Mayo Basement

Mayo Basement

When the Mayo Family was ready to finish their 1400 square foot of basement, they called ElkStone. These are the items that made the Must Have List:

  • Wet Bar to Entertain
  • Spacious Movie Room for the whole family
  • A Fitness Room (used when absolutely necessary….I mean, we have the best gym outside our homes!)
  • Extra Bedroom to double as a music room (no brainer when your kid plays drums every. single. day 😖)
  • Full Bath

 

We wanted to give a huge shout out to ElkStone Basement Finishing!  And how long did it take to finish a 1400 sf basement you ask?!  Only 6 weeks!!! When they said their basements are completed in 5-6 weeks it sounded too good to be true, but they delivered!  They have a solid staff and their contractors are trustworthy.  We even went out of town for an entire week and our project manager came over every day to make sure the contractors were there and always locked up when they left.  It was the smoothest and most stress-free basement finishing experience ever.  Thank you so much ElkStone!  

 

 

Our Thanks to the Mayo Family for allowing us to share their wonderful photos.  Welcome to the ElkStone Family!  We hope that you create many memories in your finished basement space!

Just Another Day at ElkStone

Part of ElkStone’s Core Beliefs and Values read:

Take care of our customers so they can always refer us.  Stay Genuine, sincere, and remain humble. 

It was one week from the final walk of a Castle Rock basement we were finishing, when the homeowner ended up having a life saving surgery that left him in a wheel chair.  Without hesitation, the project manager on the project, jumped in and started formulating a plan to help this family in the best way the ElkStone family knows how. Build for them.


We worked with ElkStone on our basement during the summer of 2016.  Joe, Justin, Randy, and the ElkStone family did a tremendous job on our basement. We couldn’t be happier with the construction process, timeframe, and results.

 At the end of Summer 2016, I had spinal surgery to remove several ependymoma tumors that were growing in my spinal cord. The tumor removal is a very difficult surgery, and unfortunately left me paralyzed from the chest down, needing a wheelchair to get around. Lisa told Justin what had happened, and without pause, ElkStone volunteered to help. He was going to have ElkStone build us a wheelchair ramp for our house, all on a volunteer basis!

 Within the next week, the ElkStone crew was at our house, building the ramp.  Because of ElkStone’s generosity, I am now able to get in and out of our house on my own – giving me freedom I didn’t have before. We are truly blessed to have our relationship with ElkStone. ElkStone is a company that truly cares about both their customers and the quality of their work. We feel like we are part of one big family!

 Bob and Lisa Delaney

 

As we say goodbye to 2016 and Hello to 2017 we are blessed to work with each and every one of our clients. Each project gives us an opportunity for learning and growth!  Thank you to all of our past, present and future ElkStone Clients! 

 

 

Simple Aurora Basement Finish

Simple Aurora Basement Finish

Will you finish a basement with simple finishes? 

Often times, we are asked this question.  As potential clients look thru our gallery of finished spaces, they see beautiful tile work, fireplaces to drool over, pendant lights that adorn wet bars and theaters that could pass as Hollywood Screening Rooms.  While we are proud of these finished spaces, we are equally as excited to finish a simple basement.  It is our goal to give you a space that is:

  • Creative, functional design that naturally flows from the upstairs to the basement
  • A whole new extension of your home to create lasting memories with your loved ones

When this Aurora family was looking to add equity & space to their home, they turned to ElkStone.  They wanted a space to gather, whether for conversation, the big game or simple family time.  They wanted to keep the space simple as to maximize the flexible furniture arrangement. Our estimator/designer was able to utilize the footprint and create a basement this family was hoping for.  With the finished square footage coming in at just over 1200 sq. ft. This Aurora Basement features these highlighted features:

  • Open Floor Plan
  • Wet Bar
  • Media Area
  • Game Area
  • Lounge Area
  • Fireplace
  • 2 Flex Areas
  • Bedroom with a walk in closet
  • Full Bathroom
  • Window Seat

Take a look at this Aurora Basement and I think you’ll agree.  Simple Basements are just perfect too! 

The Importance of Permits

The Importance of Permits

permit-blog-post

What is a Construction Permit?

A Construction Permit (also know as Building Permit or simply Permit) required in most jurisdictions for new construction, or adding onto pre-existing structures, and in some cases for major renovations, such as Basement Finishing. Generally, the new construction must be inspected during construction and after completion to ensure compliance with national, regional, and local building codes. Failure to obtain a permit can result in fines, penalties, and demolition of unauthorized construction if it cannot be made to meet code.

Why do you need a Construction Permit?

  • New buildings 
  • Additions(bedrooms, bathrooms, family rooms, etc.)
  • Residential work (decks, garages, fences, fireplaces, pools, water heaters, etc.) 
  • Renovations (basement finishing, garage conversions, kitchen expansions, re-roofing, etc.)
  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing systems 
  • HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) systems

Your home or business is an investment. If your construction project does not comply with the codes adopted by your community, the value of your investment could be reduced. Property insurers may not cover work done without permits and inspections. If you decide to sell a home or building that has had modifications without a permit, you may be required to tear down the addition, leave it unoccupied, or make costly repairs. A property owner who can show that code requirements were strictly and consistently met––as demonstrated by a code official’s carefully maintained records––has a strong ally if something happens to trigger a potentially destructive lawsuit. Your permit also allows the code official to protect the public by reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction and ensuring public health, safety, and welfare. By following code guidelines, the completed project will meet minimum standards of safety and will be less likely to cause injury to you, your family, your friends, or future owners.     *https://www.iccsafe.org/safety/Documents/BSW-Benefits-Permits.pdf

What is the purpose of Building Code:

The purpose of building codes are to provide minimum standards for safety, health, and general welfare including structural integrity, mechanical integrity (including sanitation, water supply, light, and ventilation), means of egress, fire prevention and control, and energy conservation.

Building codes have a long history. The earliest known written building code is included in the Code of Hammurabi,[3] which dates from circa 1772 BC.

  • 228. If a builder build a house for some one and complete it, he shall give him a fee of two shekels in money for each sar of surface.
  • 229 If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.
  • 230. If it kill the son of the owner the son of that builder shall be put to death.
  • 231. If it kill a slave of the owner, then he shall pay slave for slave to the owner of the house.
  • 232. If it ruin goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.
  • 233. If a builder build a house for some one, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own means.

 

Top 5 reasons to Get a Permit

#1. INSURANCE

If an unpermitted basement is damaged by flood or fire, it may not be covered by your insurance-always check with your agent

#2. LIFE SAFETY

If Carbon Monoxide detectors are not placed in the correct locations or not installed at all.  Electrical wiring is compromised or egress is not compliant or non-existent. 

#3. LIABILITY

You may be liable if you sell your home and something goes wrong after the new homeowners movie in.   

#4. HOME VALUE

An attractive and conforming basement space sells a lot easier.  Some DIY or projects performed by fly-by-night contractors will actually depreciate your home. 

#5. FINES & WORK STOPPAGE

If the building department catches work being done without a permit they will put a red notice on the front of your home to stop work and may fine you

ElkStone will always pull a permit for each job without exception!

 

Fantastic Parker Basement Finish

Fantastic Parker Basement Finish

We used ElkStone to finished our basement. They were fantastic! Our basement finished close to the time frame. Entire process went very smooth! Our salesman, was a pleasure to work. He listened to all of our concerns. Phil was our project manager, he was awesome! Easy to talk to with any questions or concerns. All of the sub contractors were excellent and very friendly!

When the Sharp family decided to turn their unfinished basement in Parker into a space for the entire family to enjoy, they called ElkStone. Knowing that finishing a basement properly is a significant investment; they were very nervous going into the process. Mrs. Sharp remembers feeling like she couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The whole ElkStone process made her feel very at ease with each step.  One of the main concerns that ElkStone addressed was making the basement feel like a seamless extension of the rest of their home.  They didn’t want the basement to feel like an after thought.

Armed with the list of must haves, ElkStone finished this basement destination with:

  • 2 Bedrooms
  • 3 piece Bathroom
  • Powder Room
  • Home Theater 
  • Kitchenette
  • Media Area
  • Game Area

 

Every detail from the tile backsplash to the wrapped support post, granite counters, stone fireplace, art work Niches created a luxurious family friendly space. To put their new space to the test, the family recently the family hosted 17 relatives for the weekend. Everyone was comfortable and no one felt like they were on top of each other. The Sharp Family is thrilled with the outcome and ElkStone delivered on everything they asked for an more. 

 CONTACT US if you’d like to turn your basement into a space that every family can enjoy together. 

Construction Terms

Construction Terms

Terms Commonly Used in Architecture & Interior Design

ACCESS PANEL: A small metal or wood door flush with a wall or ceiling surface which provides a closure over a valve or other operable device which is recessed into the wall or located above a ceiling. The access door may be keyed and lockable.

ACCESS FLOOR: Removable metal or concrete floor panels about 18″ to 24″ square which are supported on short steel pedestals so that wiring and ductwork may be installed, changed and maintained below the floor. The raised floor may be carpeted or tiled to create a finished floor surface.

ACOUSTICAL TILE, ACOUSTICAL PANEL: A ceiling or wall tile finishing material with an inherent property to absorb sound; usually made of mineral, fiber or insulated metal materials. Not “Acoustic Tile” or “Acoustical Board.”

ACRYLIC (PAINT), ACRYLIC LATEX: A paint composed of acrylic resins, thinned with water.

ADDENDUM: Written or graphic instruments issued prior to the execution of the contract which modify or interpret the bidding documents, including Drawings and Specifications, by additions, deletions, clarifications or corrections. Addenda will become part of the Contract Documents when the Construction Contract is executed. (Plural-“Addenda”.)

ADHESIVE: A sticky substance to bond one material to another. Use the term “Adhere” instead of “Glue.” Do not use “Glue,” “Cement,” or Mastic.”

ADMIXTURE: A chemical which is added to concrete to accelerate or retard the setting process or to create air bubbles in the concrete, called “accelerators,” or :air entraining agents.”

ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS: Published public notice soliciting bids for a construction project. Most frequently used to conform to legal requirements pertaining to projects to be constructed under public authority, and usually published on newspapers of general circulation in those districts from which the public funds are derived.

AGGREGATE: Any of various hard, inert materials, like sand, gravel, crushed stone, or pebbles added to cement to make concrete, mortar, or plaster.

