When it comes to basement renovation, the national average price for a finished basement ranges between $5,000-$70,000. That said, unless you're adding in an elaborate home theater or building in separate rooms with high-end finishes, most Thumbtack customers report paying, on average, between $5,100-$7,150 for their remodeled basement. A finished basement provides you additional living space, increases your home’s value, and offers great return on investment when it comes to home improvement projects.
What’s in This Cost Guide?
- What Factors Affect the Cost of a Basement Remodel?
- How Much Does it Cost to Finish a Basement?
- Cost of Basement Lighting and Electrical Wiring
- Cost of Basement Plumbing
- Cost of Basement Framing
- Cost of Installing Basement Flooring
- Cost of Installing Doors and Trim
- Building Permits
- What are the Types of Basement Remodeling?
- How to Hire a Basement Remodel Contractor
What Factors Affect the Cost of a Basement Remodel?
The average cost of basement remodeling varies based on the square footage of the basement space, if structural changes are needed, and if you are adding in elements such as electrical work for a kitchenette or plumbing for a half bath. Other factors in cost include whether you have design plans already and what work you want done on the finishes such as trim and flooring. Here’s a breakdown of the various cost factors.
How Much Does it Cost to Finish a Basement?
Finishing a basement can cost between $25–$50 per square foot on average, depending on how the basement is finished, whether any challenges come up or whether there are special circumstances with the project. For this reason, a 1,000-square-foot basement can cost up to $50,000 or more to finish. Virgil Miranda of Virgil Miranda’s Construction, a general contracting company based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, says it can be tricky to estimate remodeling jobs based on square footage alone, due to the variance in each job. Larger basements may have a lower cost per square foot than tiny remodel jobs.
Cost of Basement Lighting and Electrical Wiring
Installing electrical outlets and lighting in a standard basement can cost between $1,000–$1,500 on average, plus the costs of fixtures and switches. Because most lack natural light, basements require extra attention to lighting from artificial sources. This price can vary based on your zip code and the extent of the electrical work needed.
Cost of Basement Plumbing
Installing a bathroom in a basement costs more than installing a bathroom above ground. Costs can range from $2,500 to $5,000 on average, depending on the number of fixtures and whether the plumbing must be installed from scratch or if it’s roughed in already. Basement plumbing requires special considerations to ensure proper drainage and tie-in with the main sewer line, which may not be deep enough to allow the basement bathroom plumbing to use gravity the way above-ground plumbing does. Virgil Miranda’s Construction subcontracts all plumbing work. Miranda says that sometimes the toilet alone in a basement can cost up to $2,500 because sometimes homeowners need to invest in a toilet that does not use gravity but instead a macerating function to grind waste down to prevent clogging. Miranda estimates that each bathroom fixture in a basement costs $800–$900 on average, so a full, three-piece bath could cost $3,000 for the fixtures alone. Adding a kitchenette or wet bar sink adds more to overall refinishing costs. In addition, some basements require a French drain with one or more sump pumps, which can cost up to $10,000 on average, depending on how much ground the drain covers.
Cost of Basement Framing
If the basement space is open—without any separation of rooms—the contractor will need to do the interior framing necessary to define the rooms and spaces. A ballpark cost for framing in a 1,000-square foot basement is $1,000, but this can vary depending on the layout of the basement and any existing structural issues.
Cost of Installing Basement Flooring
Flooring in a basement sometimes requires special consideration because of the below-ground location. Before the flooring goes down, the contractor may install a layer that acts as a moisture barrier, such as dimpled polyethylene. Carpet or vinyl flooring can cost about $1,500 for an average basement and hardwood can cost up to $4,000.
Cost of Installing Doors and Trim
Miranda of Virgil Miranda’s Construction says he typically charges $1.25 per linear square foot to install baseboards and trim and $125 per door, not including materials costs. Contractors will have varying prices depending on your zip code and the extent of the work you want done.
