Basement Cost Guides

On This Page:

  1. Basement Finishing & Remodel Options
  2. Basement Remodel Considerations to Think About
  3. Foundations
  4. Water Leakage
  5. Conclusion

Finished basements can be the sites of stunning achievements or apocalyptic home disasters. Problems there can significantly decrease the value of your home, while cost-effective finishing work can add livable square footage, vastly increasing its value.

Whether you're thinking of remodeling your basement or you need to fix leaking or sinking foundations, the cost of your work will vary based on your geographical location, type of soil, kind of repair or enhancement and complexity or amount of work needed.

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  • Install Flooring Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $1,537 - $4,256
    Average cost:
    $2,852
    Low cost:
    $200
     
    High cost:
    $10,000
  • Install Countertops Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $1,758 - $3,740
    Average cost:
    $2,667
    Low cost:
    $400
     
    High cost:
    $7,000
  • Remodel a Basement Costs
    Most homeowners spent between:
    $10,579 - $26,972
    Average cost:
    $18,618
    Low cost:
    $5,000
     
    High cost:
    $40,000

Select your Basement project

Basements
Install Flooring
(4,848 projects)
Average National Cost:
$2,870
View Costs in Your Area
Basements
Install Countertops
(4,349 projects)
Average National Cost:
$3,248
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Basements
Remodel a Basement
(3,171 projects)
Average National Cost:
$18,618
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Basements
Build an Addition
(2,825 projects)
Average National Cost:
$40,915
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Basements
Repair a Sump Pump
(2,571 projects)
Average National Cost:
$457
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Basements
Install Cabinets
(2,529 projects)
Average National Cost:
$4,595
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Basements
Seal a Basement or Foundation
(1,960 projects)
Average National Cost:
$3,816
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Basements
Repair Cabinets
(1,872 projects)
Average National Cost:
$317
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Basements
Repair Countertops
(1,746 projects)
Average National Cost:
$344
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Basements
Reface Cabinets
(1,515 projects)
Average National Cost:
$6,688
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Basements
Refinish Cabinets
(1,467 projects)
Average National Cost:
$2,528
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Basements
Repair a Foundation
(1,418 projects)
Average National Cost:
$3,822
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Basements
Level or Mudjack Concrete Slabs
(699 projects)
Average National Cost:
$846
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Basements
Install a Sump Pump
(697 projects)
Average National Cost:
$1,062
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Basements
Inspect Waterproofing
(446 projects)
Average National Cost:
$6,313
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Basements
Install a Foundation
(322 projects)
Average National Cost:
$7,641
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Basements
Raise a Foundation
(240 projects)
Average National Cost:
$4,671
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Basements
Install Egress Windows
(150 projects)
Average National Cost:
$2,592
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Basements
Repair Basement Drainage
(38 projects)
Average National Cost:
$846
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Basements
Get a Building Permit
(33 projects)
Average National Cost:
$911
View Costs in Your Area

Basement Finishing & Remodel Options

An unfinished basement serves as a valuable blank canvas. A remodel can start with something as basic as hanging and painting simple sheetrock walls and installing plywood floors at a relatively low cost. Of course, the sky's the limit on remodeling and design projects in your home; and setting a budget for design is a bit easier than setting a budget for needed repairs.

Remember, even for the simplest remodeling projects, a permit as well as an inspection may be needed in order to ensure it is legal - especially if you are adding a bedroom or bathroom. For your remodel, you may have to place a special emphasis on lighting choices. Since basement spaces are generally darker than other above-ground spaces, you'll need to either install extra lighting or find a way (perhaps with egress windows) to open up and lighten the space with natural light.

Remodeled basements can mean additional living rooms, play rooms for the kids, home offices and a lot more. One advantage of remodeling a basement is that it's not generally an essential living space, so you can take your time, doing one area at a time. But be aware that, to save money, you'll want to do all of the necessary plumbing and electrical work while walls and floors are unfinished. Your basement probably houses some of your home's work engines: a boiler, hot water heater, furnace, maybe an extensive network of pipes carrying water or sewage. It's the area that's extremely susceptible to water damage and leakage. Whatever work you do, you probably will want to include waterproofing.

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Things to Think About

If you're doing a basement renovation, remember to work with your contractor to create a budget and payment schedule. Factor in cost of materials, labor and possibly time off if you need to let in the workers or be there during the day.

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Unfinished Basement or Remodel?

The biggest factor affecting your cost will be whether you’re starting from an unfinished basement or are just remodeling a finished one. You might think that starting from a blank slate would cost more on average, but in fact it costs less.

Starting from scratch doesn’t require demo, which can save you around $2,000.00. Framing may be necessary to define rooms and spaces. System upgrades usually call for minor expansions to the HVAC and electrical systems, but not adding plumbing. The bulk of the cost, however, is in flooring and finishing. After wrapping things up with carpeting, drywall, and ceiling material, you can expect to pay anywhere from $6,500.00 to $15,500.00.

