If time is critical, consider a basement finishing kit. A finishing kit has insulated wall panels, and some include a walkable flooring surface and ceiling material for DIY installation. Depending on the size of your basement, these kits can be installed in a weekend. However, the floor won't be carpeted, the walls won't be painted, and there will be no electrical or plumbing. Other features such as doors, trim work, and more also need to be added.
If the hundreds of photos and stories submitted to this year's annual Search for America's Best Remodel Contest prove one thing, it's that you love flipping the idea of what a basement can be. With a little work, these once dark, desolate spaces can become bonus rooms for entertaining family and friends or getting some work done. Here, the editors of This Old House pick the best basement remodels.
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.
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.
Consider what you can do yourself. Finishing your basement is a full process and is not easy. But if you’re looking to save money and are quite handy, consider waterproofing the basement yourself. Basement waterproofing with SANI-TRED® uses a proven application process that is perfect for the do-it-yourself community. You can (and should) hire contractors for specialized tasks like plumbing or electrical, but many can do the waterproofing yourself for less.