FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions). In an attempt to save us both time, I’ve made this page which is an ongoing task to try at best to answer questions that are asked of me all the time! New answers to questions will be added here as sort of a knowledge base as well.

  • How can you design my project without being there? As you may have also read on either my web sites, I am very gifted at this, a natural per say and I just comprehend this extremely well. In addition to my design experience, I did the physical construction for over 35 years. After mastering all the trades pretty much, designing basements (over 2000 of them) and or any home improvement project would make anyone an expert pretty much; do you agree? I was also a certified kitchen designer many years ago with hundreds of beautiful kitchens, baths and even large additions I designed and even built professionally if you do not mind me bragging here a bit. So besides my love to design using what seems to be a natural gift to create and visualize things, standing in your basement apparently is just not necessary any longer; especially once I have enough digital photos to review which is mandatory as you can imagine. Once you send all information I need, I can design for you professionally, even though email. You can be directed on how to receive a list of OVER 250 references you can call once you  contact me and or email me and these happy clients will tell you not only how well I do this but  just how easy I do this and how pleased they were with my design process through email. Also just read these testimonies at this link; HOUZZ
  • How do I take photos so you can see everything in my space well? I will need photos showing across the ceilings better since I’m not in your basement and need to see everything in the ceilings more so than I need to see what’s on the floor and merely take these with your back to each wall per 15 foot section trying to show as far across the ceilings as possible in landscape (wide format). I’m not really interested in what’s on the floors unless there’s a drain or other plumbing I need to see but note that close-ups are confusing for me without the same shot far away so I know where it’s taken from and where the photos of objects close-up is located in conjunction with your basement. Normally 12-18 photos will due and I’ll let you know if I need certain ones taken if I can’t see something on any future revisions sent to you. Go to this link and read more; Taking Photos and Sending
  • Will I get to see what the design interior is looking like as you design it? Yes, as I have mentioned this at this link; http://basementdesigner.com/basement_design_in_3d/  I can do a great concept with as many different layouts you wish provided I don’t add the ceiling and lighting details until you pick one first. It’s that easy and if you provide furniture sizes, I can put CAD objects in place to show how the space is being used well. As you may know, I provide 3D views of the interior so you can see what it’s looking like progressively.  Yes, my program can do this and do note; you’ll end up with a full scaled plan ready to permit with all the electrical to code and you can build it right the first time without rework.
  • I have a builders house plan/blueprint of the basement on large paper, is this good enough to use for the design? If you sent me a builders plan that you made into a digital photo; I can use this provided I can see all the dimensions clearly but it’s been my experience that 99% of all plans I see are not what’s really there as builders make many adjustments to building the home to either fit the lot or downsize the square footage some for many reasons and or a change order requested something be added or enlarged. So it’s in your best interest to check all of the dimensions at some point before I go forward with a design but I can use this for just doing the free design quote.
  • I have a blanket wrap insulation on most of my perimeter walls, can I measure to this material for all dimensions you requested? If your basement has a blanket wrap insulation; in order for the design to come out right, it’s important that all dimensions sent to me are from concrete walls and or framed walls. You can lift the blanket at the bottom and measure along the floor for anything I need. In many cases where you have lots of things in the way and need to move them or measure above them, using a step later and a helper, you can measure from the top of the walls to anything by lifted and or moving the blanket wrap aside. I’ll allow for the space of this between the concrete and or framed walls on your design.  
  • How long can it take for you to provide a finished scaled plan for me to get a permit with, get estimates from and to build from?  Most plans take a week to three weeks or with some clients even months for delivery based on your decision making, response time and having the correct measurements and photos. Basement are not only very complicated but this is a big improvement to your home which is a costly! You may want to take your time designing this to not only have it look the way you want but to work with your budget. Think about this too; this is the best way to get an apples to apples bids and to have it turn out the way it should. Imagine giving the framing contractor a 3D color view so they know just how you want it to look. All plans are done to the latest IRC codes with great detail explaining all notes clearly so everyone involved understands them.
  • I’ve never used a measuring device before, can I really do this myself and provide you with the right dimensions? Yes, anyone can do this and always remember  The old carpenters saying still works, “measure twice and cut once”. I’ve worked with beginner’s for years and my proven protocol works as I have my methods for getting the corrected information from you progressively. See this link for more information; http://basementdesigner.com/basement_design_cost_and_how_it_works/
  • How soon should I start this design process? It’s not good to rush a design although I can do a design in as little as a week; you should allow at least a month or longer and get me the required information which I’ll outline better once you first contact me. I will always respect your concern to delay this project but I wanted to let you know that the design process is only to help prepare you better when you are ready to build the space out. I found that more than 70% of my clients take over 3 months to just work with me on a design to be sure it’s the way they want it. Then the design is perfect allowing me more time to think, create and plan the space out better. If you’re seriously going to do the basement someday, plan it now so you can also get apples to apples bids and know your budget is set. I’m known to design basements to meet any budget as well if that helps. My motto has always been “It’s all in the plan” and you won’t regret getting it planned and well thought out early.
  • How do I open your PDF files that you have here on your site and or the ones you send me? Adobe Reader X (10.0.1) (may be required) If you have issues opening the PDF’s I attached or sent you then you need to have the free Adobe Reader and to get it free go to this link; http://get.adobe.com/reader/?promoid=BUIGO  Then you can open what I send to you and or to send attached Adobe PDF forms back to me, even ones I allow you to comment on if you don’t own a version of Acrobat 8.0 or higher.  In other words, any PDF files I send you can only be opened in Adobe Reader or Acrobat version 8.0 or higher. If you’re using a MAC PC, click on the Applications Icon, click on the Adobe Reader Icon and allow it to be your default reader. iTunes free PDF reader for iPhone; http://itunes.apple.com/ph/app/pdf-reader-lite/id368377690?mt=8
  • I am thinking of using a drop suspended type of ceiling instead of drywall; do you recommend this? I don’t suggest suspended or drop ceilings in basements for many reasons. One good one is that you’ll lose value to your home. Ask any realtor and they should tell you that buyers prefer drywall to match the upstairs. Here in Denver and many other parts of the country we’ve learned that there’s no reason to have access to anything if the home was built right and is insulated right and nothing is leaking. Access to shut off valves and such can be moved to unfinished areas or you can install these new plastic access plugs that are 4-6 inches and clip into a drywall opening you make making it a clean look. Saddle valves for ice makers upstairs should be moved to an unfinished area for example. If you’re worried about running wires at a later date, this should just be roughed in now with all planning in place or by installing a 2-3″ PVC pipe along the I-beam from end to end now allowing a way to pull wires from one end of the house to the other later on. Dropped suspended ceilings and or ceiling tiles will in fact make the space feel more closed in ALSO feeling smaller as the ceilings are a bit lower then they needed to be and can look like more of a mobile home or office and not like your home on the other floors in any way. Simply put, it will appear you were trying to save money! Drywall is affordable to install, easy to repair if you have an issue and bottom line, just looks a lot better. 


I’ll be adding many more frequently asked questions here over time. Be sure to visit this page again from time to time. Thanks……….. 


Call or Fax me at 888-267-3969      Evenings call: 720-346-6347

john@basementdesigner.com     adesignpro@hotmail.com

Basement Finishing & Design Service, Inc.

Owned and operated by John Browning, “The Basement Designer”

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