When it comes to renovating a basement, many people are eager to get started. However, they often fail to calculate a proper budget, which can lead to disappointment. Many people are surprised by how much it costs to finish a basement, and they end up going over budget. This can be very exasperating and leave people feeling disappointed and discouraged. Many people are tempted to cut costs, but this is something that should be avoided at all costs.
It’s worth pointing out that finishing a basement can entail making some tough decisions. It’s not just about the design and the décor; it’s also about ensuring that you never go over budget. If you want to know how much it costs to finish a basement, it’s imperative that you sit down and create a budget first. This will help ensure that you don’t spend more than is necessary.
Many people attempt to save money by using cheaper materials. However, this can cause problems in the future. If your basement floods, then the lower quality materials may not be able to handle the water. This is why it’s vital that you choose sturdy and long-lasting materials.
The Average Expense To Finish Your Basement
The average price to renovate a basement is $24-$30 per square foot. However, the cost can range from $12-$45 per square foot, depending on the extent of the work that needs to be done.
Some of the components that may influence the cost include the following:
The size of the basement
The average size in a US home is around 500 square feet. This means that the average homeowner will spend approximately $14,000 to finish their basement. Of course, this number will diverge depending on the size and features of your basement.
The type of materials used
The quality of materials used to finish your basement can affect the final cost. Cheaper materials may be less durable and require more frequent repairs, which can add up over time. Conversely, more expensive materials may last longer but may be more difficult to install. Ultimately, it’s paramount to weigh the pros and cons of each option to find the best value for your money.
The complexity of the project
No two basement finishes are alike, as each comes with its own set of unique challenges and complexities.
Some clients prefer a more simplistic and open-plan basement, while others prefer more complex finishes with features like a home theater or bar. Depending on your needs and pursestrings, there are a variety of finishes you can choose from to customize your basement. Some of the most popular options include:
- Flooring: Choose from various flooring materials like hardwood, tile, or carpet.
- Walls: Add some texture to your basement with plaster, drywall, or paneling.
- Ceiling: Give your basement a finished look with a textured or painted ceiling.
- Lighting: Choose from various lighting options to create the perfect atmosphere.
The contractor you choose
It’s essential to choose the right craftsperson for your basement. Carry out due diligence and make sure you are selecting a trusted and honest builder. Some things you may want to examine when choosing a contractor include:
- Their experience with basement finishing: how many years have they been in the basement finishing business?
- The quality of their work: do they charge less than their competitors because they buy the cheapest materials?
- How they handle customer service and complaints: do they take a receptive and pragmatic approach to queries and critiques, or are they hostile if they feel their work is being discredited?
- The amount of time they estimate the project will take to complete: make sure they offer you a realistic timeframe, especially if you have a busy schedule of your own. The worst thing you should want is to be given a 6-week turnaround, only to find out the project takes 12 weeks for whatever reason.
- What type of assurance do they offer on their work: as a paying client, you are entitled to certain rights—the right to a completed finished basement for starters. Also, you have the right to be safe in the knowledge that if there are any incidents resulting from the work that was carried out, you will be compensated accordingly or that repairs will be made immediately.
- Before a contractor begins any renovation, a 90-day guarantee is generally required. Make sure you ask about this when speaking with your contractor. This way, if anything major goes wrong after the work has been completed, there will be enough time to open up a dispute and have it resolved before the warranty expires.
The contractor’s experience
When it comes to finishing a basement, it’s important to hire a contractor who has extensive experience in the field. This is not an undertaking that ought to be overlooked – it can be very tricky to get everything just right, and if something goes wrong, it can cost a lot of money. Plus, if you’re not familiar with the process, you could easily make a mistake that would be costly and difficult to fix.
That’s why it’s principal to find a contractor who knows what they’re doing. Preferably, you want someone who has been doing this for a while and has a good track record. This way, you can be sure that the job will be done well and that any potential problems will be avoided.
Fees and permits required
When you are planning to finish your basement, it is important to have a frank and upfront discussion with the contractor about all the expenses that you will incur. This includes the cost of the materials and labor and any permits or inspections that may be required. It is also essential to verify that you are clear on what is included in the contractor’s estimate and the additional cost.
It is critical to consider that there can be a lot of hidden costs when finishing a basement, so it is best to be as prepared as possible. By having a clear understanding of what to expect, you can avoid any surprises down the road.
Disposal of waste
Making sure you and your contractor agree as to who is responsible for waste disposal during and after the project is essential. This will help to steer clear of any uncertainty or disagreements down the road.
How Do Contractors Charge?
Some contractors charge for the project. Others charge by the hour. And others charge a flat rate, which may sometimes be negotiable, depending on the extent of the work that needs undertaking and how much they think it will cost them for materials and time.
By the hour VS flat fee
Hourly contractors usually charge more than those who charge a flat fee, but the total cost may be lower if the job takes longer than expected. A contractor who charges by the hour may also be less likely to rush through the position to make more money. However, a contractor who charges a flat fee may be more likely to take shortcuts to make more money.
Ultimately, it is down to the homeowner to conclude which option is best for them. However, it is possible to find out which type of contractor you are dealing with by asking these questions during the initial meeting.
- What if the basement finishing project takes longer than expected?
- What happens if hidden problems arise that result in additional costs?
- What if the job doesn’t end up looking like how you imagined it would?
If the contractor charges by the hour, this should not be a problem because you will simply pay them an hourly rate for the amount of time they have worked. If the contractor charges a flat fee, it is crucial to get everything in writing to avoid misunderstandings later on.