AGREEMENT: (1) A legally enforceable promise or promises between two or among several persons. (2) On a construction project, the document stating the essential terms of the Construction Contract which incorporates by reference the other Contract Documents. (3) The document setting forth the terms of the Contract between the Architect and a consultant.

AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM: The process of treating air for simultaneous control of temperature, humidity, cleanliness, and distribution.

ALKYD (PAINT): A paint composed of a chemically synthesized, alkyd derived base, thinned with mineral spirits. The current version of “oil” based paints.

ALTERATION: A planned or executed change to an existing building, short of complete demolition of the building. See also DEMOLITION and SELECTIVE DEMOLITION.

ALTERNATE: Mechanism used in Bid Documents to seek separate bids for a different design than the “Base Bid” design. May be “Additive” or “Deductive” alternates.

APPROVE: The term “approved,” where used in conjunction with the Architect’s action on the Contractor’s submittal, applications, and requests, is limited to the Architect’s duties and responsibilities as stated in General and Supplementary Conditions.

APRON: (1) A finish strip applied below the stool of a window to cover the rough plaster or dry wall edge. (2) A paved or hard packed area abutting a garage door or other opening.

AREAWAY: An uncovered space next to the fountain walls of a building, for entrance of light and air to the basement.

ARRIS: Sharp edge of a finished member.

AS-BUILT DRAWING: A drawing or print marked by the Contractor to show actual conditions of a project as constructed after construction.

ASHLAR: A rectangular pattern of stone used in a wall.

ASPHALTIC CONCRETE: This is the term used for paving for roads and driveways. Not “Asphalt” or “Bituminous” Concrete.

ASTRAGAL: A small molding attached to one or both meeting stiles of a double door, used to provide a tight, draft-free fit.

AWARD: The acceptance of a bid or negotiated proposal by an owner.

 

BACKFILL: The material (earth, gravel, or sand) used for refilling around a foundation wall.

BACKUP: The inner portion of a masonry wall, usually finished with face brick, stone ashlar, stucco, or other decorative or protective veneer on the outside.

BALUSTER: Any of a number of closely spaced vertical supports for a railing or balustrade.

BATT INSULATION: A preformed section of flexible fiberglass or mineral wool insulation with or without a vapor barrier covering on one side (either kraft paper or aluminum foil) sized to fit snugly in a framed cavity between studs or joists.

BATTEN: A narrow strip of wood or metal used to cover vertical joints between boards or panels.

BAY: An opening in a wall; a horizontal area division of a building, usually defined as the space between two columns or piers.

BEAM: A horizontal load-supporting member of a building which directly supports a floor; may be of wood steel, or concrete; transmits load horizontally to vertical columns or bearing walls. Normally beams are larger and are spaced further apart than “joist.”

BEARING WALL: A wall which supports any vertical load in a building (such as floors, roofs, joist, beams or girder) as well as its own weight.

BEARING: The area of contact between a structural member (beam, girder, footing) and its underlying support (column, bearing wall, load bearing ground).

BELT: A horizontal course of decorative stone or brick exposed to the exterior face and encircling a masonry building.

BEVELED WOOD SIDING: Horizontal wood boards of varying widths, (usually 4″, 6″, 8″, or 10″) with lower edge thicker than upper edge.

BID: A complete and signed proposal to do the construction work or designated portion thereof for the dollar amount stated in the bid.

BIDDER: One who submits a bid for a prime contract with the Owner, as distinct from a sub-bidder who submits a bid to another bidder. Technically, a bidder is not a contractor on a specific project until a contract exists between him and the Owner.

BIDDING DOCUMENTS: The advertisement or invitation to bid, instructions to Bidders, the bid form the drawings, the specifications, and any Addenda issued prior to receipt of bids.

BLANKET INSULATION: Roll type fiberglass insulation for installation over ceilings or on wall surfaces either laid flat or secured with impaling pins.

BOARD FOOT: A unit of measure represented by a board one foot long, one foot wide and nominally one inch thick, or 144 cubic inches.

BOARD MEASURE: A system of cubic measurement for lumber; the basic unit is a board foot.

BOND: The arrangement of bricks in certain overlapping patterns to give the finished structural unit additional strength and to allow the individual elements to act together as a cohesive, integrated unit. Commonly used bonds are Running, common, English, and Flemish bonds.

BORROWED LIGHT (OR “LITE”): An interior window between rooms which allows light from one room to enter another – It is an older term, but not entirely out of use – use instead “glazed opening.”

BRACE: A structural member which reinforces a column, beam, or truss.

BRACKET: A horizontally projecting support for an overhanging weight such as cornice.

BRIDGING: A method of bracing wood or steel floor joists by providing lateral members between the joists. Cross-bridging forms an “x” shape between joists. The purpose of bridging is to distribute loading to several joists.

BUDGET: The sum established by the Owner as available for the entire Project, including the construction budget, land costs, equipment costs, financing costs, compensation for professional services, contingency allowance, and other similar established or estimated costs.

BUILDING PERMIT: A permit issued by a village, town, city, county, state or federal governmental authority allowing construction of a project in accordance with approved Drawings and Specifications.

BUILDING TYPE: A classification of a building according to principal activities or uses for which it was constructed, such as housing, jail, shopping center. This is not the same as an “occupancy type” of building codes.

BUILT-UP ROOFING: roofing system used on relatively flat surfaces – hot asphalt or coal tar pitch mopped on with several plies (3 to 4) of roofing felts. May be smooth surfaced, painted with fibrated aluminum paint, or graveled on top.

BUTT JOINT: The cut ends of sheet or boards placed adjacent to one another with no overlap.

BUTTRESS: An external structure usually brick or stone, built against a wall to support or reinforce it.

BY OWNER: The term “by Owner” means that work shown or described in the contract documents and labeled with this designation is not included in the General Contractor’s contract, but will be completed under a separate contract with another contractor by the Owner. Coordination and scheduling of the work thus described shall be the responsibility of the General Contractor.

BY OTHERS: The term “by others” means that work shown or described in the contract documents and labeled with this designation is not included in the specific sub-trade’s contract, but will be required to be done within the General Contractor’s contract.

 

CAISSON: A deep foundation type which is constructed by boring a large diameter hole in the ground and filling it with concrete.

CAMBER: A slight upward arching given to a beam, girder, or truss to prevent sagging due to weight.

CANT STRIP: A slanted or angled board laid at roof-wall intersection or in back of a parapet, to transition from horizontal to vertical for a roof membrane.

CANTILEVER: A structural member projecting horizontally well beyond its vertical support.

CASE WALL: A partition to enclose mechanical and plumbing systems.

CASEMENT: A type of window having a sash with hinges on one side allowing the window to open. Most contemporary casement windows swing outward.

CASING: The exposed trim molding, around a door or window; may be either flat or molded.

CASING BEAD: A plaster stop – do not use for gypsum wallboard trim.

CAULK: An archaic term meaning to fill small cracks with a linseed oil and whiting compound called “caulk” which is not very flexible and will not provide a water tight joint — use the term “seal” or “sealant” instead.

CEMENT: Portland Cement for use in concrete, grout, mortar, cement plaster and stucco.

CEMENT PLASTER: Material made from Portland cement sand and water for use on exterior walls and soffits, and on high use interior surfaces or in high humidity interior spaces. “Stucco” is cement plaster.

CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT: A signed statement from the Architect to the Owner confirming the amount of money due the Contractor for Work accomplished and/or materials and equipment suitably stored.

CHALKBOARD: Do not use the term “Blackboard” which is archaic since contemporary chalkboards are not normally black.

CHAMFER: To bevel or round off a right angle corner.

CHANGE ORDER: A written order to the Contractor signed by the Contractor, Owner, and the Architect, issued after the execution of the Contract, authorizing a Change in the Work or an adjustment in the Contract Sum or the Contract Time. The Contract Sum and the Contract Time may be changed only by Change Order.

CHIPBOARD: Type of wood panel manufactured from wood chips and glue – not a correct term – use the term “particle board” instead.

CLERESTORY WINDOW: A window or series of windows in a wall above the eye line, for lighting and/or ventilation of the building.

CMU: Concrete Masonry Unit – Do not use “Cement Block” or “Cinder Block.”

CODES: Regulations, ordinances or statutory requirements of a village, town, city, county, state, or federal government relating to building construction, adopted and administered for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.

COLUMN: A vertical load-carrying structural member supporting horizontal members (beams, girders, etc.).

COMPLETE: The term “complete” means all surfaces or areas of a construction item.

CONCRETE: A mixture of Portland cement, large and small aggregate, water and admixture.

CONDUCTOR: See “down spout”.

CONDUIT: A protective metal tube for electric wiring.

CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS: The term “Construction Documents” means the Scope of Work list and reference drawings contained within the Volume by that name.

CONSTRUCTION JOINT: A joint in concrete flatwork or walls which is necessary for stopping the pour for the day – sometimes referred to as a “cold joint,” but do not use that.

CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT: The combined operations for the authorization, purchasing, supervision, accomplishment, and acceptance of a construction project.

CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS: Working Drawings and Specifications.

CONSULTANT: An individual or organization engaged by the Owner or Architect to render professional consulting services, supplementing the Architect’s services. Types of consultants could be Engineers, acoustical, energy, or cost consultants.

CONTRACT DOCUMENTS: The term “Contract Documents” means all of the documents which make up the Contract between Owner and Contractor, including the Contract itself, the General and Special Conditions, the Technical Specifications, the Construction Documents (Scope of Work and Drawings), all Addenda issued prior to signing of the Contract and Change Orders issued by the Owner and agreed to by the Contractor after the signing of the Contract.

CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION: The duties and responsibilities of the Architect during the Construction Phase, which includes observation of construction, checking shop drawings, and approving pay requests.

CONTRACT DOCUMENTS: The Owner-Contractor Agreement, the Conditions of the Contract (General, Supplementary and other Conditions), the Drawings, the Specifications, and all addenda issued prior to execution of the contract

CONTRACTOR: In construction terminology, the person or organization responsible for performing the Construction Work and identified as such in the Owner-Contractor Agreement.

CONTROL JOINT: A groove which is formed, sawed, or tooled in a concrete or masonry structure to regulate the location and the amount of cracking and separation resulting from the dimensional change of different parts of the structure, thereby avoiding the development of high stresses.

COPING: Top of a parapet, usually stone or metal, to prevent water from getting into the parapet.

COR-TEN: Proprietary name for a brand of weathering steel made by the Inland Steel Company – use the generic term “weathering steel” instead.

CORBEL: Masonry which is stepped out from each course to project from a wall.

