Basements can be daunting spaces for remodeling. Cluttered, dark, and chilly, basements often convince homeowners to turn their attention to other projects in the home. But basements don't have to stay that way. They can be remodeled and finished so that they not only integrate with the rest of the home, but become a beautiful and valuable asset to the property.
You've finally decided to do something with that empty basement space. That's half the battle right there. So what do you consider first? The number one thing to start planning your basement is what will it be used for? Do you just want a large finished space to add square footage, do you need more bedrooms, or do you want that great "play" space with a bar and pool table? Addressing what function you want the basement to provide is the foundation for how you will proceed. Some of the considerations which may affect what you do with your space are: Budget - Do this first, figure out the most you can afford to spend, then create a design that includes everything you want. After you get bids, and material costs, you can add or subtract things to meet your budget.
Hardwood, laminate and tile flooring significantly increase the cost to finish a basement. Sebring, who calls carpet “the king of basement flooring,” says many people are scared about the consequences if a carpeted basement floods. But even top-of-the-line vinyl and tile has to be pulled up if there’s serious water damage, he says, and you can replace carpet multiple times for the same cost of installing hard flooring once.

If the water is coming from an external source such as poor landscape drainage or basement walls that are not properly constructed, that can require extensive preliminary work. In that case you’ll likely need a contractor and a professional evaluation of the problem, plus someone qualified and trained to eliminate the problem. You should address this problem as soon as possible to prevent further damage like rotting wood or flooding, and then return to your basement refinishing project once that issue is cured.
Search the pro’s contractor’s license to verify they are in good standing with the state board. As an example, in California, search the California State Contractors Board to learn if the license is up to date, if they have any legal action against them and if the contractor is in good standing. Some states only require contractors licenses for residential projects based on price, so research your region to be safe. For more information on smart hiring, check out our safety tips.
Most basements have a cement or concrete floor. If it’s level, the cheapest solution is to just use that as your floor, maybe covering it with rugs or a roll of vinyl flooring. If the concrete is not level or smooth enough you can add a thin layer of new concrete on top of it and smooth it with a trowel as you apply it. You can also add pigments to concrete to color it if you want a shade other than basic gray – such as terracotta, beige, or charcoal. Another option is to buy paint made for porches and patios and apply it over a primed water-sealing undercoat. You can find that kind of paint at a home improvement store, starting around $35 a gallon.
Installing all of the necessary plumbing and electrical work while walls and floors are unfinished will result in savings.Starting from scratch doesn't require demolition, which can save you around $2,000. 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 to $15,500.
Adding carpet to your extra bedroom is a great way to separate this space from your basement, and make the room feel like an escape. There’s nothing like getting up and putting your feet on a soft carpet. Another pro of carpet is that it’s cheaper than hardwood flooring, or other popular flooring options. The average cost to install carpeting is $1,628, with homeowners reporting prices between $862 and $1,831.
The average cost of basement remodeling varies based on the square footage of the basement space, if structural changes are needed, and if you are adding in elements such as electrical work for a kitchenette or plumbing for a half bath. Other factors in cost include whether you have design plans already and what work you want done on the finishes such as trim and flooring. Here’s a breakdown of the various cost factors.
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