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.
Your basement will likely need to be fitted with additional wires to support more lights and electronics. You will need to hire a licensed electrician if you plan to install additional overhead light fixtures, outlets and other components that require additional wiring. The cost of electrical installations depends on the exact project, but licensed electricians tend to charge between $50 and $100 per hour.
Sourcing supplies, clearing debris, and doing prep work can all help you save on basement costs. Consider what skills you have and talk with your contractor about what will shave money in each area. You may have the tools and strength to demo walls, which can save you several hundred dollars. Sourcing the materials for the pro takes this task off their labor time and saves you money. Doing prep work and finish work is also a way to cut down on total cost. Painting the walls yourself at the end of the project could save you hundreds of dollars. Negotiate all these aspects before signing your contract.
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.
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.

How fast the job needs to be completed has a significant impact on the final price. A professional team can take a basement from framing to complete in about 45 days. A DIYer typically needs more time. If things need to be inspected, inspectors work on their own schedule, and if concrete needs to be poured, time must be allotted for it to properly set.
There are several types of basement remodeling depending on the outcomes you want. Whether you have nothing but damp concrete walls and floors or you have a finished basement with painted walls, a pool table and a wet bar will determine the scope of work for your basement remodel and the cost. Here are some common basement remodeling projects that homeowners take on and their related costs.
Last year I bought a house that had the stainless steel micro model installed. The house was surrounded by 80’ tall Maples & Birch. TONS OF LEAVES.Yes, it the micro mesh keeps all leaf and seeds out of the gutter 100%. What the manf and dealers won’t tell you is that you must clean the mesh 2x’s a year to get spring pollen, mold, & fall leaf dust off. Otherwise it will eventually keep EVERYTHING out, including WATER. Major ice problems flowing over the gutters. No it was not the result of ice damming. I removed it all & just deal with the leaves 3x’s each fall.Got ranch home with easy access to the gutters - get the micro mesh. Easier to clean that than clean gunk out of the gutter.hire a young buck to climb a ladder. A whole lot cheaper.
Assumptions: The flooring in this calculator is carpet. For hardbood flooring or tile your cost will be higher. The costs estimated here are from finishing your basement using typical materials. If you want high end bathroom fixtures, flooring, etc add another 20% to the bottom line. This estimate includes adding one new full bathroom with rough-in plumbing in place.
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.

Sourcing supplies, clearing debris, and doing prep work can all help you save on basement costs. Consider what skills you have and talk with your contractor about what will shave money in each area. You may have the tools and strength to demo walls, which can save you several hundred dollars. Sourcing the materials for the pro takes this task off their labor time and saves you money. Doing prep work and finish work is also a way to cut down on total cost. Painting the walls yourself at the end of the project could save you hundreds of dollars. Negotiate all these aspects before signing your contract.
×