If you have an unfinished basement in your home, you might have long had plans to make it into a usable space. Your basement could be used for many different purposes; entertaining, exercising, watching movies, and another bedroom.
Your basement could become a valuable addition to your home, but at what cost? We will look at how much is a finished basement to ensure you have the budget to improve your home.
What does it cost to finish a basement?
The average finished basement cost varies depending on many things. The current condition and what you want to do to the basement are prominent factors.
Perhaps you want to add a bathroom or turn the space into a media room, and these choices will affect the cost.
Homeowners’ average finished basement cost is between $22 and more than $60 per square foot. You should budget around $20,000 to more than $65,000 to finish your basement.
However, if you want to create a few specialty rooms, with quality flooring, in a large basement, your costs could be considerably higher than these averages.
Many specialty finished basement projects could cost much more.
So do you have the budget to complete your basement project? Let’s look at a breakdown of construction costs:
- Framing; $7 to $16 per linear foot
- Flooring; $1 to $20 per square foot
- Waterproofing; $2 to $10 per square foot
- Electrical; $500 to $3,000
- Finishing; $5 to $8 per square foot
- Labor; $25 to $100 per hour
With the increase in lumber prices, framing has become more expensive. You can expect to pay at least $7 per foot of timber to frame the basement. This cost includes nails and other materials, but the cost will increase if you plan to use steel instead or if there are load-bearing walls.
The basement will probably need a subfloor if there isn’t one already. The subfloor can cost $2 to $7 and improve the insulation in the room.
The final cost of flooring depends on your choice of finishes and is where you can save if you need to. Vinyl flooring can cost just $1 per square foot, whereas you could pay $25 per square foot for a good wood floor.
Ensure the space is adequately waterproofed to prevent your newly finished basement from flooding. This can cost as much as $10 per square foot, depending on the size and what is required to keep the room dry.
It is worth the extra money to ensure you don’t have a mold or water problem.
If your basement already has lights and outlets, this cost will be lower, but if you are starting from scratch, it can cost up to $3,000 on average. If you already have electricity in the basement, you might only need some additional outlets and lights, reducing your expenses.
With the framing complete, drywall, insulation, and paint need to be added to the bill. Drywall costs around $2 per square foot, and insulation is a similar expense. Paint can cost between $2 and $4 per square foot, but don’t forget it isn’t just the walls; the ceiling also needs to be finished.
The labor cost will likely be your most significant expense in the project. Depending on your location, a good basement contractor could cost between $25 and $100 per hour.
You should get a few quotes before deciding on the contractor to hire. The quotes might not set out their pricing in the same way, however, and you need to compare them fairly.
Some might include the labor in the total project cost, though others could charge hourly. Also, research the contractor, check customer feedback, and ask them questions before you decide.
Other basement options
Sump pump installation
Even when waterproofing the basement, water could still ruin your new space. A sump pump will ensure water doesn’t accumulate, though it could cost over $1,000. If you live in an area more susceptible to flooding, this could be an important extra cost.
If you don’t already have furniture for your new living space, you need to budget to furnish the room.
You’ll want to make sure the basement area will be a nice place to be no matter what the weather is like outside. This might mean you need a new HVAC system if your current system cannot serve the new space.
There are many options when finishing a basement. It is essential to plan carefully and take out all the necessary permits. Consult with a local REALTORⓇ if you want to know the value added to your property upon completion.
If you plan on selling, you may be unable to recoup your investment immediately.
Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 35 years.