. We want your basement to shine! It's quite hard for an untrained homeowner to obtain the level of finish we guarantee. 

Q. Why is this so expensive? 

Labor expenses to design, frame, fire stop/draft stop, wire, insulate, drywall, hang doors, and trim out the job make up most of the cost. Contrary to a layman’s beliefs, it’s not just simply “throwing up drywall.” (Or at least it shouldn’t be!) EBCON carries $300,000 in general liability insurance. We only use subcontractors who also are adequately insured, highly skilled, and properly licensed. We pull permits for all of our work and build to or exceed Building Code Requirements. It costs more to run a legitimate business, and frankly, not all contractors go that extra mile. We think this is important to protect ourselves, our customers, and the building industry. 

Q. How can I cut costs in finishing my basement? 

We offer discounts when neighbors (same neighborhood) are willing to have their basements finished simultaneously. The biggest way to keep cost down is to leave a generous portion of your basement unfinished. It’s tempting to sometimes double your living space, but you could probably meet your expansion needs without breaking the bank. Adding interior walls, bars, and plumbing increases the labor immensely, and this is where most of your money goes. Keep a lid on customization. Be creative with furnishings and decorations so that you can achieve division within a large space. Drapery, screens, tall plants and creative furniture placement all cost less than building walls, that require additional lighting, heating, ventilation, sprinkler mods, electric, etc. 

Q. Shouldn’t I install a drop ceiling in case I need to access my ducts, wires, or pipes? 

Only if you prefer the look of a drop ceiling over drywall. There is no evidence to show that the mechanicals within your basement ceiling fail more often than those running throughout the rest of your home; therefore, we do not recommend installing a drop ceiling. A skilled tradesman can easily access the pipes, wires, and ducts within every ceiling and wall throughout your home, and simply repair the drywall afterwards. Don’t cheapen your basement with an unmatching and unattractive material choice based on an unfounded fear; it really affects the overall look and level of the basement finish. 

Q. How do you hide HVAC ductwork, drain pipes, wiring, etc.?

A good basement design will turn these “problems” into features. Rather than building tightly around structural and mechanical elements and telegraphing what is hidden underneath, innovative designers employ beautiful architectural elements that both hide the “problem” and create a bold and interesting focal point in the room. 

Q. How do we heat or air condition the basement? 

We almost always tie into the existing HVAC system. Because the exterior walls below grade will stay at an ambient temperature of 55 degrees year-round, cooling is not an issue and heat loss is minimized. Air conditioning is usually not necessary to cool the new space, but rather it provides much-needed air exchange, removes moist air from the room, and circulates fresh air into the space. We recommend you use your air conditioning system on the “on” setting, as opposed to the “auto” setting. Code requires you heat your basement, but a basement also has less of a “heat loss” effect when compared to exterior, above-grade walls. We will force some warm air from the HVAC system down into the new space each time the first floor thermostat calls for heat. We've completed many "Manual J Heat Load" Anaylses over the years and none have shown the need for an auxiliary heat source beyond the ability of the existing HVAC system. 

Q. What are our lighting choices? 

Typically, recessed ceiling lights (“cans”) are advised for general lighting, with wall sconces and table lamps adding style and additional task lighting. Today these recessed ceiling fixtures are always fitted with modern LED "bulbs." Enlarged egress windows provide natural light. If additional lighting is desired, adding up-lighting can create the illusion of a higher ceiling, providing an extra layer of light within the basement level. Creative use of mirrors also multiplies the effects of lighting, and can be placed in otherwise dim areas. 

Q. What is the most important phase of finishing my basement? 

The design is most important -- it dictates what the finished product will be. Minimal thought during design leaves even a well-built basement looking lackluster. Compelling design, along with meticulous craftsmanship, yields spectacular results. 

Q. Do you repair water damaged basements? 

We do not. A wet or even damp basement can be hazardous to your health and is not a candidate for finishing until the problem is completely resolved. Best practice is to resolve the source of the issue rather than deal with it through waterproofing, mechanical removal, or dehumidification. Contacting a water resolution specialist is recommended. After the correction is made, we suggest you live through a couple major storms and change of seasons to be sure you’re 100% dry before you invest in finishing your basement.

Q. How can I fix my wet basement? 

The usual culprit is too much ground water that isn’t properly diverted. Check for clogged gutters and grading that directs water towards your foundation walls instead of draining it a safe distance from your home. If you can’t correct a water situation by redirecting ground water, you may need to install a sump pump or repair cracks in your foundation walls. 