Remodeling a finished basement is costlier. The demo can cost from $1,500.00 to around $3,000.00 to prep the site. System upgrades include expanding the HVAC and electrical, but even if you already have a bathroom in place, remodeling can add $1,000.00 to $4,000.00. Finally, the finishing work can be kept low if you stay with the basics, but upgrades to hardwood floors and other luxuries will add $7,000.00 to $10,000.00 to the job. On average, expect to pay $13,200.00 to $30,500.00 for this job.

Converting a finished basement from a general room to a full-service guest suite involves all of the above and then some. After adding or remodeling a bathroom, a kitchenette, cabinetry, HVAC and electrical upgrades, etc., you can easily spend $20,500.00 to $50,000.00.

Some houses only have partial basements. Extending your foundation is an involved job and can cost from $10,000.00 to $30,000.00 on top of the above estimates.

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Square Footage

Clearly, the size of the basement will be a factor. Labor costs make up the bulk of the project’s cost, so you might decide to tackle a small basement by yourself. You will still need to call an electrician and/or a plumber if adding any of those amenities. The costs below do not include these contractors.

  • Small Basement, <700 sq ft – DIY around $5,000.00. Call a pro around $15,000.00
  • Average Basement, 700 to 1,000 sq ft – DIY around $8,000.00. Call a pro around $18,531.00
  • Large Basement, 1,000+ sq ft – DIY $15,000.00 and up. Call a pro around $30,000.00 to $40,000.00

The finishing touches you choose, such as ceiling, flooring, and other features, will add to your final costs to varying degrees. When designing your basement, remember to include such features into your budget.

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Timing

How fast you need the job done will have a significant, if widely varied, impact on your final cost. A professional team can take a basement from framing to finished in as little as 45 days. A DIYer doing the work as he or she can will take a lot longer. If things need to be inspected, inspectors work on their own schedule, and if concrete needs to be poured, nothing can change how long it takes to properly set.

If time is of the essence, you might consider a basement finishing kit. A finishing kit has insulated wall panels, and some include a walkable flooring surface and ceiling material that you install yourself. Depending on the size of your basement, these kits can be installed in as little as a weekend. However, “finished” does not mean “furnished”. The floor won’t be carpeted, the walls won’t be painted, and there will be no electrical or plumbing. Other features such as doors, rooms, etc., will still be up to you.

The cost of a finishing kit ranges from around $4.75 sq ft for just wall panels that you install yourself to $30,000.00 for the walls, ceiling, and floor installed by a professional team.

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Your Home’s Systems

Basements are where you will find your home’s comfort systems. Plumbing for sinks, baths, and toilets are found running along the ceiling and down the walls to boilers or water heaters and/or drainage pipes. Sump pumps, furnaces and HVAC systems also reside here. When finishing your basement, you need to design around these systems because they usually can’t be relocated.

One solution is to paint ceiling pipes the same color as the ceiling to hide them or else in bright colors to make them interesting. Putting a water heater in a closet is a consideration, but such things have specific codes to be followed. Large systems like boilers and HVAC units are not so easily tucked away.

Professionals agree that the utility room should not be finished. The ventilation and drainage requirements for these systems are very specific, and you need easy access to the systems for inspection and repair. Consult a professional before settling on a design to save yourself a real catastrophe.

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Rooms & Features

How your basement will be used will determine a lot of things. For example, if it will be a living space such as a bedroom, egress windows are required. Here are some other uses and features to consider:

  • Playroom – A playroom for the kids should have plenty of kid-friendly features such as soft carpeting, bright colors, and storage for toys. Open floor space will give them room to run around and for larger toys like playhouses.
  • Entertainment – Many people turn their basements into home theaters. Plenty of seating centered around a large TV or a projection TV aimed at a large screen makes a trip to the movies as easy as going downstairs.
  • Rumpus Room – A wet bar makes entertaining guests very enjoyable. Plumbing and electrical systems need to be fairly specific for their functions, and a half-bath will be appreciated.
  • Rec Room – For older children, a rec room with a video game system and other games creates a safe hangout. Stereo systems and a small fridge and microwave for snacks will finish the space nicely.
  • Home Office/Workshop – A place to get away from the noise of a full house so you can get things done is the perfect use for a basement. You don’t need much space, but you will need to have electrical systems run for your computer, lighting, and other features. Depending on what you’re working on, you may need specific temperature/humidity controls
  • Laundry Room – Perfect if you have a small space, a laundry room can have cabinetry for holding supplies, a table for folding and sorting, racks for things that must be hung to dry, and you can tap into the washing machine’s plumbing for a utility sink.
  • Suite – If you have a large basement, you might consider a suite of rooms especially if you have an elderly parent or an adult child moving in. In this case a bedroom, living room, and bathroom can be put in for maximum comfort.