CORNICE: A horizontal molding along the top of the wall or ceiling.

COURSE: A continuous horizontal layer of masonry.

CRAWL SPACE: An unfinished, accessible space below the first floor, generally less than full story height, but at least 1′-6″ high clear under the joists or beams.

CRICKET: A small saddle on a roof used to divert water around a chimney or other small projection (see saddle).

CRIPPLE: A short supplemental wall framing member used between the door or window header (or window sill) and sill plate.

CURB: (1) The stone or concrete edging of a side walk or paved street;                     (2) the raised edge of a floor or well opening.

CURTAIN WALL: An exterior wall which encloses but does not support the structural frame of the building.

 

DAMPPROOFING: An impermeable coat or coats of asphalt brushed or sprayed on the foundation basement wall to prevent the passage of moisture.

DATUM: A reference elevation to which other elevations are measured.

DEAD LOAD: The part of the total building load contributed by the structural building elements and materials.

DEFLECTION: The displacement in a structural member that occurs when a load is applied to the structure.

DELETE: To take something out of the building or contract – do not confuse with “omit” which means not to install something in the first place.

DEMISING WALL: An interior wall or partition used to sub-divide tenant spaces from one another.

DEMOLITION: Removal of an entire building — see also “alteration” and “selective demolition.”

DETAIL: A drawing, at a larger scale, of a part of another drawing, indicating in detail the design, location, composition and correlation of the elements and materials shown. (Usually referring to a plan detail.)

DIRECTED: Terms such as “directed,” “requested,” “authorized,” “selected,” “approved,” “required,” and “permitted” mean “directed by the Architect,” “requested by the Architect,” and similar phrases.

DIVISION (OF THE SPECIFICATIONS): One of the sixteen organizational subdivisions used in the specifications and in construction information filing. (List them).

DOUBLE HUNG WINDOW: A type of window containing two movable sash sections which slide open vertically.

DOWNSPOUT: A pipe to carry rainwater from the gutter or roof to the ground or the sewer — can be sheet metal, plastic, or other type of piping material.

DRAWING: do not use “print,” “blueprint,” or “sheet”

DRIP: A projecting part of a sill or cornice that sheds rain water and protects structural parts below.

DRYWALL: Gypsum board for interior wall and ceiling finish material.

DUCT: A rectangular or round sheet metal or fiberglass pipe used to convey warm or cooled air.

DUMBWAITER: an elevator too small for a person – used for vertically transporting food, mail, dishes, trays, etc.

 

EGRESS:  Another word for “exit”, and is used in building code to refer to the means by which somebody can exit a building

EAVES: The lower or outer edge of a roof which overhangs the side wall of a building.

ELASTOMERIC: A material which is inherently rubbery for sealants, flashings, and waterproof membranes.

ELEVATION: (1) A drawing of the front, side, or rear of the building drawn to scale. (2) The height above surface of the earth or the vertical distance from a given reference elevation.

ENGLISH BASEMENT: A basement with half its height above grade level.

EVACUATION: The removal of earth from its natural position, or the depression resulting from the removal of earth.

EXPANSION JOINT: A joint in concrete, masonry, or metal designed for movement – expansion and contraction — not a “control joint,” or “construction joint.”

EXPANSION SHIELD: a drilled-in lead shaft, into which a bolt is screwed, expanding the shaft tight against the hole — used for anchoring materials onto concrete or masonry surfaces.

 

FACADE: The front of a building.

FACE BRICK: A good grade of brick used to finished the exterior of building walls.

FASCIA: (1) Any relatively broad flat vertical surface like that on the outside of a cornice.  (2) A finishing board used to conceal rafter ends.

FEASIBILITY STUDY: A detailed investigation and analysis conducted to determine the financial, economic, technical or other advisability of a proposed project.

FEE: A term used to denote payment for a professional service, (not including compensation for reimbursable expenses, such as travel, long distance telephone calls, photo copy, printing or mailing).

FELT PAPER: Archaic term – an asphalt-impregnated used as a covering for wall sheathing or for plys of built-up roofing, usually weighing 15 lbs. per 100 square feet — use the term “building paper” for use over wall sheathing, and “ply” for roofing felts.

FENESTRATION: The design and disposition or arrangement of windows or other openings in a building wall.

FIBERBOARD: A building board of wood or other plant fibers compressed and bonded into a sheet, usually 4′-0″ x 8′-0″ x 1/2″ thick.

FIBERGLASS: Fine-spun filaments of glass made into a yarn, used in blankets as insulation; or it may by added to gypsum or concrete products to increase tensile strength — do not use the term “glass fiber.”

FILL: Soil, gravel, or sand used to equalize or raise the surface of the earth.

FINISHED FLOOR: The top or wearing surface of a floor system, of hardwood, vinyl, terrazzo, or ceramic tile.

FIRE RESISTANCE: The ability of a wall or floor assembly to maintain structural stability and act as an effective barrier to the transmission of heat for a stipulated period of time. Measured in hours, such as 1hr, 2hr, 3hr, or 4hr.

FIRE STOPPING: Solid wood members placed between studs to retard the spread of flame within the framing cavity.

FIREPROOFING: The use of incombustible materials to protect steel structured membrane of a building so it can withstand a fire without losing structural integrity, for a stipulated period of time. Measured in hours, such as 1 hr, 2hr, 3hr, or 4hr.

FLAKE BOARD: use the term “particle board” instead.

FLAME SPREAD CLASSIFICATION: A standard measurement of the relative surface burning characteristics of a building material when tested by ASTM E 84. Classes are A, B, or C.

FLASHING: The strips of sheet metal, copper, lead, or tin used to cover and protect structural angles and joints, to prevent water seepage or leaks.

FLOAT FINISH: The surface of concrete finished by a continuous spreading of the material with a flat board.

FLUE: The duct or open space within a chimney through which combustion gasses and smoke are allowed to escape.

FOOTING: The projecting course at the base of a foundation wall which distributes the building load over a wider area of the soil.

FOYER: The entrance hall of a house or other building type.

FURNISH: The term “furnish” is used to mean “supply and deliver to the Project site, ready for unloading, unpacking, assembly, installation, and similar operations.”

FURRING: The strips of wood or metal applied to wall or other surface to make it plumb or true to line, which will provide a fastening surface for a finish covering — be more precise by using the terms “wood furring” or “metal furring.”

FURRING CHANNEL: cold rolled steel channel for suspension of plaster or drywall ceilings – usually 3/4″ or 1 2″ deep.

 

GABLE: The triangular-shaped wall at the end of a building between the slopes of a roof.

GAGE: Same as “gauge” — thickness of metal.

GAMBREL ROOF: A ridged roof, with sides having two pitches or slopes.

GENERAL CONTRACT: (1) Under the single contract system, the Contract Between the Owner and the Contractor for construction of the entire Work. (2) Under the separate contract system, that Contract between the Owner and a Contractor for construction of architectural and structural Work.

GENERAL CONDITIONS (OF THE CONTRACT FOR CONSTRUCTION): That written part of the Contract Documents which sets forth many of the rights, responsibilities and relationships of the parties involved.

GIRDER: A Horizontal load supporting member of a building which supports a beam or beams.

GIRT: A secondary horizontal framing member extending between columns or studs to stiffen the framing system; also to provide support for the siding or sheathing.

GLAZED OPENING: glass window in an interior wall or partition — do not use the term “window,” “vision panel,” “light,” “lite,” or “borrowed light.”

GRADE BEAM:  A horizontal load-bearing foundation member but end-supported on piles, piers, or caissons like a standard beam; not ground-supported like a foundation wall.

GRADE: Level of the earth’s surface.

GRILLAGE: A system of beams, laid crosswise to form a foundation to evenly distribute the load.

GROSS AREA: The total enclosed floor area of all floors of a building measured from the outside surface of the exterior walls.

GROUNDS: The strips of wood or metal placed around a wall opening to establish the finished plane for the palter or concrete.

GROUT: A thin, fluid mortar mixture of Portland cement, fine aggregate and water used to fill small joints and cavities in masonry work — do not use mortar in place of grout.

GUARD RAIL: A protective railing around an open raised platform.

GYP BOARD: See gypsum wallboard.

GYPSUM WALLBOARD: A prefabricated sheet used in drywall construction made of gypsum covered with paper which can be painted, or wall papered — use the term “drywall” instead.

 

HANDRAIL: Single railing on wall at stair — use “railing” for a protective barrier.

HANGER: Any suspended structural member to which other members are attached.

HARDBOARD: manufactured flat wood panel used for interior finish material — do not use the terms “Masonite,” or “pressed board.”

HARDWOOD: wood obtained from deciduous trees, mainly used for finished wood trim, doors, panels, and furniture — no specific species, could be oak, birch, ash, poplar, teak, mahogany, butternut, etc.

HEAD ROOM: The distance between the top of a finished floor and the lowest part of the floor above.

HEADER: In masonry, a brick laid across the thickness of a wall with one end toward the face of wall. In carpentry, a wood beam set at right angles to joists at a floor opening to provide a support for joist which are interrupted by the opening.

HEARTH: The floor of a fire place, and the projection of noncombustible flooring material in front of the fireplace.

HIP ROOF: A room whose four sides slope to a common point or to ridge; has no gabled ends.

HOISTWAY: shaft for elevators and dumbwaiters.

HOLLOW METAL: break-formed sheet metal used for doors, windows and frames.

 

IN KIND: The term “in kind” means of the same type, size, material, etc. as the existing item.

INDICATED: The term “indicated” refers to graphic representations, notes, or schedules on the Drawings, other paragraphs or schedules in the Specifications, and similar requirements in the Contract Documents. Where terms such as “shown,” “noted,” “scheduled,” and “specified” are used, it is to help the reader locate the reference; no limitation on location is intended.

INSTALL: The term “install” is used to describe operations at project site including the actual “unloading, unpacking, assembly, erection, placing, anchoring, applying, working to dimension, finishing, curing, protecting, cleaning, and similar operations.”

INSTALLER: An “Installer” is the Contractor or an entity engaged by the Contractor, either as an employee, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor, for performance of a particular construction activity, including installation, erection, application, and similar operations.

INSULATION: Any material used to slow down the transfer of heat.

 

JACK RAFTER: The diagonal sloping ridge rafter of a hip roof.

JALOUSIES: Adjustable glass louvers in doors or windows to regulate light and air or exclude rain.

JAMB: The side framing or finish of a doorway or window.

