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What Does it Cost to Finish a Basement?

Estimating the Cost of Finishing Your Basement

Finishing your basement offers great benefits, including additional living space and increased home value. However, the cost can vary widely depending on the scope of your project. On average, finishing a basement costs between $7 and $23 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor. The bigger the basement, the higher the price tag, so some homeowners opt to finish only part of it and leave the rest for storage.

Key Factors Influencing Basement Finishing Costs

Structural and Electrical Installation

To make your basement habitable, you’ll need to invest in essential structural and electrical work. Here are some estimated costs:

  • Outlets: $1,100
  • Electrical: $1,325
  • Insulation: $1,650
  • Drywall: $1,750
  • Wall Framing: $1,795
  • Lighting: $2,880
  • Waterproofing: $4,500

These initial installations are crucial to creating a functional and safe living space in your basement.

Flooring Installation

Most basements have concrete floors that need covering. Popular options include:

  • Carpet: $3 – $11 per square foot
  • Laminate: $3 – $11 per square foot
  • Vinyl Tiling: Moderate cost
  • Hardwood: Up to $22 per square foot

Your choice of flooring can significantly affect your budget. Carpet and laminate are more budget-friendly, while hardwood is on the higher end.

Building Permits

Before starting your project, obtain the necessary permits. The average cost for permits and inspection fees is about $1,350. While this may seem steep, your renovations must comply with local building codes.

Extra Features

Adding special features like bathrooms, wet bars, or extra bedrooms will increase your budget. Consider the additional costs for:

  • Plumbing: Installing plumbing for a new bathroom or wet bar
  • Furnishing: Costs for furniture like couches, entertainment centers, and decor
  • Windows: Adding or expanding windows for natural light and egress

These features can enhance the functionality and appeal of your finished basement but require careful budgeting.

Contractor Rates

Contractor fees vary based on location and complexity. Hire professionals for major tasks and get estimates from multiple contractors to find the best rate. Ask for recommendations from friends or neighbors to ensure quality work. Remember that in high-income areas, contractor fees will likely be higher.

Tips to Lower the Cost of Finishing Your Basement

Keep the Design Simple

Opt for standard finishes and prioritize essential features to stay within budget. For example, choose affordable flooring to allocate more funds for your home theater setup.

Leave Some Unfinished Space

Finish only part of your basement and use the rest for storage. This can significantly reduce costs while still providing valuable living space. This way, you save on materials and labor costs while still enhancing your home.

DIY When Possible

Tackle simpler tasks like painting or installing light fixtures yourself. Leave complex tasks like plumbing and electrical work to professionals. DIY projects can save money but should be approached with caution and proper research.

Is Finishing the Basement Worth the Investment?

Finishing your basement offers a 75% return on investment, providing additional living space and increasing your home’s marketability. Not only will a finished basement provide additional space for your family to use, but it will also boost the home’s marketability to future buyers. So while your basement improvement project may require months of planning and construction, it will be worth it to reclaim some of that investment when you sell the home.

Since basement remodels can come with a hefty price tag, it’s important to find a payment option that fits into your budget. Depending on your financial situation and the final estimate, you may want to consider a home renovation loan for this home improvement project.


If you’re considering finishing the basement of your home, take the first step and start making a wishlist of features, as well as a budget and design plan. Then, start calling around to local contractors and professionals to help you fast-track the finished basement of your family’s dreams.

For more information on financing your basement renovation, check out the personal and home improvement loan options available with Simplify Home Loans.

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