The average cost of finishing a basement in 2023 is $22,850, but there is a huge variation in pricing depending on your specific project. Of course, the square footage makes a difference, as does the particular configuration of your basement, as well as whether you are simply finishing the space for storage purposes or adding an extra bedroom and bathroom as living space.
Whatever your goal, you will most likely increase the resale value of your home while adding to your usable space. The following guide will help you understand the considerations, the cost, and how to get the work done.
The Costs of Finishing a Basement
The cost of finishing a basement has a lot of variables, as most home upgrades do. Weighing what you can afford versus what you want is critical here. While it might be nice to have all the bells and whistles of a sky-is-the-limit home renovation, there are many things that will affect the bottom line during a reconstruction event like finishing a basement.
The national average cost of finishing a basement is $22,850, but there’s a wide range (as there is with the cost of home remodeling projects of all kinds). In this case, it can swing from $4,700 to $41,000. Your number could rise based on where you live and whether you plan to add features such as running water, custom cabinets, or countertops.
Ultimately, the final cost to finish a basement depends on how extensive the work is, as well as the square footage in the planned remodel. Typically, a small basement is considered to be a 300- to 700-square-foot space. Do you have more than 2,000 square feet to finish? Then that’s an oversized amount of space.
According to the home improvement site Angi, a simple process of finishing a basement will cost between $7 and $23 per square foot. However, if you are doing a full remodel, you can expect to spend $30 to $75 per square foot.
You can also use online tools to help you estimate the cost of your remodeling project.
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How to Plan Your Basement Project
The first thing you need to think about when finishing a basement is how you primarily plan to use the space. If it’s mostly for storage, you’ll want to include closets, cabinetry, and a shelving system in your plans.
Or do you intend to use it as a bonus room or lounge? If your basement’s primary function is as a gathering space, you’ll want to wire it so that you have internet, cable, and plenty of lighting and outlets.
Due to their subterranean nature, basements also require waterproofing. The below-grade format of a basement demands special attention be paid to exterior drainage, interior surface materials, and air ventilation, in addition to ensuring a safe way to exit the space during an emergency, like an egress window.
With proper planning, it’s possible to mitigate some of the major expenses associated with building below ground, so do your homework before the rainy season comes. Local government code departments often have building standards to guide the process.
As part of your efforts to keep the finished basement dry, you’ll probably want to install a sump pump for extreme weather events. Built into the floor with an automatic pump, sump pumps give peace of mind for when you’re out of town or have an excess of rainfall.
If you’re finishing a basement to use as an apartment or in-law suite, you’ll need added features like a bathroom and kitchenette. Installing both a bathroom and kitchenette can quickly cause the price to mount with the added costs of cabinets, countertops, appliances, and fixtures, so weigh the decision to add those features carefully against how much use you think they will truly get. Or consider going the budget route, forgoing top-of-the-line furnishings and appliances, if cost is a concern but you need those spaces to complete your basement.
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How much it costs to finish your basement will ultimately come down to the features you add and how the work is done. Consider these factors when making a budget:
• Labor. This may cost $25 to $100 per hour, and you might also need a plumber or electrician to do some specialized work, which could increase the price (as anyone who’s rewired or needed to pay to fix a plumbing leak knows). Typically, labor costs will be 25% of the total project cost.
• Permits. According to Angi, getting the proper permits for your project can run between $1,200 and $2,000.
• Materials. The cost of materials, such as flooring, insulation, and drywall, will make up the bulk of your project budget. Expect to pay anywhere from $5.25 to $21 per square foot depending on the specifics of your remodeling.
Other areas where your basement costs may add up include if you opt for high-end materials, if you hire a professional for interior design assistance with the layout or furnishing plans or if you add furniture to the space.
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How to Save Money on Basement Remodeling
There are many ways to save money on basement remodeling, the first being doing the labor yourself. If you’re simply going for a basic basement remodel for storage, this is a project you likely can DIY even without a lot of prior home renovation experience.
You might, for example, want to add corner shelves, install a pegboard system for mounting your tools, or build a wire rack system to store your bulky items — all basement finishing tasks you can tackle yourself without hiring outside labor.
If finishing your basement requires extensive electrical work and/or plumbing, however, you’ll likely want to call in a licensed professional to do that work.
If you’re on a tight budget, you might rethink installing a kitchenette or a bathroom, which are where your basement refinishing costs often add up quickly. A budget-friendly option for cabinetry could be purchasing from a resale shop or using old cabinets from another part of your house that you can refresh with an inexpensive coat of paint.
A basement remodel could serve multiple purposes — adding living space or storage to your home — while simultaneously improving your quality of life and the resale value of your home. There are a lot of considerations to take into account, including keeping an inherently moist environment dry and comfortable, and additional safety measures that you’ll need to factor into the overall budget. With the average basement finishing project costing almost $23,000, you may also need to consider financing options, such as a personal loan to use for home improvement.
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