How Much Does it Cost to Remodel a Basement?
Last Updated: January 12, 2022
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Many new homes are built with an unfinished basement. This saves money up front in construction costs and gives a family the opportunity to grow into their home. A lot of people choose to finish their basement in order to add living space for entertaining guests or as a hangout area. No matter what the reason, finishing a basement can come with a considerable price tag. However, it's generally a good investment as a basement remodel fetches 80% to 90% of its investment cost at resale.
Basement Remodeling Prices #
- The average costs for refinishing a basement are between $15,000 and $25,000. This will provide you with walls, flooring, insulation, a modest bathroom, and electrical wiring.
- Another way to compute the total cost of remodeling a basement is by the square foot. A low-end estimate for basement refinishing is $25 to $30 per square foot. However, a more reasonable estimate is probably somewhere between $25 to $50 per square foot, and in some cases as much as $75 per square foot.
- Generally, materials account for 25 to 30 percent of the total cost. This means that the bulk of the cost for remodeling a basement, 70 to 75 percent, comes from labor.
- The luxuries you choose to install in the basement will be a large factor. While a basic 1,000 square foot basement remodel could cost $15,000 to $25,000, the same area with upgraded, specialized touches could cost double that if you want fancy amenities. Bathrooms, water connections, heat sources; these will be main sources of cost.
- Every basement remodel is different due to its size and a homeowner's desired finish. However, there are certain factors which predictably influence the price of finished basements. Some things to keep in mind are:
- Bathrooms: If you decide to add a bathroom basement keep in mind that this area has the highest costs per square foot. Sometimes it can be as much as twice as the rest of the basement! A half bathroom alone can cost as much as $5,000. A full bathroom can be double that or more.
- Flooring: Vinyl tiles ($1 to $5 per square foot) or hardwood floors ($5 to $20 per square foot). The types of basement flooring you choose makes a big difference in the price you will pay.
- Lighting: You could spend as little as $200 for some fluorescent lights and up to $2,000 installing recessed lighting. Don't skimp on getting some decent lights. Lights that don't shine directly down work great. We recommend something that is indirect or dampened somehow. Finished basements often have low ceilings. The lighting can be harsh on the eyes if you're looking sitting down relaxing.
- Other factors: Many homeowners choose additions such as custom counter tops, wet bars, fireplaces, home entertainment systems…the list goes on and on. In the end, a basement remodel can be as much or as little as you'd like.
Basement Remodeling Permits #
You will need to obtain permits that meet the building codes in your area. Not only that, there are usually required permits for plumbing and electric work. Finally, once the basement is finished, it will need to be inspected in order to recalculate your home's value. If a contractor refuses to get a permit, DO NOT HIRE THEM. It's smart and it's the law.
DIY Basement Remodeling #
- Because the bulk of basement cost come from labor, doing the work yourself can save some serious cash. Using the figures from above, if 70 percent of costs are from labor, a $25,000 basement renovation would only cost $7,500 for materials.
- Another way to estimate the do-it-yourself cost to finish your basement is to plan on $7.50 to $15 per square foot. You will still need to hire a plumber and an electrician unless you are one.
Looking for a basement remodel? #
- HGTV.com has a photo gallery of basement remodeling ideas.
- Bob Vila offers some basement finishing ideas for getting the most out of your remodel.
- Candice Olson of Divine Design shows some before and after pictures of basement remodels.
- It's a good idea to have basic basement ideas and a budget when you approach a basement remodel. As a rule of thumb, add 20 percent to the basement finish cost you have in mind to allow for price fluctuations or unexpected expenses.