Finishing your basement is a smart home improvement as it can create more habitable home space. Your unfinished basement can be the ideal room to renovate because you don’t have to pay for additional foundation, roofing, or exterior walls.
It also allows you to flex your creativity. You can remodel your basement into a guest bedroom, home theater, home office, or playroom that the upstairs house may need.
Although your basement remodeling project is a great way to extend your living space, the process can be challenging. There are complications that you must contend with before getting started.
Knowing a renovation’s potential pitfalls and challenges will make the process easier and less stressful. Despite the potential issues, a basement remodel is more affordable than constructing a new addition to the home.
This guide will explain how much it costs to remodel your basement, the potential hurdles to overcome, and how you can save money on your remodel.
How Much Does it Cost to Remodel Your Basement
According to HomeAdvisor, you can expect to pay the following average cost to remodel your basement:
- National average: $21,600
- Typical range: $12,150 to $33,314
- Low-end: $3,850
- High-end: $50,000
The cost to remodel your basement depends on several factors, including materials and labor and the size of your basement. The total cost for a basement remodel is $30 to $75 per square foot.
It’s helpful for planning to determine how much your remodel may cost based on the size of your basement. In general, you can expect to pay the following prices for your basement to remodel:
- Small (300-700 square feet): $9,000 to $52,500
- Medium (700-1500 square feet): $21,000 to $112,500
- Large (1,500 to 2,000 square feet): $45,000 to $150,000
- Extra-Large (2,000 to 4,000): $60,000 to $300,000
Potential Hurdles to Overcome
Typically, a basement is below ground. Because of their location, there may be basement-specific remodeling issues that you may encounter that you wouldn’t experience in other rooms.
We’ll review some of the most common issues you may encounter when you remodel your basement and how to mitigate them.
Moisture and Water Damage
Moisture is a common issue when remodeling your basement. Basements are sometimes damp and do not have the same ventilation as other rooms. As a result, mildew and mold can grow in the space.
Water damage is a natural progression from moisture in your basement. Water may enter the basement from the following:
- Foundation cracks or walls
- Pipe leaks
What you can do:
- Inspect your basement regularly and fix issues immediately
- Install a dehumidifier
- Keep your foundation clear of standing water
HVAC and Plumbing
HVAC and plumbing pipes are sometimes located in the basement. It can be tough to work around existing pipes and structures. If you make a mistake–like piercing a line–it can be costly and time-consuming.
What you can do:
- Hire a pro to handle HVAC and plumbing
- Plan walls with HVAC and plumbing in mind
Poor Lighting and Ventilation
Your basement may be a dark and damp space. Since it’s underground, the darkness and dampness may get exacerbated by a lack of sunlight and ventilation.
The lack of lighting and ventilation may result in moisture or water damage.
What you can do:
- Install a window or skylight to let in natural light
- Install vents or fans to increase airflow
While you don’t have to create a new foundation or exterior walls when remodeling your basement, you still need to be aware of structural issues. Basement walls and ceilings can collapse if they aren’t adequately supported.
What you can do:
- Carefully place with load-bearing walls
- Have an engineer inspect the space and provide a report on potential issues
- Reinforce walls and ceilings
Basements can have limited space. As a result, you’ll need to be efficient with the area as you plan a basement remodel.
What you can do:
- Be creative with your square footage
- Save space with storage
- Use wall space to save floor space
Things That Could Impact Your Basement Remodeling Costs
The things that could impact your basement remodeling cost include the scope of your renovation project, material costs, labor costs, and permits.
The average cost for a basement remodel is $21,700, but you can pay as little as $3,600 and as much as $50,000, depending on the size and complexity of the project. What follows is a general guide on what impacts the project cost.
The cost depends on the type of insulation you choose. You can select fiberglass, blown-in, spray foam, radiant, or rigid insulation.
Generally, you can expect to pay between $1,400 and $6,300 to insulate a basement.
Generally, a ceiling will cost between $900 and $2,400. Typical ceiling types include:
- Drywall ceiling: $1.50 to $6.65 per sq. ft.
- Drop ceiling: $9 to $13 per sq. ft.
- Painted ceiling: $2 to $5.50 per sq. ft.
For an average basement (1000 sq. ft.), drywall installation costs between $2,011 to $2,517 or $2.01 to $2.52 per sq. ft.
