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The Cost to Finish a Basement: Factors to Consider

The Cost to Finish a Basement: Factors to Consider

Finishing a basement can create more living space and complete your home while also helping get a high return on investment. There are many factors at play when finishing a basement, but a basement that has been properly finished can give you a return on investment of up to 70 percent. Keep reading to better understand the most important components that factor into the cost to finish a basement.

Project Scope:

An important aspect to consider when factoring the cost to finish a basement is whether you are looking to remodel, renovate or finish your space. While these words are sometimes used interchangeably, they have different meanings and scopes that will affect the price of your basement. Remodeling generally takes a finished basement and creates structural modifications to produce something new. Renovating typically deals with modernization such as a fresh coat of paint or installing new flooring. And finishing a basement is taking a completely unlivable and unfinished space and adding the plumbing, insulation, and flooring, among other things, to make it livable. Renovating has the smallest price tag among the three because it involves less structural changes while remodeling or finishing a basement has a larger cost. It is important to know what you are asking for when trying to understand what your cost will look like.


Certain basements make excellent candidates for finishing while others aren’t as suited. Look at the structural work of your current space to understand if it needs work before walls or plumbing can be installed because that will add to the cost to finish a basement. Look for moisture in your basement as this is a common, yet challenging problem to fix in an unfinished basement. This can affect your flooring if the space is not completely dry. The age of your home will also play into this cost, with older homes typically needing more work and preparation.


One of the biggest components in the cost to finish a basement is labor. Unless you are an avid DIY-er or professional contractor you will most likely need a well-qualified, professional crew. It is important to keep in mind the cost of labor changes geographically with prices higher in more urban areas such as Washington, DC. You will also have additional labor costs for flooring, drywall, electricians, and painting. Plumbing is also a big budget cost, whether you are installing a full bath or a powder room, you need working pipes.


The size of your basement also plays into the final cost as it affects the drywall, insulation, and material costs as well. The bigger the space, the bigger the cost. Asking your contractors for an estimate, even just by square foot, is a great way to better understand your specific space. And if you plan to add divisions such as walls or partitions to separate your basement space, that will also increase your price.

Local Laws and Permits:

Plumbing and electrical work need to be done up to code and applying for permits and following local building laws will drive up your cost. But it is important to get the correct permits in place before you start work because you could be hit with fines and other fees.

Now that you better understand the cost to finish a basement it’s time to explore the possibilities. Please visit our Projects page for a bit of inspiration and reach out to let us help you make your basement become the favorite room in your home.

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