Your Costs: Broken Down
Finishing your basement can be a costly endevor, but it can also be worth the cost. Here is a breakdown of the expenses for each part of your basement project:
The average cost to frame a basement ranges from $18 to $40 per square foot. This price can change depending on the size of the basement, the materials used, and the contractor you hire. For example, pine costs less than oak, and you can usually go up in quality to get a corresponding price increase.
On average, your total cost for framing will be between $2,000 and $8,000. Naturally, this is just an estimated figure, but it is helpful to have an idea of what the project will cost before you get started.
Insulation and vapor barrier
The average price for insulation and a vapor barrier is $35 to $60 per square foot. So, an average size basement measuring 800 square feet would run between $28,000 and $48,000. This, too, can vary depending on the type of materials used and which contractor you hire.
The average price to have an electrician run a few new circuits and install some lights is $36 per hour. So, you can expect to pay between $600 and $1,800 for this part of your basement finishing project. This cost can range depending on how many lights and circuits you need to be installed.
Heating and air conditioning
If the furnace is not already in the basement, the average price of a stove installed is between $2,200 and $3,500. A central air conditioning unit costs around the same. If your home already has a furnace and central air conditioning, but you want to upgrade them, you can expect to fork out anywhere from $1,200 to $7,000 for an installation.
The average drywall cost for your basement is $1.50 per square foot. This price covers the cost of materials and labor. Keep in mind that prices may vary depending on your location and the size of your basement.
In terms of labor, an experienced carpenter should be able to complete the job in about a week. This is a very reasonable time period considering that there are over 500 square feet of space that need to be drywalled and taped before you can enjoy your new finished basement.
Tile can cost anywhere from $.80 to $4 per square inch, depending on the type of materials that you choose. Your total cost for a typical basement floor measuring 800 square feet will be between $640 and $3,200 for materials only. This price also includes the cost of labor. However, keep in mind that the more intricate the pattern, the higher your costs will be.
The price for drop ceiling installation can vary depending on the type of material that you choose, but it typically runs anywhere from $1 to $3 per square foot. The average basement will require about 400 square feet of drop ceiling tiles, which will cost between $400 and $1200 in materials only. As with other aspects of your basement finishing project, this cost may vary depending on your location, time of year, and which contractor you hire.
Tongue and Groove
The average price for tongue and groove is $2.85 per square foot. Tongue and groove installation also requires finishing materials like paint or varnish, which can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $4,500, depending on the quality of your choice. Labor costs are about $1.20 per square foot. So, if your basement is 800 square feet, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,200 to $5,000 for materials and labor.
Installing stairs in your basement will cost about $360 per linear foot. So, if you are building a set of staircases that measure 25 feet total, your total cost will be around $9,000. Keep in mind that the cost will be higher if you choose to build stairs with concrete instead of wood.
Adding a bathroom
The price for installing a bathroom in your basement will depend on the type of materials that you choose. For example, adding ceramic tile to the floor typically costs $1 per square foot, while linoleum costs about $4 per square foot. Installing a bathroom in your basement can cost anywhere from $11,000 to $27,000, depending on the size of the bathroom and if you choose to have mosaic tiles or other decorative elements included.
Adding a kitchen
A basic kitchen with appliances typically costs anywhere from $18,000 to $29,000 for installation. This price differs depending on the variety of materials that you choose for your kitchen. For example, counters made from engineered stone cost about $1.45 per square foot, while quartz costs around $7 per square foot. Cabinets are typically priced between $12 and $24 per linear foot. Installing a tiled backsplash costs about $2.50 per square foot, while painting the kitchen walls costs between $1 and $1.80 per square foot.
Sealing and Waterproofing
Installing a perimeter drain system typically costs $1,800 to $3,500. You will also need to purchase waterproofing materials that can cost anywhere from $.70 to $7 per square foot, varying based on the type of material you choose. For instance, masonry waterproofing runs around $3 per square foot, while chemical waterproofing averages $7 per square foot.
Your completed basement will also require some furnishings. The average sofa set costs between $700 and $1,500, while a dining room table is about $120 less than that. A coffee table typically runs around $180, while bedroom furniture can cost anywhere from $700 to $18,000, depending on the type of materials that you choose.
The cost to transform your basement into an apartment can vary depending on the size of the apartment. The average one-bedroom apartment, for example, measures about 650 square feet. So, you can expect costs to range anywhere from $8,800 to $24,000 for materials and labor. Keep in mind that this also includes furniture costs for a basic bedroom set and a sofa.
Your basement can also be transfigured into a bedroom. The average size for this type of renovation is 420 square feet. You’ll need to purchase materials and hire a contractor to install them to complete the project. This will typically run around $13,000 to $21,000 for supplies and labor.
If your basement is large enough, it can also be transformed into a closet space. The average size for this type of project is 30 square feet. It will cost you anywhere from $2,000 to $3,800, depending on the materials that are used for constructing your custom closet space.
As you can see, the cost will vary depending on the size of your basement, your location, what materials you select, and how much work is required to complete your project. Suppose you have more specific questions about what it will cost for a contractor to finish your basement. This will help you obtain a better understanding what the average cost is in your region and how much it will cost for specific materials.
How Avi’s Remodeling Can Help You
If you’re looking for a trusted contractor to finish your basement, look no further than Avi’s Remodeling. We’ve been helping homeowners like you transform their basements into functional and beautiful living spaces since 1994. Whether you need a bathroom added or an apartment built out, we can help breathe new life into your basement!