JOINT FILLER: material which fills the entire depth of a joint and in itself does not form a waterproof joint — may be topped with sealant to provide water tightness.

JOIST: A horizontal closely spaced framing member supporting a floor or ceiling.

 

KERF: A narrow slot cut in to the face of a material such as wood or metal.

KEYSTONE: The central topmost stone or brick of an arch.

KING POST: The vertical member at the center of a triangular truss.

KNEE: A brace placed diagonally at the center of a triangular truss.

 

LALLY COLUMN: A steel pipe column which is encased in concrete and another steel jacket on the outside to provide fire proofing.

LATH: Strips of wood (in older existing construction) or expanded metal used as base for plaster walls.

LATTICE: Any openwork panel of crossed strips, rods, or bars of wood or metal, used as a screen.

LEADER: archaic term — use “down spout” instead.

LIEN: See “mechanic’s lien”.

LIGHT (OR “LITE”): A window pane or section of a window sash for a single pane of glass.

LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE: concrete which uses lightweight aggregate such as expanded shale or clay instead of crushed stone — normally weighs about 110 pcf.

LIGHT WELL: An open area within a building or in a subsoil space around a basement window, which provides light and air.

LINTEL: A piece of wood, stone, or steel placed horizontally across the top of door and window openings to support the wall above the opening.

LITE: See “light”.

LIVE LOAD: That part of the total load on structural members that is not a permanent part of the structure. it may be variable, as in the case of loads contributed by people, furniture, wind, snow or earthquake loads.

LOAD-BEARING PARTITION: A vertical structural interior wall supporting a floor or roof.

LOFT:(1) An attic-like space below the roof of a house or barn; (2) any of the upper stories of a warehouse or factory, (3) A type of apartment unit which is usually built within an old factory and which provides the occupant with large, open, high-ceiling spaces. Usually only a bathroom is enclosed and plumbing is minimal. Interiors are finished by occupant.

LOUVER: A slatted ventilator pitched to keep out fain or snow.

 

MANSARD ROOF: A roof with two slopes or pitches on each of the four sides, the lower slopes steeper than the upper.

MASONRY: Brick, concrete block, or stone.

MECHANIC’S LIEN: A legal charge on property in favor of persons supplying labor or materials for a building for the value of labor or materials supplied by them. Clear title to the claim for the labor, materials or professional services is settled through the “release of liens” which is accomplished through a form given to the owner by the contractor.

METAL: used to denote products fabricated from thin sheet steel.

METAL LATH: Expanded metal used for plaster lath — do not use the terms “mesh” or “chicken wire.”

METAL TRIM: edge trim for drywall — do not use the term “casing bead” which is for plaster.

MEZZANINE: An intermediary floor having less than 1/3 of the area than the floor below.

MILL CONSTRUCTION: A type of “slow-burning” construction made of masonry walls, heavy timber framing, and planked or laminated wood floors.

MILLWORK: Doors, windows and door frames, mantels, panel work, stairways, and woodwork.

MITER: A joint formed by to pieces of material cut to meet at an angle.

MOLDING: A finishing piece to cover construction joists or edges, usually a long narrow strip of plain or curved wood; may be ornamented.

MONITOR: A raised rectangular and roofed structure on a roof having windows or louvers for ventilating or lighting the building.

MOP BASIN: Floor mounted sink for building maintenance purposes — do not use terms “slop sink” or “service sink,” which are wall-mounted sinks.

MORTAR: A bonding agent in masonry work, made of lime, sand, and cement mixed with water.

MUD: A common term for drywall joint compound products.

MULLION: Vertical framing which divides windows into major sections.

MUNTIN: The vertical or horizontal bars which divide lights (panes of glass) in a window.

 

NEWEL: The vertical post around which the steps of a winding staircase turn; the post at the top or bottom of a staircase, supporting the handrail or a balustrade.

NOSING: The rounded projecting edge of a stair tread or landing.

 

OAKUM: A loose fiber from hemp or rope, used as a backing for caulking joints in cast iron drain piping.

OFFSET: A ledge formed by a difference in the thickness of a wall.

OMIT: to leave something out by intention.

ON CENTER (O.C.): The distance from the center of one structural member to the center of another, term used for spacing studs, joists, rafters.

OPTION: term used in construction documents to indicate that contractor may use one of several products at his or her choice.

 

PARAPET: An exterior low wall along the edge of a roof, balcony, ridge, or terrace.

PARGING: A coating of cement mortar (Portland cement, sand, and water mix), on a masonry wall, used to waterproof the outside surface of an exterior wall or masonry foundation.

PARQUET FLOOR: A hardwood floor laid in small rectangular or square patterns, not in long strips.

PARTY WALL: A wall built along the dividing line between adjoining buildings for their common use.

PATCH: The term “patch” means to remove any damaged or defective material within the area to be patched, and to replace it with new material, fitted in a workmanlike manner so as to provide a continuous plumb, level, and/or true to line surface, uninterrupted by flaws, defects, or blemishes.

PARTICLE BOARD: A wood and glue composite panel for sheathing, underlayment, subflooring, and substrate for veneers and plastic laminate for millwork.

PARTITION: A non-bearing wall which divides space and supports only its own weight.

PENTHOUSE: A building on the roof of a building to enclose mechanical or elevator equipment; also, an apartment on the roof of a high-rise apartment.

PERFORMANCE BOND: An insurance document purchased by the contractor from a bidding company (a “surety”) which guarantees that the work will be performed in accordance with the Contract Documents.

PERMEABILITY: The property of material to permit a fluid (or gas) to pass through it; in construction, commonly refers to water vapor permeability of a sheet material or assembly and is defined as Water Vapor Permeance per unit thickness.

PERMIT: A document issued by a local, state, county, or federal governmental authority having jurisdiction to authorize specific work on a building.

PIER: A column; a foundation type shaped like a column underground, created by drilling a hole and filling it with concrete.

PILASTER: Half-column attached to or projecting from a wall.

PILE: A timber, steel, or concrete pole which is driven into the ground to serve as support for the foundation.

PITCH: The slope or incline of a roof, expressed in inches of rise per foot of length, or by the ratio of the rise to the total roof span.

PLANK: A piece of unfinished structural lumber 2 to 4 inches thick and at least 8 inches wide.

PLASTER: A mixture of gypsum, sand, and water, used as a finished surface for walls and ceilings, applied over gypsum, metal or wood lath.

PLASTIC INSULATION: Generic term for polystyrene (“Styrofoam”) or urethane insulation.

PLASTIC LAMINATE: Thin sheet material of plastic composition used for finishing of interior millwork – do not use the terms “Formica,” or “Melamine.”

PLATE: A horizontal woo framing member which provides bearing and anchorage for wall, floor, ceiling, and roof framing.

PLENUM: An enclosed chamber for horizontal distribution of ventilation air, such as the space between a suspended finished ceiling and the floor above.

PLINTH: A square block at the base of a column, pedestal, or door casing.

PLY: A term to denote the number of thickness or layers as “3-ply”; for roofing felt, veneers, etc.

PLYWOOD: A fabricated wood product constructed of three or more layers of veneer joined with glue, laid with grain or adjoining plies at right angles.

PORTALS: A door, gate, or entrance, especially one of imposing appearance.

POST: A vertical wood structural column.

PRESTRESSED CONCRETE: A method of giving tensile strength by stressing the reinforcing in the concrete before it sets, then releasing the tension after the concrete has hardened.

PRIMER: A first base coat of paint to seal the surface of the finished material and equalize suction differences.

PROJECT SITE: The term “Project Site” is the space available to the Contractor for performance of construction activities, either exclusively or in conjunction with others performing other work as part of the Project. The extent of the Project Site is shown on the Drawings and may or may not be identical with the description of the land upon which the Project is to be built.

PROJECT MANUAL: The 8 2″x 11″ paper size bound book of written documents prepared by the Architect for a Project, including the bidding requirements, Conditions of the Contact and technical Specifications, used by the Contractor in bidding & building the project.

PROPRIETARY PRODUCT: A product produced by only one manufacturer to his own design, and not available from competing manufactures.

PROSCENIUM: In a theater, the front area of the stage still visible to the audience when the curtain is lower; the curtain and the opening that surrounds it.

PROVIDE: The term “provide” means “to furnish and install, complete and ready for the intended use.”

PURLIN: A structural roof framing member laid horizontally across the roof beams to support a roof deck.

 

QUANTITY SURVEY: Detailed analysis and listing of all items of material and equipment and quantities of each necessary to construct a Project.

QUARRY TILE: Thick type of ceramic tile which is composed of fired clays and shales used for floors and bases.

QUEEN POST: Either of two vertical members of a triangular truss, each being equidistant from the apex.

QUOIN: The external corner of a building; any of the large square stones by which the corner is marked.

 

RABBET (ALSO REBATE): A longitudinal channel, groove, or recess cut out of the edge or face of a member to receive another member, or one to receive a frame inserted in a door or window opening; the recess into which glass is installed in a window sash.

RACKING: Lateral stress exerted on an assembly. See test Procedure ASTM E 72.

RAFTER: A closely spaced sloping framing member supporting a roof.

RAIL: The cross of horizontal piece of a door, window sash, or panel. The top horizontal member of a balustrade.

RAKE: A board or molding placed along the sloping sides of a frame gable to cover the ends of the siding.

RANDOM: Without uniformity of dimension or design; e.g., masonry wall with stones placed irregularly, not in a straight course.

REBUILD: The term “rebuild” means to reconstruct a portion or portions of the building completely and properly using new or salvaged materials acceptable to the Owner and Architect.

RECORD DRAWINGS: Sometimes called “as-built” drawings, these are normally modified from the construction documents to conform to all changes made during construction.

REFINISH: To put finish back into its original condition — do not use the terms “refurbish,” “rehabilitate,” “remodel,” “renew,” or “renovate.”

REGULATION: The term “Regulations” includes laws, ordinances, statutes, and lawful orders issued by authorities having jurisdiction, as well as rules, conventions, and agreements within the construction industry that control performance of the Work.

REINFORCEMENT: A system of steel rods or mesh cast into concrete for accepting stresses.

RELOCATE: To move an item from one location and install in another location.

REMODEL: use the term “alter” instead.

REPAIR: The term “repair” means to fix and restore a portion or portions of the building to a sound, acceptable state of operation and serviceability or appearance. Repairs will be expected to last approximately as long as a replacement.

REPLACE: The term “replace” means to remove an existing element or elements from the building and install a new element of like kind or a salvaged element acceptable to the Owner and Architect, completely and properly anchored to the substrate and surrounding materials; also the term can mean to provide a substitute or replacement for an item.

