With the high costs of new construction, you may be thinking about turning your basement into a more functional room, such as an entertainment space, an extra bedroom, or even a home office.
That’s a great idea!
A freshly remodeled basement not only adds another viable room to your home to use and enjoy but also adds to its overall value. But don’t get carried away with your Pinterest boards just yet— every basement remodel comes with a strict budget, with the average basement remodel costing anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000.
The cost to spruce up your basement (or completely redo it) will depend on a variety of factors. Therefore, the most important things you’ll need to consider are how you plan to use your basement in the future as well as what you can afford to change.
Consider this your basement remodel guide, in which we’ll break down the factors that determine your ultimate basement remodeling cost and other things you need to be aware of.
Basement Remodel Vs Basement Renovation
The words “remodel” and “renovate” are often used interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the two, and it will directly affect the cost of your finished basement. This is why we want to give you a brief overview of what the differences are and how those differences may fit into your vision and budget.
For starters, a basement remodel typically involves changing its overall layout and adding or replacing finish materials. Finished materials would include things like;
- New flooring
- Fresh paint
- Replacing the panels of a drop ceiling
Remodeling can also mean changing the space’s purpose, such as installing a kitchen or entertainment center.
Essentially when you remodel your basement, you’re looking to repurpose it, which is why it can get pricey (especially if there’s a kitchen involved!)
On the other hand, renovations have to do with making repairs. For example, the most common basement renovation projects have to do with restorations for old homes or houses that have recently suffered damage from a fire or flood.
Renovating doesn’t change the space’s purpose, however, it can still become costly depending on the renovation needed, as it’s meant to restore the space to a like-new condition.
What Determines a Basement Remodeling Cost?
By now, you know that your basement remodel can run you just under $100,000. The greatest factor in determining what the potential costs will be so you can plan your budget appropriately is what you plan to use the basement for.
If you’re planning an entire remodel, then you’re obviously planning for more than storage — such as a living space. If living space is what you have in mind and your basement doesn’t already qualify as legally finished, it’ll have to be brought up to code.
This can tack on quite a bit to your remodeling costs, and it’ll also be a non-negotiable part of your budget.
What Qualifies as a Legally Finished Basement?
For a basement to be considered a legal living space, there are two crucial factors you must plan for (especially if you want to rent it out):
- Ceiling height: Legal basement living spaces require a minimum ceiling height of seven feet. Anything lower than that and your basement won’t qualify as a living space. What’s more, having to dig out your basement to gain ceiling height can run you between $3,000 to $4,000 for the architectural design alone.
- Egress (emergency exits): When it comes to your emergency exits, you’re required to have an egress window. The egress window must be positioned no more than 4’4” from the floor to the lower sill and be a minimum of 20” wide.
Now let’s jump into the other factors that will play a part in your basement remodel budget and costs:
The Basement’s Condition and Size
Your basement’s current condition and size are two very essential factors in determining its finished costs.
A partial remodel for a basement that’s less than 700 square feet could cost anywhere between $9,000 and $52,000. A complete remodel for a space with 4,000 square feet could be six times that amount. What’s more, a basement that has moisture problems or leaks will require waterproofing — which is another $7,000, give or take.
Subcontractors and Labor Needed
Each home comes with its own architectural layout and design. Therefore, no two basements are alike, which means that the remodeling project will likely require different subcontractors.
Starting with a redesign (and hiring a designer) can range from $2,000 to $13,000. A licensed electrician will charge between $500 and $2,500 to wire or require the whole basement. A plumber will charge between $400 and $1,800 or more to take care of existing plumbing and install new bathroom fixtures.
Again, much of this will depend on your basement’s size and current condition.
If you have to install new plumbing or want to add new walls for your basement remodel, you’ll likely need to file for permits with your local building authority before the job can be started. Permit and inspection fees vary by city and state, and may come as either a flat fee or a percentage of the basement remodel project’s estimated cost.
Generally speaking, permit fees can range from $100 to $2,000 or more. Your primary contractor will be in charge of getting those permits and they’ll include the costs in their invoice.
Materials, Appliances, Decor, etc
Depending on what you want to use your basement for, the materials, decor, and potential appliances will vary.
Take the flooring for example — hardwood can cost up to $15 per square foot or more for specialty wood and porcelain and ceramic tile can range from $1.50 to $5 per square foot. Stone tiles will cost a little bit more, but the type of flooring you’ll need will depend on what the basement is going to be used for.
Having said that, if you plan to turn your basement into an efficiency-style living space to rent out, you’ll have to budget for different types of flooring, appliances, and more. If you’re going to use your basement as an entertainment area, you’ll likely have more room in your budget for decor, furniture, and other items since you won’t have to worry about buying new appliances.
Tips For Saving on Your Basement Remodel
You may find that your basement is much bigger than your budget or you may just be thrifty and want to curb your spending. While you can’t cut corners in a way that violates official building codes, there are plenty of ways to save a few bucks on your remodel (without sacrificing quality or finish):
Choose a Prefabricated Egress Window
If your remodeling project requires egress installation, you’re looking at roughly $3,750 or more per egress window. Of course, this is if you’re like many homeowners that choose to go with the more expensive custom-made egress windows that align with the materials and design of the overall house.
However, you can cut costs here by purchasing prefabricated egress windows, which run for about $600 or $700 with an installation cost of around $900 — without compromising your home’s curb appeal.
Test Exterior Walls for Moisture
Basements are known for being damp and musty, which is typically due to groundwater from rain or melting ice and snow that seeps into the walls and floors. Plus, many homes have issues with interior sources of moisture as well.
Even if you’ve never had an issue with water damage, mold, or dampness, you still want to test for moisture before finishing your basement. If it turns out that you have moist walls, you’ll need to have them fixed before the project can start to save you from a large headache and renovation bill in the future.
Opt for Drop Ceilings
We know what you’re thinking — but hear us out:
Drop ceilings are an excellent money-saving option because they offer a finished look while allowing easy access to plumbing and wiring. You can also find premium drop ceiling tiles and grid rails for a nicer aesthetic.
These ceilings can shave money off of your remodel costs immediately and save you money in the future since you won’t need a contractor to cut into the basement’s ceiling to gain access to pipes and wires.
Cut Down on Studs
If your basement remodels plans involve adding extra rooms, you’ll need to put up walls to divide the space properly.
The good news is that for any walls that aren’t load-bearing and don’t have to hold up the house, you can forgo the number of studs needed. Non-load-bearing walls allow for the studs to be placed every 24-inches, which will significantly reduce the number of required studs from six to four in an eight-foot wall.
Plus, fewer studs in the walls can help reduce your energy costs by 5% by reducing thermal bridging. You’ll also be saving on labor costs and material costs.
Is it Time to Remodel Your Basement?
A lot goes into remodeling basements, so if you’re thinking about remodeling yours in the near future, it’s time to sit down and start planning.
Once you have an idea of what you want, book an appointment with Homeworx so we can check out the space, give you an estimate, and help you with your design ideas for the perfect finished basement. We’ll also help you make sure that your overall basement remodel cost fits within your budget.