Q. How do I avoid water damage to my basement during storms? 

Most basements flood during a power outage. A water-pressure powered backup pump or generator to power your primary sump pump will keep you dry during a power-outage. Remember that much or all of your basement flooding may be due to improper ground water management. Fixing the source of these problems may solve your water issues completely. 

Q. What is egress, and does it apply to me? 

All finished/habitable basements must have more than one way out in case of fire or emergency. An egress door or window must provide at least 5.7 square feet of net clear opening, per International Residential Code. In the case of adding a basement bedroom, the second means of egress must be within the bedroom. Townships will either require egress or be satisfied with a basement sprinkler system. EBCON will check with your Township and comply with their Local Building Code. Proper egress will also provide access for a fireman or other emergency personnel to enter your finished basement to save your life.

Q. How long does it take to finish a basement? 

Depending on the size and the complexity of the job, it can range from four to twelve weeks, sometimes a few weeks longer. EBCON EXECUTES EVERY TIME!

Q. Will it make my house dirty during construction? 

Certainly to some degree.. Expect your work site to be broom-cleaned daily and left in an orderly fashion. The basement can be dusty during the drywall sanding phase. We recommend you keep the heat or air conditioning off during the day that the drywallers are sanding so the drywall dust isn’t circulated throughout the home, and let the dust settle before turning the HVAC system back on. Upon completion of your basement, change the air filters within your HVAC system. That being said, we have a reputation of being about as neat and organized as you could ever expect a construction site to be. It is natural for us to be that way and the impact on your space will be minimized because of this natural inclination.

Q. Do you use subcontractors? 

Sometimes, but don’t be afraid of our subcontractors! The plumber we hire to do our jobs has been with us for over 10 years. He is respectful, honest, and does excellent work. This father/son team is licensed and insured. We also engage professional, licensed, insured, drywallers who provide the highest quality job available. We have used this drywall company since 2008. EBCON oversees and is accountable for all the work done by our plumber and drywall subs. We can also have an incredible painter and flooring installers available– again, people we’ve had relationships with for many years, whose work meets our high standards, with the proper licensing and insurance to protect us, and you. 

Q. Can I trust this guy? 

Well, you’re too polite to say it, but you’re thinking it. (if you're not, you should be) This is the most important decision a homeowner is faced with. Google EBCON Services, Inc. and see if you can find any derogatory comments regarding us or our work. Almost 23 years in business and not 1 (one) negative comment. We always finish our agreed upon scope of work. Every single job. every single time for 22 years and counting!

When meeting with a contractor, do you feel comfortable talking to him? Would you feel comfortable with him in your home for a few months? Are you comfortable with him being in close proximity to your children? Do you find him easy to share ideas with? Does he have significant experience specifically finishing basements? Are the things that are important to you, things that he also feels are important? (Quality vs. Cost) Does he give a guarantee?

Always ask for references, and call them. Compare apples to apples. Some contracting companies will advertise a finished basement at a remarkably low price, but what’s included in that price does not even meet local township building codes. Their final price, when calculated with Code-required additions and your desired features, is usually much higher than the quoted price. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. The lowest price certainly does not equal the best job. “You get what you pay for” applies in contracting. Deciding on your contractor based on price alone is a mistake.

Will he finish the job? EBCON EXECUTES EVERY TIME!

Q. What local zip codes do you service?

Ambler

19002

Blue Bell

19422

Broad Axe

19002

Buckingham

18902, 18922, 18928, 18931,18946, 18912, 18925, 18929, 18938, 18980

Center

19422

Square

Chalfont

18914

Churchville

18966

Doylestown

18901

Dresher

19025

Dublin

18917

Fort

19034

Washington

Franconia

18918, 18924, 18964, 18969, 19438

Furlong

18925

Harleysville

19438

Hartsville

18974

Hatboro

19040

Hatfield

19440

Holicong

18902

Horsham

19044

Ivyland

18974

Jamison

18929

Kulpsville

19438, 19443, 19446

Lahaska

18938

Lansdale

19446

Lower Gwynedd

19002

Maple Glen

19002

Mechanicsville

18934

Montgomeryville

18936, 19446, 19454, 19455

New Britain

18901

New Hope

18938

North Wales

19454

Perkasie

18944

Pineville

18938

Plumsteadville

18902, 18916, 18923, 18926,18933, 18938, 18947, 18949

Prospectville 1

19002

Richboro

18954

Royersford

19468

Sellersville

18960

Skippack

19474

Solebury

18938

Souderton

18964

Spring House

19002, 19047

Telford

18969

Upper Dublin

19001, 19002, 19025, 19034, 19038, 19075, 19090

Upper Gwynedd

19446

Warminster

18974

Warrington

18976

Warwick

18974

Worcester

19403, 19423, 19426, 19446, 19490