RESET: The term “Reset” means to remove an existing element or elements from the building and reinstall it completely and properly anchored to the substrate and surrounding materials.

RESILIENT BASE: wall base material — use this term generically instead of “vinyl base,” or “rubber base.”

RESILIENT FLOORING: Either tile or sheet goods for flooring material made from vinyl or rubber.

RESILIENT TILE: Floor tile — use this term generically instead of “vinyl composition tile,” “vinyl tile” or “rubber tile.”

RETAINING WALL: A wall built to keep a bank of earth from sliding.

RIDGE: The top horizontal edge or peak of a roof.

RIGID INSULATION: High density fiberglass or cellular glass insulation.

RISER: The vertical part of a stair step; a vertical HVAC, plumbing, or electrical run or extension.

ROLL ROOFING: A roofing material made of compressed fibers saturated with asphalt, and coated with small gravel supplied in rolls.

ROOF HATCH: use this term instead of the archaic term “scuttle.”

ROOFING FELT: See “felt paper”.

RUNNER CHANNEL: Cold rolled steel channel 1 2″ deep used for suspended ceiling framing.

 

SADDLE: A roof crossing between two adjoining roofs to the ends of the valley.

SANITARY SEWER: A sewer designed to carry sewage from bathroom, toilet room, and kitchen waste, not usually storm water.

SASH: The framework which holds the glass in a window or door.

SAWTOOTH ROOF: A roof composed of a series of single-pitch roofs whose shorter or vertical side has windows for light and air.

SCORE: To cut a surface of a material part way through with a sharp blade before braking; glass and ceramic tile are cut using this method.

SCRATCH COAT: The first coat of plaster applied to a wall, scratched or scored to provide a bond for the second coat.

SCREED: (1) A metal or wood strip placed at intervals on a wall or floor to gauge thickness of plaster or concrete. (2) To level, as in pulling a straight edge across a concrete slab within the formwork.

SCRIBE: To score or mark along a cutting line.

SCUTTLE: A framed opening in a ceiling or roof, fitted with a lid or a cover.

SEAL COAT: A fine thin coating of asphalt paving with bituminous material to provide water resistance.

SEAL: (1) An embossing device or stamp used by a design professional on his Drawings and Specifications as evidence of his registration in the state where the Work is to be performed. (2) To provide sealant at a joint to make it water tight.

SEALANT: A semi-liquid or “elastomeric” water proofing material placed in a joint between materials to create a water tight joint or to fill small openings in wall or ceiling systems to prevent leakage of sound or to create a finished appearance and seal between dissimilar materials.

SEALER: A base coating of paint to seal and equalize suction differences and prevent absorption of subsequent coats.

SEAMLESS FLOORING: Sheet flooring material with joints field welded or sealed.

SECTION (DRAWING):  A drawing of a surface revealed by an imaginary plane cut through the project, or portion thereof, in such a manner as to show the composition of the surface as it would appear if the part intervening between the cut plane and the eye of the observer were removed.

SECTION (MATERIAL): Sometimes loosely used to describe a rolled steel shape, such as “W section” — use the term “W member” instead.

SELF-EDGE: Plastic laminate edging in which the horizontal surface overlaps the vertical edge surface and is cut off flush with the vertical surface — this will expose a dark brown edge of the plastic laminate material and will be visible.

SEPTIC TANK: A covered tank in which waste matter is decomposed by natural bacterial action, draining into a drainage field.

SERVICE SINK: Wall-mounted sink for building maintenance purposes — do not use the terms “slop sink” or “mop basin.”

SEWER: An underground system of pipes which carry off waste matter or storm water to a sewage treatment plant or to an area of natural drainage.

SHAKE: A shingle formed by splitting a short long into a number of tapered sections.

SHEATHING: The first covering of boards, plywood, or wallboard placed over exterior wall studding or roof rafters — not “sheeting.”

SHEET FLOORING: Resilient linoleum, vinyl or rubber flooring installed wall to wall.

SHEET METAL: Usually thin steel sheets.

SHEET PILING: Planking or steel plates driven close together vertically, to form a temporary wall around an excavation.

SHIM: To build up low areas; to level or adjust height.

SHINGLE: A roofing type using tapered pieces of cedar or asphalt composition pieces nailed one overlapping the other.

SHOP DRAWINGS: Drawings, diagrams, illustrations, schedules, performance charts, brochures and other data prepared by the Contractor or any Subcontractor, manufacturer, supplier or distributor, which illustrate how specific portions of the Work will be fabricated and/or installed.

SHORING: Structural bracing used as temporary support for a building during construction.

SILL: A horizontal piece forming the bottom frame of a door or window.

SITE: Geographical location of the Project, usually defined by legal boundary lines.

SLEEPER: A strip of wood anchored to a concrete floor or nailed to subflooring and to which the finishes floor is nailed.

SLUMP: A concrete test method to evaluate water/cement ratio consistency.

SOFFIT: The undersurface of a building member, as of a cornice, arch or stairway.

SOFTWOOD: Type of lumber from conifer evergreen trees, such as pine, fir, larch, cedar, and redwood.

SOIL: Use this term instead of “earth” or “dirt.”

SPAN: The horizontal clear distance between supports, as those of a bridge, or between two piers.

SPANDREL BEAM: A beam which lies in the same vertical plane as the exterior wall.

SPANDREL: A portion of an exterior wall between a window on one floor and a window on the floor above.

SPECIFICATIONS: (1) A detailed description of requirements, composition and materials for a proposed building; (2) Apart of the Contract Documents contained in the Project Manual consisting of written descriptions of a technical nature of materials, equipment construction systems, standards and workmanship. Under the Uniform System, the Specifications comprise sixteen Divisions.

SPRAYED FIREPROOFING: Mineral fiber composition applied to structural steel members by spraying with an applicator gun used to obtain a specific fire rating for the structure to comply with building code requirements.

SQUARE: (1) 100 Square feet of roofing surface; (2) edges of an object which are at a right angle to each other.

STAGGER: To offset building members or fasteners in a horizontal or vertical plane in alternating sequence.

STAGING: A temporary scaffolding to support workers and materials during construction.

STANDARD: An approved criterion governing the quality of a construction material, operation, functional requirement, or method of assembly.

STICK BUILT: Constructed by means of building stud-by-stud and joist-by-joist in the field from raw materials.

STICK BUILDING: Lightweight wood framed building — type 5 construction by the BOCA/National Building Code.

STILE: The upright or vertical outside piece of a sash, door, or panel.

STOCK: Standard size raw building materials or standard equipment.

STONE: Granite, marble, limestone, slate used for fabricated interior or exterior finishes.

STORM SEWER: A sewer carrying only storm water (but never sanitary waste).

STORY (A CODE TERM): A horizontal division of a building; that portion between one floor and the floor above.

STRETCHER: A brick laid lengthwise in a wall.

STRIKE: In stone setting or bricklaying, to finish a mortar joint with a stroke of the trowel, simultaneously removing extruding mortar and smoothing the surface of the mortar remaining in the joint; strike off.

STRINGER: The inclined structural framing member supporting the treads and risers of a stair.

STUCCO: Plaster made from Portland cement, sand, and water used as an exterior wall surface finish; usually applied over a galvanized metal lath or wood lath base.

STUD: A vertical wood or metal framing member to which sheathing and finished surfaces are nailed, as the supporting elements in walls and partitions.

SUB STRUCTURE: That part of a building structure below the ground.

SUBCONTRACTOR: A person or organization who has a direct Contract with a prime Contractor to perform a portion of the Work at the site.

SUBFLOOR: A floor laid on top of the floor joists, to which the finished floor is fastened.

SUBSOIL DRAIN: Also called a “footing drain”. A perforated 4″ diameter pipe which is installed on the outside of the footing surrounded by pea gravel, which allows storm water in the soil to drain into it and be carried off to the sewer system or to a sump pit inside the basement, and from there pumped out back to the gravel surface or into the sewer.

SUBSTANTIAL COMPLETION: The term “Substantial Completion” means the date on which the Architect issues a Certificate of Substantial Completion based on an inspection of the Work, by which it can be determined that the Work is sufficiently complete in accordance with the Contract Documents so that the Owner can occupy or utilize the Work for the use for which it is intended. A Certificate of Substantial Completion may be issued for each individual building as it is completed, if this is in the Owner’s best interests.

SUPERSTRUCTURE: That part of a building structure above the foundation or ground level.

SUPPLIER: A person or organization who supplies materials or equipment for the Work, including that fabricated to a special design, but who does not perform labor at the site.

SURVEY: Boundary and/or topographic mapping of a site.

 

TACKBOARD: A bulletin board, made of cork or other resilient tackable surface.

TERRA COTTA: A hard, brown-red fired, clay product, typically used as exterior ornament. Can be glazed, or unglazed.

TERRAZZO: A durable floor finish made of small chips of colored stone or marble, embedded in cement and polished in place to a high glaze.

TESTING LABORATORIES: A “testing laboratory” is an independent entity engaged to perform specific inspections or tests, either at the Project Site or elsewhere, and to report on and, if required, to interpret results of those inspections or tests.

THERMAL BRIDGE: A thermally conducive area of an exterior enclosure which will allow heat to transfer from the interior of the building to the exterior at a greater rate than the other parts of the enclosure.

THERMAL BREAK: A separation between exterior and interior materials by an insulation material. Typically refers to a feature of a window wall system.

THRESHOLD: A strip of wood, stone, or metal placed beneath a door to cover a change in floor materials, to receive weather-stripping and, sometimes, an automatic door closer.

THRU: Short version of the word “Through” as used in drawings.

TOEBOARD: Raised protective edge (usually 4″ high) at edges of landings, balconies, mezzanines, etc. where there is no wall or knee wall, but only a guard rail.

TOE SPACE: Recess at base of cabinets.

TONGUE AND GROOVE: A factory formed notch and mating projection on wood flooring or deck.

TOPSOIL: Soil used for planting trees, shrubs, ground cover, or grasses.

TRADES: Use of titles such as “carpentry” is not intended to imply that certain construction activities must be performed by accredited or unionized individuals of a corresponding generic name, such as “carpenter.” It also does not imply that requirements specified apply exclusively to trades persons of the corresponding generic name.

TRUSS: Triangular structural framing members formed into a single plane for supporting loads over long spans, in wood or steel, or both.

TYPICAL: Means that the item referred to is repeated several times in similar circumstances and locations.