The finishing touches for a finished basement can make it as nice as any house you’ve ever lived in. Recessed lighting keeps your headspace as high as possible while crown molding adds a touch of luxury. Wall-to-wall carpeting or even hardwood flooring makes your basement look like it was always part of the living space. Paint and wallpaper can add warmth while built-in storage adds function and room.

Finally, if the space is too big to be a single room but too small to be multiple rooms, consider visually dividing the room with a counter. It can be small for children to use as a craft table, or it can be a tall counter for a snack counter or whatever else you can imagine.

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Floors, Walls, Ceilings

Once you have the drywall and floor surface in place, your basement is considered “finished” by technical standards, but probably not by yours. To make the space comfortable you need to think about the finishing touches.

  • Ceilings – Pipes and ductwork often hangs lower than the joists. This makes a smooth ceiling impossible. Many repurposed urban spaces mask these features by painting them and the ceiling the same color. A sprayer can be rented for about $100.00 a day, or you can hire a pro for around $300.00 to $500.00. Drop ceilings are overcoming their bad reputations with acrylic panels that imitate other materials or have attractive patterns. They cost from $2.00 to $6.00 per square foot. If your pipes and ducting are above the joists, you can drywall the ceiling or use sheet paneling. Drywall costs about $15.00 per panel, while sheet paneling costs about $12.00 to $30.00 Per panel. Finally, tongue and groove wood such as pine looks great and doesn’t weight much, making it perfect for a warmth-adding ceiling. Expect to pay between $1.25 and $2.70 per square foot for the paneling.
  • Walls – Walls can be finished in any manner that you finish any interior wall. Exterior walls can be framed and insulated, or they can have insulated panels attached. This option will vary in price depending on manufacturer and level and type of insulation. Wall panels that come with basement finishing kits should be checked to see if they can be painted or papered.
  • Floors – When your flooring surface is laid down, you can decide on flooring. Carpeting costs an average of $1498.00 for a typical space, but you could also use tiles ($1,588.00), vinyl ($357.00), or even wood flooring ($4,240.00).

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Permits

If your project involves electrical, plumbing, or turning your basement into a livable space, you need permits. Plumbing must be done to code to ensure proper drainage to avoid health issues. It also has to avoid flushing certain waste back into the sewer. Electrical issues can cause short-circuits, blown breakers, and even fires. The chance of something happening increases greatly if not done properly, and so such tasks need permits. If you’re creating a bedroom or other room that will be routinely occupied, you will definitely need permits. Proper means of escape in an emergency must be in place, and a host of other requirements must be met.

Failure to get the proper permits could result in having to take down everything you worked so hard to put up. You could also face fines. A “stop work order” could be issued if you are caught in the act, and this usually causes double the fees when you do go for a permit. If you have to file an insurance claim and can’t produce any permits, the insurance company may deny the claim. A remodel without permits could also affect the resale value of your home.

Permits for most jobs as this don’t cost much, often around $50.00. It’s far more expensive if you try to cut that cost!

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Foundations

Remodeling is a good time to have your foundation inspected. If you notice that metal items such as pipes are rusting, the problem may be humidity instead of a leak, but it can be just as damaging. Waterproofing your basement and using a dehumidifier can help keep dampness from wreaking havoc.

Old homes may suffer from sagging foundation beams as a result of shifting ground or decay and deterioration of the original building materials over time. Foundation beams can be raised and shored up successfully, but It's important to have the right tools for this type of project, like a pneumatic jack. Depending on how much the foundation beam must be raised, this job may require several days of incremental steps to complete - which means a lot of labor costs. Hiring a team is the best way to handle this job. Unless you're extremely well trained and skilled, you'll want to avoid do-it-yourself work on the foundation. $10,000.00 is not unheard of for some repairs, such as for a shifted foundation.

When remodeling you may find pillars in the way of your design. These pillars are supporting your house, so design around them. They should never be moved without consulting a professional. In fact, any alterations to the structure of your basement or foundation should be done by a professional.

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Water Leakage

Water leakage in a basement can cause serious problems for a homeowner. Standing water can lead to mold and mildew growth. It's also a haven for bugs and other pests. Over time, concrete blocks and foundations can sustain hairline cracks. While they may appear small on the surface, they can be the start of an enormous problem, so early repair is key. The only way to rectify a water problem in your basement is to remove the water and seal the leaks. This may involve removing existing paint or wall coverings. It may involve replacing soggy beams.

Waterproofing comes in a variety of techniques. It depends on the source of the water and how bad it is. On average, waterproofing a basement costs around $7,000.00, though minor waterproofing can cost as little as $300.00 to $500.00. Be sure to get multiple quotes and details about the job. You should have your basement checked before beginning any remodel.

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In Conclusion

A finished basement can add valuable living space to your home, and your design is limited only by your budget and your imagination. When going underground, the sky’s the limit!

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