"I have found many of my ideas reading your magazine. I cut out pages and put them in a folder. When I first moved in, I didn't even have a TV, so I would just sit, read, and picture the house and basement finished. It now looks just as I pictured it. I saved by using recycled material: The rusty tin was from an old building that was being demolished; barn boards were from an old barn near my parents' farm. The barn door came off another old barn of a friend who said it was from an old boxcar they cut up in the 1940s. My grandfather built the house in 1927 and hand-dug the basement with my grandmother. Now my kids will have great memories of the house—and my grandparents, I know, would be happy."
Get estimates from several companies; request and check references. Understand exactly what is (and isn't) included in each estimate, and whether the contractor will do the paperwork for required building permits. Ask about the contractor's length and type of experience, especially if there's anything unusual about your project. Be sure a company is properly bonded and insured and licensed in your state[10] . See if there are any complaints with the Better Business Bureau[11] .
Get 'labor only' bids and buy the materials yourself. This allows you to use a 10% off coupon at Home Depot or Lowe's (available on eBay). You can also use a 5% cash back credit card like Discover when buying materials. (BONUS: Our readers get $50 free when they get a Discover card - sign up here.) And be sure to join ebates first to save an additional 1%. These are all small percentages but when taken off potentially very expensive items they really add up.
Installing a bathroom in a basement costs more than installing a bathroom above ground. Costs can range from $2,500 to $5,000 on average, depending on the number of fixtures and whether the plumbing must be installed from scratch or if it’s roughed in already. Basement plumbing requires special considerations to ensure proper drainage and tie-in with the main sewer line, which may not be deep enough to allow the basement bathroom plumbing to use gravity the way above-ground plumbing does. Virgil Miranda’s Construction subcontracts all plumbing work. Miranda says that sometimes the toilet alone in a basement can cost up to $2,500 because sometimes homeowners need to invest in a toilet that does not use gravity but instead a macerating function to grind waste down to prevent clogging. Miranda estimates that each bathroom fixture in a basement costs $800–$900 on average, so a full, three-piece bath could cost $3,000 for the fixtures alone. Adding a kitchenette or wet bar sink adds more to overall refinishing costs. In addition, some basements require a French drain with one or more sump pumps, which can cost up to $10,000 on average, depending on how much ground the drain covers.
When it comes to basement remodels, the most costly way is to start with bare bones. If all you have is concrete walls and floors, you need to add framing, electrical, plumbing, flooring and trim. Basement finishing in a newer home that already has plumbing and electrical roughed in, a watertight foundation and some insulation installed—but no final finishes (like drywall or paint or carpet)—usually costs less than remodeling an already finished basement. This is because when you already have a finished basement, the pros will need to do demolition at the beginning of the project, which can add $500–$1,500 to overall costs.
A finished basement is not always the same thing as a designed basement. Sometimes, the basement begins with the basics: walls, a ceiling, lights, and a floor. Gwen Hefner and husband Micah wanted to turn their tiny, airless basement space into a comfortable mancave. They had the basics to start with. The next step, Gwen says, would be a true test to her design skills.
In most cases, your HVAC system should already extend to the basement. If not, however, plan on running additional ducts or vents to ensure the finished rooms are adequately heated. Running new ductwork through your basement will cost around $2,000. Radiant heat is another option for basements, as it can be controlled separately and used only when the basement is. Radiant heat costs around $6,000 - $14,000 depending on the method used.

According to real estate agents and appraisers, a bedroom must have a door, window and closet. Adding a closet to your basement bedroom is crucial to adding value to your basement addition. There are a few components that will affect the cost, the size of the closet being the biggest. The average cost to install a closet is $1,779, with most homeowners spending between $1,272 and $1,917. More than likely, your closet cost will be lower seeing that the size of the closet won’t be nearly as large as your master bedroom or other main bedrooms.


Drywall must be applied to any framed basement walls you have and must be applied to any additional walls used to create your basement bedroom. A standard 8’ by 4’ panel will cost between $10 and $20, depending on the thickness. The cost to install these panels varies, but most homeowners report spending around $1.50/sf. The total cost of your project will range between $1,152 and $1,982, with an average cost of $1,915 to install a wall.

When putting a wall over a recently constructed frame, sheetrock is the industry standard for a durable option, that can be painted easily. It can help insulate the room due to its density and generally lasts a long time when maintained. If you’re trying to significantly drive down costs, using paneling for the walls is an effective option. It’s very light, inexpensive and pre-finished in a variety of different sizes and types. Labor costs may also decrease because paneling is easier to transport and work with.


Installing a bathroom in a basement costs more than installing a bathroom above ground. Costs can range from $2,500 to $5,000 on average, depending on the number of fixtures and whether the plumbing must be installed from scratch or if it’s roughed in already. Basement plumbing requires special considerations to ensure proper drainage and tie-in with the main sewer line, which may not be deep enough to allow the basement bathroom plumbing to use gravity the way above-ground plumbing does. Virgil Miranda’s Construction subcontracts all plumbing work. Miranda says that sometimes the toilet alone in a basement can cost up to $2,500 because sometimes homeowners need to invest in a toilet that does not use gravity but instead a macerating function to grind waste down to prevent clogging. Miranda estimates that each bathroom fixture in a basement costs $800–$900 on average, so a full, three-piece bath could cost $3,000 for the fixtures alone. Adding a kitchenette or wet bar sink adds more to overall refinishing costs. In addition, some basements require a French drain with one or more sump pumps, which can cost up to $10,000 on average, depending on how much ground the drain covers.
A finished basement has the potential to add value to a home, especially when it comes time for resale. The average basement remodel project can have up to a 70% return on investment. Home buyers typically prefer a house with a finished basement and may even increase their offer if that living space recently has been updated or remodeled. The finished basement also adds value by creating more living space in the home without having to spend thousands on an addition.
Accounting for variables such as square footage, materials, electrical and plumbing, the average basement remodel ranges from $11,034 and $29,226. Some cost as little as $5,000, with top of the line remodels costing over $40,000. The average cost to homeowners is $20,126. Expect to spend between $10 and $35 per square foot depending on the changes made.
A finished basement has the potential to add value to a home, especially when it comes time for resale. The average basement remodel project can have up to a 70% return on investment. Home buyers typically prefer a house with a finished basement and may even increase their offer if that living space recently has been updated or remodeled. The finished basement also adds value by creating more living space in the home without having to spend thousands on an addition.

Another choice is to apply a stucco surface. Stucco is inexpensive, comes in a few different earth tone colors, and makes a durable an attractive surface. Applying it requires some skill, however, so you may need to pay a masonry contractor to stucco your walls. Otherwise if you mix or apply it incorrectly the surface could crack and deteriorate over time.
It was the start of a year-and-a-half basement finishing project, but it was well worth all of the effort. Jamin and Ashley of the home design blog The Handmade Home began by installing drywall over the cinderblock walls, applying spray foam insulation, and enclosing the necessary but ugly supporting adjustable steel posts. Next came paint, flooring, and furniture, all fusing together to make a lovely daylight basement for work and play.
×