 

UNDERLAYMENT: A smooth, hard sheet material, such as hardboard, cement board, plywood, or particle board, placed over rougher substrates to achieve a surface suitable for application of finishes such as resilient flooring or ceramic tile.

UNDISTURBED EARTH: Soil which has not previously been excavated.

 

VAPOR RETARDER: A plastic sheet used to retard condensation in walls, floors, and ceilings, applied on the warm-in-winter side of the wall or ceiling structure or over the ground surface in a crawl space — do not use the term “vapor barrier.”

VERMICULITE: An inorganic mineral product that expands several times its initial volume when exposed to a high temperature (about 1000 degree F).

VITRIFIED TILE: A pipe made of clay, baked hard, then glazed so it is impervious to moisture; used particularly for underground drainage.

 

WAINSCOT: The lower part of an interior wall when its surface finish is different from that of the upper.

WAIVER OF LINEN: An instrument by which a person or organization who has or may have a right of mechanic’s lien against the property of another relinquishes such right. Waivers of linen are provided to the owner by the general contractor and his sub-contractors & suppliers, at the time a pay request is submitted.

WALL: Vertical enclosure of a building or occupancy separation, usually load bearing.

WALL BEARING CONSTRUCTION: A structural system in which the floor and roof systems are carried directly by the masonry walls rather than by structural framing system.

WALLBOARD: A manufactured fibrous compressed material cut into sheets, used for sheathing (may be particle board, hardboard, or similar product).

WARM AIR SYSTEM: A heating system in which furnace-heated air moves to living space through a series of ducts, circulated by natural convection (gravity system) or by a fan blower in the ductwork (forced system) to registers in the floor, walls or ceilings.

WATERPROOFING: A procedure to make a material impervious to water or dampness, designed to resist a head of water (water pressure). Any of the material used to waterproof — do not use the terms “roofing,” “membrane,” or “damp proofing.”

WEATHERING STEEL: Steel designed to rust to a certain extent on its surface, then stop rusting — Cor-Ten is one manufacturer’s trade name for weathering steel.

WEATHERSTRIP: A thin strip of metal, felt, wood, etc., used to cover the joint between a door or window sash and the jamb, casing, or sill; to keep out air, dust, rain, etc.

WINDOW WELL: See “light well”.

WOOD: Use the term for solid softwoods only, otherwise use the terms “hardwood,” “plywood,” or “particle board.”

WROUGHT IRON: A soft, pure form of iron easily molded into bars and worked into ornamental shapes; widely used for decorative railings, gates and panels.

 

ZONING ORDINANCE: The control by a municipality of the use of land and buildings, the height and bulk of buildings, the density of population, the relation of a lot’s building coverage to open space, the size and location of yards and setbacks, and the provision of any ancillary facilities such as parking. Zoning, established through the adoption of a municipal ordinance, is a principal instrument in implementing a master plan

A Luxury Basement Renovation

A Luxury Basement Renovation

When the Sobb family decided to turn their unfinished basement in Denver into a space for the entire family to enjoy, they called ElkStone. Working with the unique foundation and existing systems, they designed a home theater, kitchenette, dining area, sitting area, and a specialty wine cellar. The new living space is accessed by a curved staircase and is accented with rich wood tones and their favorite Bronco accessories. CONTACT US if you’d like to turn your basement into a man cave every wife will enjoy, too! 

ElkStone Basements | Service Expectations for Finishing a Basement in Denver

ElkStone Basements | Service Expectations for Finishing a Basement in Denver

Service Expectations: What You Need to Know 

This is intended to help set our customer expectations and provide answers to questions that they may not think about in advance. This information alone could possibly make the difference between a pleasant experience and a frustrating one.

Dust

Can’t live without it, but we try really hard. What to expect, what we do, and how you can help.

Dust is inherent in construction.  There will always be dust when building. Dust containment can be particularly challenging when building within the confines of your home. But we’re proud of the measures we’ve developed to minimize this condition. Our dust reduction measures goes a long way in reducing dust but you’ll still always have some residual dust appear.  Depending on your level of sensitivity you may not even notice an impact. With most of our customers it’s not an issue but there are some whom it really bothers. The dust issue can become serious if you or one of your family members has allergies.  Please discuss any special needs with your estimator and/or project manager.  They can also determine if there are additional measures we can take to ensure the least amount of dust will enter your home.  Your participation is needed to help in this area as well.  There are some things you can do to help: One, keep the zipper door in the dust containment barrier closed at all times.  There is often times an air pressure difference due to an open window or a running furnace that can create a draft from the basement to the upstairs that will in less than one minute can fill your upstairs with dust.  You’ll even be able to feel a breeze as you operate the zipper door so zip it closed as soon as you step through the opening. Two, you can also turn off the furnace or air conditioning during the real dusty times which are drywall sanding, trim, paint, and rough clean-up.

Noise

No noise means no construction. For a quite environment you shouldn’t count on staying home.

This is another issue inherent to construction. It happens on all jobs without exception and cannot be minimized.  It has potential to affect sleeping children and people who work from home.  Sometimes it’ll sound like we’re coming through the floor but then other days you won’t even know we’re there. It’s impossible for us to accommodate noise control without stopping work.  If you have need for a quiet environment please make arrangements accordingly.

Project Manager

These guys are good. But they don’t do it all. We explain that here.

You’ll have a dedicated project manager who will visit your project every day with only a few exceptions. He’ll be your primary point of contact through the whole construction process and will keep you informed on progress. If you have any questions, the PM will be the one to ask. Even though our managers know all the necessary details of your project they are not supervisors, they are managers.  And although they are at your job frequently, they are not there all the time.  This can sometimes cause concern for a customer who is home all the time and notices something that they’re not expecting but is a normal issues in construction.  Something that can be normal to a PM can be alarming to a customer who is unfamiliar with standard construction practices.  All of our managers are experts at what they do and are very skilled in their trade.  Your trust in them is essential to a smooth process and a good experience.  They may not handle an issue immediately but will address it in due time.  They know when it needs to happen and often the best time is at the end of the project when our subcontractors return to do their trims.  From time to time our mangers will call on help from our assistant manager. It’s not unheard of for an inspection to happen at the same time on two projects so they’ll recruit some help. If there’s an unusual circumstance that they need a second opinion they’ll call our operations manager.

Project Manager Availability

Although they’re almost super-human, they need their rest too. Contact guidelines.

Working hours are weekdays 8 AM to 6 PM.  Our project managers are very dedicated and will work all hours of the week to care for our customers.  But like anyone else, they need to unplug from work and charge their batteries too.  Please only contact them within these hours unless it’s a construction emergency such as a water leak.

Customer Availability

The first week is key. After that it settles down.

Your basement will take shape the first week of construction.  The ‘walls will be set’, so to speak, and the rest of project is built upon on what is completed that first week.  So it’s important that you’re available for questions and a daily review of progress.  This will ensure everything is how you want it so we can get it right the first time. There may be lots of questions and decisions that need to be made by you so it’s good to have this expectation in mind because it may seem overwhelming at times.  Don’t worry though, because you’ll be among the industry’s best professionals and we can give you sound counsel.  We just want to know exactly what you need.  Because after all, you’ll be the one living in it and looking at it each day. We want to make it just right for you.  The pace of the second week and third week will pale in comparison to the first week.  Everything will seem to slow way down during the drywall phase but this is totally normal and should be expected too.

Customer Participation

We need your input and we want to do all the work to implement it.

Your input is needed in a lot of aspects such as all the design elements.  Your investment into your home with us is a big deal.  So we closely monitor the resources we assign to your project and ensure you receive appropriate management services.  We prefer that our project manager is the one who updates and coordinates everything with our subcontractors.  We’ve had some customers who spend three hours a day meeting with each of our subs.  They get really wrapped up in the process and begin to assume the role of the project manager.  That does not bode well with a good customer experience so we encourage you to let the project manager do his job. Our managers and subs have been performed basement finishes hundreds of time before so they know the drill.  On the other extreme, we’ve had some customers that were living out of state while we finished their basement.  They were never present except for a number of FaceTime calls.  It was a pleasant experience for our manager and for our customer who was were thrilled with their new basement when moved in.  There is a healthy balance of participation from you but we want the burden of management to lie solely on us.

Access to Your Home

We’re no Houdini but you’ll be amazed at how much we get through your basement window.

You’ll be amazed at how much we can get through your basement windows.  Approximately 90-95% of all materials and trades go through the basement window. The exception would be items like a bathtub, doors, and cabinets.  Building inspectors are also an exception, they’ll need to come through the front door too.  We’ll never come upstairs unannounced, we’ll always knock first.  So for the most part, you may go about your private affairs in the main level.  Whatever your day typically looks like you should expect it to stay the same. So if you work from home in your lounge clothes then you should feel free to maintain that lifestyle.  Please have the basement window unlocked for us by 7 AM and ensure your home is secure for the evening.

Construction Schedule

We’re the best in the business but it’s still not an absolute guarantee.

This is the one the aspects of ElkStone’s business model that makes us stand out from among our competitors.  We started doing short construction schedules in January 2008 and we’ve gotten pretty good at it.  Since then we’ve completed hundreds of basements in less than four weeks.  In 2014 however, we had to move to a five week schedule due to some industry wide shortages in available labor.  We have comprehensive systems and processes in place to ensure your basement is completed on time.  What we don’t have is an absolute guarantee.  Construction is a very dynamic process by nature.  You shouldn’t necessarily expect a trade partner to show up at 8AM the morning of their scheduled day.  At any given point we can be a few days ahead or behind schedule.  And sometimes you may decide to change something, sometimes we notice something that we didn’t see during the proposal process, sometimes we mess up, and sometimes there’s something totally out of our control that happens that may cause a delay. We do everything in our power to complete your basement in the few weeks that we have scheduled.  And although we’re the best in the business it’s not a perfect system so it can’t be relied on 100% of the time.  We plan and execute with every intention of completing your project on schedule but unfortunately we can’t guarantee it.

Business Model

We really like to stay on schedule. We really hate to get off schedule.

ElkStone’s business model is making our customers happy by finishing basements with craftsmanship and speed.  And although some customers are not in any hurry, completing your job on time is very important to ElkStone.  It’s a lot more work on our project managers and subs to delay a job than it is to keep it on schedule.  We have no interest in taking longer than your planned schedule.  It is actually counterproductive for us to get off schedule, so we go out of our way to stick to the plan.  There are two essential things you can do to help: One, select and purchase all your items (VCC’s) with plenty of time before we need them. Two, finalize your design with the estimator before we start. Major changes should be decided and updated before we start while we can deal with minor changes anytime.