City building permits and inspections may be required to ensure that a basement refinishing project meets building code requirements—especially if a bathroom or kitchenette is added. Most contractors take care of pulling the permits and scheduling inspections and add the cost to the final bill.
What are the Types of Basement Remodeling?
There are several types of basement remodeling depending on the outcomes you want. Whether you have nothing but damp concrete walls and floors or you have a finished basement with painted walls, a pool table and a wet bar will determine the scope of work for your basement remodel and the cost. Here are some common basement remodeling projects that homeowners take on and their related costs.
Finish Versus Remodel
When it comes to basement remodels, the most costly way is to start with bare bones. If all you have is concrete walls and floors, you need to add framing, electrical, plumbing, flooring and trim. Basement finishing in a newer home that already has plumbing and electrical roughed in, a watertight foundation and some insulation installed—but no final finishes (like drywall or paint or carpet)—usually costs less than remodeling an already finished basement. This is because when you already have a finished basement, the pros will need to do demolition at the beginning of the project, which can add $500–$1,500 to overall costs.
Waterproofing and Moisture Control
Because basements are usually below ground level, water seepage and moisture issues have to be resolved before construction can start. Prior to creating a project bid, most contractors will inspect the area to check the interior floor and walls for dampness and make sure the exterior of the foundation is in good shape. Depending on how watertight the basement and foundation are, it may be necessary to protect the basement from future water damage after it’s finished, often through the installation of sump pumps. This work can cost anywhere from $700-$3,000, depending on what needs to be done. Learn more about basement waterproofing. To help prevent moisture problems, homeowners can clear downspouts and gutters of debris to ensure that they help keep moisture away from the foundation.
Audio-visual and Home Theater Installation
Basements converted into game rooms or home theaters may include special audio-visual features that will be part of the electrical finishing. These electrical additions can cost a few hundred dollars or a couple thousand, depending on the exact setup—not including the movie theater chairs, projector screen, and surround sound speakers.
Changing the weight-bearing features in your basement will usually increase the cost. It may also require you to obtain permits that prove you have architectural designs in place.
How to Hire a Basement Remodel Contractor
Hiring a contractor is the first step in your basement remodel. Unless you’re a qualified professional, taking on framing, electrical and plumbing work is not recommended. Here are steps to follow to find a trustworthy pro.
- Read reviews. Start with someone whose clients love them. Look for reviews that include words like responsive, good communication, and honest
- Search the pro’s contractor’s license to verify they are in good standing with the state board. As an example, in California, search the California State Contractors Board to learn if the license is up to date, if they have any legal action against them and if the contractor is in good standing. Some states only require contractors licenses for residential projects based on price, so research your region to be safe. For more information on smart hiring, check out our safety tips.
- Request quotes. Once you’ve narrowed down by reviews and confirmed they’re legit with their contractors license, invite 2-3 contractors to provide you a free estimate
- Compare estimates. Factor in scope of work, materials being used, and company experience when choosing
- Sign a contract. Outline all the details of the project and type and quantity of materials.
- Pay deposit. Typically a deposit is not more than 10 percent of total estimate
How to Save Money on a Basement Remodel
Sourcing supplies, clearing debris, and doing prep work can all help you save on basement costs. Consider what skills you have and talk with your contractor about what will shave money in each area. You may have the tools and strength to demo walls, which can save you several hundred dollars. Sourcing the materials for the pro takes this task off their labor time and saves you money. Doing prep work and finish work is also a way to cut down on total cost. Painting the walls yourself at the end of the project could save you hundreds of dollars. Negotiate all these aspects before signing your contract.
What Are the Benefits of a Remodeled Basement?
Basement remodeling adds value to your home, increases your useable living space, can protect your foundation from moisture damage, and looks great. Many people remodel a basement to create space for an aging parent or to make room for more children. Another reason for basement remodeling is to create a rentable space that is separate from the rest of your home for a long-term renter or for short-term renting.