The average basement remodel costs $18,500, but prices range from $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 homeowners report paying between $5,100 and $7,150 to remodel their basements.
Basement remodel cost:
|National average cost||$18,500|
|Typical cost range||$5,100-$7,150|
A remodeled basement provides you additional living space, increases your home’s value and offers a great return on investment when it comes time to sell your home.
To find out how much it will cost to remodel your basement (or renovate it), read this cost guide. Then, contact basement remodeling contractors near you for personalized price quotes.
What’s in this cost guide?
- Cost per square foot
- Basement remodel cost breakdown
- Basement remodeling cost factors
- Cost to finish basement
- Basement waterproofing cost
- Basement home theater cost
- Cost to convert basement into living area
- How to hire a basement remodeling contractor
- Find basement remodeling contractors near you
The average cost of basement remodeling varies depending on the basement's square footage, if structural changes are needed and if you're adding in other upgrades and elements, such as electrical work for a kitchenette or plumbing for a half bath.
Virgil Miranda of Virgil Miranda’s Construction, says it can be tricky to estimate remodeling jobs based on square footage alone, due to the variance in each job. But keep in mind that larger basements often have a lower cost per square foot than small basement remodeling projects.
|Project or subcontractor||Estimated cost|
|Electrician||$45-$120 per hour|
|Framing||$9-$21 per sq. ft.|
|Insulation||$0.17-$5 per sq. ft.|
|Lighting & electrical outlets||$1,000-$1,500|
|Plumbing||$450-$1,000 per fixture|
|Radiant heating||$5-$20 per sq. ft.|
Thinking about adding a bathroom to your basement? Well, installing a bathroom in a basement costs more than installing a bathroom above ground. Costs can range from $2,500-$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.
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 of framing in a 1,000-square foot basement is $1,000. However, prices can vary depending on the layout of the basement and any existing structural issues.
Installing electrical outlets and lighting in a standard basement can cost a total of $1,000-$1,500, on average, plus the cost of fixtures ($90-$250 per fixture) 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.
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 some homeowners need to invest in a toilet that doesn't use gravity but instead a macerating function to grind waste down to prevent clogging. He also 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 the overall basement remodeling costs.
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.
Here's how much different types of flooring costs:
|Carpet||$3-$6 per sq. ft.|
|Ceramic tile||$2.50-$3 per sq. ft.|
|Concrete||$3-$10 per sq. ft.|
|Engineered wood||$4-$9 per sq. ft.|
|Solid wood||$5-$10 per sq. ft.|
|Porcelain tile||$3-$10 per sq. ft.|
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 material costs). Contractors will have varying prices depending on your zip code and the extent of the work you want done.
You may need to obtain a city building permit and go through an inspection to ensure your basement remodeling project meets building code requirements. This is especially true if a bathroom or kitchenette is part of the project. Most contractors take care of pulling the permits and scheduling inspections, and add the cost to the final bill.
In total, finishing a basement costs between $25 and $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.
Because basements are usually below ground level, water seepage and moisture issues have to be resolved before construction can start. 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 and drains. In total, basement waterproofing costs $500-$3,500.
Before creating a project bid, most contractors will inspect the area to check the interior floor and walls for dampness and make sure the foundation's exterior is in good shape.
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. On average, installing a home theater costs $13,611.
It costs an estimated $46,900 to convert a basement into a living area, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and National Association of Realtors Remodeling Impact report.
How to hire a basement remodeling 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 customer reviews. Start with someone whose clients love them. Look for reviews that include words like responsive, good communication, and honest
- Look up 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 a deposit. Typically a deposit is not more than 10 percent of total estimate
Related content: How to hire a contractor.
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.
Basement remodel benefits
Not sure if the cost to remodel your basement is worth it? Consider these potential benefits:
- Add more value to your home.
- Increase your useable living space.
- Create space for an aging parent or additional family members.
- Create a rentable space for a long-term or short-term renter.
Remodeling your basement is a big, time-consuming home improvement project. To ensure your project is done right, enlist a pro's help. Search for top-rated basement remodeling contractors near you, and ask for cost estimates today.
What's the difference between remodeling a basement and finishing a basement?
You'll often hear people use "basement remodeling" and "basement finishing" interchangeably. However, there is a slight different. When you're finishing an unfinished basement, that means you're making it livable by adding walls, plumbing, electricity, flooring, insulation and more. Remodeling a basement means you're modifying a finished basement.