Quality Control

Is the project manager’s responsibility but it involves everyone on the ElkStone team.

This responsibility primarily lies with our project managers but our subcontractors are key too.  Vetting a trade partner may take years and so when we find someone who shares our values in terms of service, reliability, quality, and pricing, we’ll maintain that relationship indefinitely.  Both our subs and our managers maintain higher standards than the industry norm.  You can expect at a minimum the same level of craftsmanship as your upstair’s but most of the time we’ll exceed that. From time to time we’ll have customers who have extremely high standards and we get that.  You’ve worked hard and saved up for years to afford your dream basement so you want the best. We’re up to the challenge and most of the time we’re on the same page.  But every once in a while there’ll be a customer who will literally crawl around on their hands and knees inspecting and blue-taping everything (the accepted inspection method is to walk around at a distance of four feet from the wall).  For this purpose we use the NASCLA National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies Residential Construction Standards v. adopted 2009 as a reference point.   It’s a nationally recognized third party unbiased guide for determining construction standards.

Inspections

The first inspection is the most important. Building officials do not use the basement windows.

ElkStone will always pull a permit for a job without exception.  For most building department inspections, the project managers will be on site to supervise.  The building officials are not permitted to go through the window so they’ll use the front door and go down the stairs.  This is one of the few times we’ll need access to the main floor.  Inspections happen throughout the project but primarily at the end of the first week and at the very end of the job.  The rough inspections cover framing, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical.  Next there’s drywall screw. And at the end there’s the final inspections which cover the same items as the rough inspections. The most important inspections occur at rough because of the amount of items inspectors are observing.  If this inspection doesn’t go well then it can adversely affect the schedule so we ensure the project manager is present to make sure it goes smoothly.

Customer Supplied Materials or VCC’s (Variable Customer Costs)

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about what you need to buy.

We provide a Project List which is a document intended to help our customers answer the questions of: what, who, where, when, and how much.  This is specifically designed for your project and includes most everything you need to know as it relates to the items you need to select and purchase.  The quantities and pricing we list are estimates and so may not exactly match what you decide to purchase.  Depending on your style and taste, the costs could be higher or lower.  You can think of it as a general guideline but the idea is you should be able to choose what most customers typically purchase; the popular and common items.  However, you should know that if your project design changes then the quantities and cost will change too.  For example, if the wet bar grows in length then there’ll need to be more granite countertop.  Likewise, if the bathroom enlarges in shape then that’ll mean more floor tile, etc.

When Problems Arise

Every project has them. And we deal with them pretty well.

Notice I said when a problem arises, not if?  There are literally thousands of components and hundreds of man hours that go into building a basement. There is no company that won’t have problems.  The nature of the construction industry is too dynamic; working with people and building things, issues will come up. What we say around ElkStone is it’s how you handle the problem that matters, not that there is a problem. Your satisfaction and our reputation is way more important to us than trying to avoid an issue.  So what to do? Contact your project manager.  Likely he already knows about it and is working on a solution.  Our project managers are pros at what they do and have on average 17 years of experience each. That means they’ve built hundreds and hundreds of construction projects over their collective 84 years of experience.  What it doesn’t mean is that they know everything and never make a mistake.  When they need help they turn to their ElkStone colleagues including fellow project managers and the general manager of operations.  In the unusual circumstance that you feel you need to talk to someone else besides your project manager the first person to contact is the general manager.  We will seek to fairly and equitably come to a resolution.

Construction Agreements, Proposals, Plans, and Promises

If it’s not written, it’s not included. We don’t build based on verbal promises.

The most important thing to know is that we don’t make verbal promises.  This is company policy.  If we have an item on one of these three documents then it’s included.  If we don’t have an item listed anywhere then it’s not included. So we eliminate the guesswork and only deliver what is in the written paperwork.  That way, everyone is on the same page and there’s no confusion. It’s your responsibility to make sure you read and understand everything that’s included.  Our desire is for you to receive everything you want and need for your project.  There are many conversations that take place between you and our estimator/designer.  Not to mention all the conversations you’ve had with other companies, friends, and loved ones.   On top of that, our estimators are basement specialists who talk about options, ideas, and concepts all week, every week. It can become be very confusing about who talked to whom about what. Just because you were thinking about it and discussed it, doesn’t mean it’s included in our proposal.  We want to make sure we don’t leave anything out of the proposal but we need your help. So please don’t hesitate to clarify all the items that are important to you with our estimator/designer.  And of course, if you see something that’s missing, don’t hesitate to bring it the attention of your estimator.

Customer Supplied Materials or VCC’s (Variable Customer Costs)

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about what you need to buy.

We provide a Project List which is a document intended to help our customers answer the questions of: what, who, where, when, and how much.  This is specifically designed for your project and includes most everything you need to know as it relates to the items you need to select and purchase.  The quantities and pricing we list are estimates and so may not exactly match what you decide to purchase.  Depending on your style and taste, the costs could be higher or lower.  You can think of it as a general guideline but the idea is you should be able to choose what most customers typically purchase; the popular and common items.  However, you should know that if your project design changes then the quantities and cost will change too.  For example, if the wet bar grows in length then there’ll need to be more granite countertop.  Likewise, if the bathroom enlarges in shape then that’ll mean more floor tile, etc.

Personal Belongings in the Basement

They will get dusty and they may get damaged. A lot goes on down there.

We really need everything removed from the basement.  The exception would be that some items can remain in the unfinished areas of the basement.  But the team definitely needs everything removed from the work space or the areas we’ll be finishing.  This includes the area underneath the stairs.  This spot seems to always get missed.  You’ll need to protect the items that remain in the basement from dust.  The dust will be fine particles similar to the consistency of baby powder. This makes it difficult to clean.  Items with a textured surface such as a TV or treadmill will be more challenging to clean than a mirror or polished surfaces. Please do not leave any electronic components or anything you value in the basement.  Even after you cover it you can still expect it to get dusty.  If you’re okay with this then I recommend draping bed sheets or plastic drop cloth over your belongings to mitigate as much dust as you can.  I do not recommend creating a wall of plastic.  They always get compromised and end up falling down.  To be fair to the workers we ask that you allow plenty of space for them to work so placing items well away from the work area is greatly appreciated.  Although our project managers can assist you in covering your belongings our preference is that you take ownership of this task.  We appropriately cannot accept responsibility for your items left in the basement.

Liability for Damage

Remove everything from the basement and this won’t become an issue.

Imagine for a moment our trade partners moving 16 foot long lumber, 4 x 8 sheets of plywood, 4 x 12 sheets of drywall, 6 foot long metal duct pipe, and literally hundreds of other building components. You might get a glimpse of what it takes to build your basement. If we break something we will certainly repair it.  But to be fair to the subs working we ask that you remove any item of value from the basement and leave plenty of space from the work area for items that remain.

Landscaping

Got to get there somehow. We’ll tread lightly but there will be lots of treading.

All the workers will come around the side of your home to enter through a window or walkout door. They’ll use the window that makes the most sense in terms of proximity to the front of the house and the size of the window well.  Best case scenario there’s a sidewalk but often times the workers will need to transport tools and materials over the lawn.  There will be some trampling that will result in temporary distress on the lawn.  At the end of the project we’ll straighten up by raking the rocks or mulch back into their respective places.  Please advise the project manager of any landscaping features that you are particularly fond of that might be sensitive to foot traffic.

Day to day clean up

The work of construction is messy. We let the guys work.

There’s essentially two things to know about this: 1) construction is a messy and dirty process, and 2) when we’re all done your basement it will be showroom clean and even have that new home smell.  During each phase it can get messy while the subs work but you’ll notice a tidy workplace as transitions for each phase are completed.  There are two formal cleanups that take place; the first is what we call rough clean.  That happens right before carpet. The second is a comprehensive and thorough final clean which happens on the final day of construction.  If you wish to have our cleaning crew include the upstairs at the same time as the basement then let the project manager know and he can provide pricing.

Security

Lock up the house like you normally do in the evening. Unlock the basement first thing in the morning.

You’ll need to maintain the security of your home as you have been by locking up each evening. Sometime subs will drop off materials for the next day’s work or stop by to check the jobsite at the end of the day.  So locking up a little later in the evening would be best.  Please ensure your basement window or door is unlocked by 7AM each morning.  Depending on what you’re comfortable with, you may ask your project manager to install a keyed lock for your basement door.  If you go on vacation you may turn on your alarm system but bypass the basement. Work with your project manager on this one.  The project manager will need access to the garage so programming a temporary code will be needed.

Material shortages and overages

We never charge if we’re short and don’t credit if we’re over.

We provide a fixed base price that won’t change. We’ll only process a change order if you change or add something. This means that if we underestimate materials we won’t come to you with a change order.  It also means that if we order too many items that we’ll return it to our vendor.  We do not provide credits for over-ordered materials in the same we don’t charge for materials we under-ordered.  ElkStone assumes the risk and liability if we miss something or underestimate. So you can sign the construction agreement worry-free about a changing base price.

Sound control

From a little to a lot, but there’ll always be some.

Is a science.  We start with the simple and economic methods first and then work through the options depending on your budget and needs. Each level of noise control will help to varying degrees but will not eliminate all noise between levels of your home. The biggest variable is the ducting system of your home. That is the one common thread that connects all spaces throughout your home so it’s a particularly challenging element to dampen.  Speak with your estimator/designer to discuss all the options we offer.

Still need help? Send us a note!

For any other questions, please write us at info@elkstone.com or call us at 303-656-9006.

Jefferson County Building Department Training Session in an ElkStone Basement

Jefferson County Building Department Training Session in an ElkStone Basement

One of our project managers, Phil, called to get his inspection ETA today for a basement in Littleton, and they told him they’re having a training session for the entire building department at 9AM at the basement!

train

 

Phil raced over there and good thing, too, because after all the building officials arrived there were no more parking spaces! All up and down the street were Jefferson County building inspector trucks. After he introduced himself to the chief building officer and all the other inspectors, he led them to the basement where 12 inspectors with flashlights combed over every part of the basement as part of their training.  This went on for over an hour!

Interestingly, in JeffCo you cannot call in your framing inspection until after you’ve passed your electrical inspection, so it’s a two day process.  When the training was over all twelve inspectors couldn’t find one thing wrong and unanimously passed all roughs and framing inspections at the same time without one correction notice. 