Electrical and wiring
For a 1,000-square-foot basement electrical and rewiring project, you’ll pay between $800 and $1,500 for an electrician. The price depends on the type of electrical work, electrical wiring and circuits, outlets, and light fixtures.
Bob Vila recommends vinyl laminate flooring for a basement because it’s waterproof and doesn’t typically require an underlayment. On average, vinyl flooring costs between $1 to $14 per sq. ft.
On average, it costs $1,200 to frame a basement; framing without drywall is between $3 to $6 per linear foot; framing with drywall is $5 to $10 per linear foot.
Painting or wallpaper
The cost depends on whether you DIY or hire a pro; you’ll spend between $500 to $4,500 on the project.
For a basement remodel, you or your general contractor will need to secure building permits. The scope and complexity of the job dictate what types of permits you need. Typically, you’ll pay between $452 and $2,441 for permits.
You’ll need to install or replace plumbing if you want to finish your basement to include a basement bathroom, laundry room, or wet bar. A plumber may cost you anywhere between $350 to $2,000.
Planning a Basement Remodeling
A basement renovation gives you space to stretch and relax, and it’s one of the 10 best upgrades that improve your home’s value and has a solid return on investment.
Step 1: Assess your space
Inspect your basement and think about the form and function of your space. Do you want it to be a game room? Or you may want it to be an additional bedroom. Think hard about how you want to use the space.
You have to account for immovable things, including, but not limited to:
- Beams and columns
- Electrical panel
- Sump pump
- Water heater
- Well pump
As you assess your space, check with local code enforcement officials before finalizing your floor plan.
Step 2: Account for beams and columns
You can’t move the beams and columns in your basement, so you need to include them in your floor plan.
You’ll need to find solutions for your beams as you finish your basement. Some possible solutions include:
- Use the bottom of the beam to set your basement ceiling height
- Line your walls up with the beam
Columns provide integral support, so you won’t be able to move them. To reduce the visibility of columns, you can:
- Decorate them with trim and moldings
- Hide them within walls
- Make the columns part of your room’s decor
Step 3: Waterproof your basement
As mentioned, basements sometimes have moisture and water damage issues. If you find that your basement has problems with moisture, you must fix that before remodeling.
Basement waterproofing is critical, so you may need to consult a professional. Making sure your basement is waterproof before you get started ensures that you will avoid future catastrophic problems in the future.
Step 4: Floor plan
Your floor plan will need to include plans for exterior walls and space.
For your exterior walls, you’ll want to keep them as close to the outside walls of your home as possible to maximize your floor space.
When you plan your exterior walls, you need to be mindful of the following:
- Electrical panels
- Plumbing and pipes
Once the walls are planned, you should look at the space and determine what other walls you may include in your basement. Another option is to hire a professional designer to help design the floor plan. Their expertise may be well worth the cost.
Step 5: Source of Egress
If you choose to convert our basement to a bedroom, you’ll need to include a source of egress to the outside. This is required by local building codes and statutory regulations.
The source of egress can be a door or a window.
Step 6: Review the work
After the work is done, go through the basement with your contract and work orders, and make notes of discrepancies or unfinished work.
How to Save Money on a Basement Remodeling
You want to avoid cutting corners or violating codes while doing your basement remodel. Over time, the cost will catch up to you, and you’ll have to bring the construction to code, especially if you plan on selling your home.
But that doesn’t mean you must break the bank to remodel your basement. Here is a list of things you can do to save money on basement remodeling.
Research before the project
You can research open houses, online resources, and magazines to see how other homeowners have finished their basements. See as many examples of finished basements as possible to find budget-friendly renovations that you can use as an exemplar for your project.
Use a prefabricated egress window
If your basement remodel requires installing an egress window, you can opt for a prefabricated egress window.
Stick to the plan
Don’t make changes once the project gets underway. Contractors will charge premium prices because they have to change the entire plan and spend more time on the project. Both of those drives up material and labor costs.
Build fewer walls
An open basement floor plan will be less expensive because you’ll avoid additional walls and wiring.
Basement remodeling can be daunting, but if done right, it can add a lot of value to your home and increase its resale value. The exact cost of your basement project will depend on factors such as size, materials used, and the level of the renovation involved. A well-planned basement remodel can add value and function to your home while creating an enjoyable space to spend time in.