Finished Basement: A Beginner’s Cost Guide

Are you contemplating finishing your basement? It could be that you want to expand your home’s living space, or want to increase the value of your home so that you get better money for it when you sell the property. Many factors will determine how much it costs, and one of them is how elaborate you want it to be.

Finished Basement: A Beginner’s Cost Guide

Here are some guidelines to help you figure out the cost and budget accordingly.

The Basics

On average, it costs $25-$50 to finish a basement per square foot. However, this can go up to $90 depending on the scope of the renovation and the type of labor and materials used. For the majority of basements, the average figure is around $30,000.

But these costs can vary a lot. Some people report spending somewhere between $5,000 and $40,000. It is a good idea to ask friends or members on online forums how much they used to finish their basements.

Other Factors That Affect the Cost of Finishing a Basement

Apart from the size of your basement, another important thing is labor cost. Most of us are not skilled contractors, and so you have no option but to pay up. Labor costs tend to vary a lot from one place to the other.

So, what drives the labor costs? It involves setting up the plumbing and kitchen—should you want to install it. Also, there is installation for cabinets, an electrician, and someone to deal with drywall and painting. What’s more, if you can’t paint your walls, you will have to hire painters. Then there are materials and other furnishings you may choose.

Another thing that you need to factor in when computing costs is what type of basement finish you want. In case of a bathroom, do you want a half bath or full bath? Are you looking to have a full kitchen? Do you want a simple furniture set or more complex like a pool table, wet bar, and exercise machine? Will you add hardwood, carpeting, or stick with your concrete floor? These will determine how much you spend on finishing your basement.

Besides, expect the cost to go up because you will have to comply with the local building codes. If your basement will also act a sleeping place, then you must have a separate emergency exit that connects it to the main house. This could be an egress window. You need to comply fully with the local codes with regards to the dimensions of the window.

Cutting Costs

You can save money by going for a more modest project. If you won’t need a kitchen, have a half bath instead, it will help you save a bundle. Furthermore, you can do the wall painting yourself, or ask a friend to help you.

Opting for less expensive materials will help reduce the entire cost. But this is not to say that you should skimp on important materials.  You can buy more modest hardware, furnishing, and curtains if you are tight on budget.


There are many benefits of finishing a basement. It helps to expand the living area and improves the value of your home. This means it will fetch you a better price in case you sell it in the future. But often it’s not a cheap remodel. It involves buying materials and furnishings as well as catering for labor costs. The size of your basement will also affect the cost of finishing a basement.

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