Each inspector one by one shook Phil’s hand on the way out and congratulated him on a very well-built basement.  Some of inspectors comments to Phil as the filed out the door:

  • “[Ryan] the plumber was genius on how he ran the underground.”

  • “Really like how [Juan] the insulator spray foams all the fire-blocking insulation so it stays in place and won’t move.”

  • “The framer [Marco] did a great job.”

  • “This is a perfect example of how a basement should be built.”

  • “The electrician [Boris] did a good job with his ground bonds.”

  • “This a not a really good training session because this is how everything is supposed to be built.”

Congratulations to our all our employees, subs, and vendors who do this kind of work day-in and day-out.  I’m so proud of the entire ElkStone team – well done!

Homeowner’s buying guide to finishing the basement

Homeowner’s buying guide to finishing the basement

Homeowner’s Buying Guide to Finishing the Basement

You can use the following questions to qualify the basement builders that you’re receiving bids from.  ElkStone’s answers are included below…

Homeowner’s Buying Guide

Question 1 – “On what day does trim carpentry start?”

Answer – For ElkStone it’s always the third Wednesday after we start. We know this because we have a standard schedule for every job. In fact, we can tell you what’s happening every single day – who’s going to be there and what they’ll be doing. This question gets after the builder’s schedule: Do they have one? A schedule window like “8-10 weeks” is really not a schedule – it’s a guess. I know because I used to do this myself! Typically in this practice they’ll call their subs just prior to starting in hopes they’ll be available. With ElkStone, all our workers know weeks ahead of time what day they need to start your job, what day they need to finish your job, and exactly what to bring to complete your job. This is one of the reasons ElkStone consistently completes quality basements in less than four weeks with happy customers. ElkStone has been doing this since January 2008 so we’re really good at it.  Cutting the completion time by 66% makes a huge impact towards a very pleasant construction experience.  Just think, you can be enjoying your new space, watching the movie on the big screen and getting drinks from the bar – but with other contractors you’d have two more months of noise & dust.

ElkStone consistently completes quality basements in less than four weeks with happy customers.

 

Question 2 – “How many studs are you planning to use to frame my basement and long are they?”

Answer – This question gets after how detailed is the builder’s estimate. ElkStone will give you an answer something like 323 studs 92-5/8” long. We calculate exactly what it takes to build your basement. We can even tell you how many sheets of drywall and linear feet of baseboard we’ll need specifically for your project. ElkStone measures the wall length from the plan and inputs that data into our worksheet, which uses a formula to calculate exactly how many studs are required. This means two things:

  1. We won’t charging too much or too little for the materials
  2. We won’t cover our mistakes with change/add orders or cutting corners. If the builder doesn’t estimate your job correctly, you become a liability and they’ll prioritize other jobs over yours or compromise the quality and service of your project.

 

Question 3 – “Will my basement receive the attention it deserves during construction?”

Answer – This question will allow you to get an idea of how experienced your builder is and what resources they’ll allocate for your job. ElkStone has a full-time Project Manager who is assigned to your job and runs your basement from start to finish. Our Project Managers are pros at their job and critical to our operation.  Kind of like an orchestra conductor, our Managers keep the work site humming and makes sure you’re in-the-know and satisfied. With our proprietary scheduling timeline we are able to stagger our start dates which allow us to build your basement in 5 weeks and still give you and your basement all the attention they deserve.

 

Question 4 – “How long have you been working with your dry waller & electrician?”

Answer – This question gets at the relationship with trade partners. Our answer is 12 & 13 years respectively. Our relationships mean everything to us. Our philosophy is that once we find a trade partner who shares our values in terms of service, quality and reliability, we hold onto them! And because we pay fairly and promptly (every Friday) they demonstrate extreme loyalty to ElkStone.

 

Question 5 – “How much tile do I need to purchase, where do I purchase it, how much will it cost, and when do I need it by?”

Answer – This question addresses what we call the ‘Project List’.  This is a document we generate specifically for your project and it includes everything you need to know as it relates to items you are personally responsible for selecting such as tile, carpet, & electric/plumbing fixtures. We provide you with three tile vendors with seven locations throughout the metro area that we recommend. We also let you know what quantity to purchase for each area being tiled, who provides ElkStone discounts, how much you can expect to spend on your tile, and the date you need to have it purchased.  We do this not only for tile but every item you need to purchase.

 

Question 6 – “What is your pay schedule?”

Answer – We require no money down, no money to start, no money to schedule, and no design fee. In fact, the first invoice isn’t due until three days after we start. ElkStone has a very equitable pay schedule because neither you nor ElkStone is too extended at any one point in time. Our pay schedule is based on progress payments:

1st payment: Due three days after we start, so you know we’re committed to the job and we’ve allocated all our resources in terms of materials, labor & scheduling.

2nd payment: Due after drywall completion.

3rd and final payment: Imagine walking into your basement and you smell the fragrance of new carpet and Pine Sol cleaner. The windows are almost invisible because they’ve been Windexed and the whole basement looks and feels like a brand new model home. It’s only at this point when we’re totally complete and you’re completely satisfied that final payment is due.  So I would think twice about paying a contractor before work has begun and settling up before your basement complete.

Question 7 – “How many basements did you finish last year?”

Answer – ElkStone finished exactly 200 basements 2015.  This question addresses a company’s serviceability and reputation. ElkStone has a lot of satisfied customers because we deliver what we promise. We don’t charge extra for the benefit to move into your basement two months early, but that feature is unique to ElkStone and is a significant value to you. One of our company core values is: ‘All of our customers refer us always’ and this is only possible because your satisfaction is our number one goal.

Question 8 – “Have you finished every job you’ve started?”

Answer – Yes!  ElkStone is proud of our reputation and we take it very seriously because it means to world to us. Not only have we finished every job we’ve started, but ElkStone also has paid out in full to all our subs and vendors.  In fact, we pay our subs in full every Friday.

 

Question 9 – “Will you be on time and promptly return my calls?”

Answer – Keep in mind, the other contractors bidding on your basement are on their best behavior trying to make a good impression. If they’re slow in getting back to you now, how are they going to act after they deposit your first check? I always ask my clients if they’ve already received other bids and I can’t tell you how many times their answer is, “I’ve left messages, but you’re the first one I’ve talked to.”  ElkStone’s responsiveness up front is indicative of our service throughout the project. It’s our way of life evident in our work.

Reasons To Finish Your Basement in Denver

Reasons To Finish Your Basement in Denver

Reasons To Finish Your Basement in Denver

 

To finish, or, not to finish? This IS the question many homeowners are asking these days.

Life doesn’t come with an itinerary and so the home that you bought ten years ago, when it was just the two of you lovebirds, was more than enough room.

But now you have acquired 2.5 kids and a dog named Spot and it seems as though you are all living right on top of one another. You need more space so obviously the first thought that comes to mind is: MOVING.

Picture7

I know, it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. People enjoy moving about as much as they enjoy root canals. Instead of moving, have you ever considered renovating that dreary, useless stuff-filled, space below your house? Some people refer to them as dungeons or “storage” but it’s really a basement, and it can be used for so much more than hiding old, embarrassing family photos and the sweaters grandma sends in the mail every Christmas!

So now that you are seriously pondering this, here are some really good reasons to finish your basement INSTEAD of moving into a new home.

1. Money, money, money. Depending on what you want to do with your unfinished basement space, renovations could cost considerably less than relocating your life entirely. The current average cost for a basic basement renovation is around $35 per square foot. So this would equate to about $35,000. Obviously the more amenities you include the more your price will increase, but it will still cost less than a new home.

2. Again, with the money. Finished basement areas are a desirable feature to prospective homebuyers. If you decide to finish your basement and create a useable and versatile space, this could mean a decent return on your investment if or when you decide to sell your home. The key is to make your basement functional and somewhat neutral. Obviously, if you decide to create a floor-to-ceiling replica of the moon landing in your basement, this might not appeal to many buyers, if any. Just try to think ahead!

3. Wait, you mean there’s MORE money? As lonely as an empty nest can be, every parent can find a reason to enjoy an empty home. The question is; what to do with all of that space? Well, why not make money off of it? That’s right. Many homeowners rent out their unused basement space and, according to Remodel Magazine, many basements can be rented out at anywhere between 50-75% of the monthly mortgage cost if zoned for multi-tenant use.

4. SPACE. That is what you are looking for, right? Think about all of the amazing things you could do with it! A well-constructed basement space can be used for so many things. Obviously the most popular choice is a space for the kids. Whether it is a movie room, a play room or a room or a room used specifically for arts and crafts, you will finally be able to reclaim your living room! Or, you could go the other direction and create a LARGER family room in your basement and save the space on the main level for grown-up entertainment. The options really are limitless!

5. Designed space. Yes, there is a difference. Most basement spaces in homes do come equipped with the necessary plumbing and electrical outlets to create additional living space. So, if you are thinking about expanding your family, whether you’re thinking of a brand new addition or a comfy space for your mother-in-law, if you have the space then you definitely have the option of creating more bedrooms and bathrooms.

6. Yard sale! A basement renovation will finally give you an excuse to clean it out! How much storage do you really need? Your home should be a LIVING space not a storage space. If you find yourself in a position where you need space to accommodate inanimate objects in place of people or family, then you should consider adjusting your priorities.

7. An unused space is a haven for unwanted guests! A dark, damp and unoccupied basement is precisely the type of environment in which insects, rodents and mold thrive. And if you’re never down there, with your vast amounts of stuff, then how would you know you even had these unwanted guests? No, you are not in any mortal danger from suffering a spider bite or a run-in with a mouse, but these creatures aren’t exactly pleasant. Some can cause mild illnesses and if you get an infestation, they can be costly to remove as well.

8. And lastly… MONEY. According to the 2010 U.S. Employment Census the average, annual income for a “full-service” mover is about $60,000. There is a reason for that and it is because moving is a loathsome and stressful experience. Oh, not to mention, EXPENSIVE. After acquiring three different estimates it was discovered that the average cost for a full service move, for a 2,100 square foot, 4 bedroom home, with 4 occupants, is about $7,000-$10,000. So, if you add up the cost of moving expenses (which doesn’t include your preparation expenses), mortgage and loan fees, closing costs and realtor fees, you could be close to spending the same amount on a move to a new location that you would on a basement renovation.

Convinced yet? If this has sparked your interest and you want to take a basement addition or renovation into consideration, contact us to start your free estimate. You might just be surprised how much basement you can get for your buck!