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How Much Does it Cost to Finish a Basement?

Posted October 22nd, 2012 by Diane Kulseth

Finishing your basement is a great idea, it will add value to your home and will give you a livable space to make use of. Overall the costs of finishing your basement depend on the cost of materials as well as the cost of labor. Both these costs are dependent on a number of factors to include the square footage of the basement, what sort of work is to be done in the basement such as will you have to add walls, insulation, ceiling windows etc. Basically the cost of finishing your basement is largely dependent on the condition of your basement. If all you have is a cold wet, dark space a lot of work will be necessary and the costs will add up. If there has been some work done in the basement before, you will be looking at a more affordable cost for finishing your basement. 

  • Basic Items – these include floors, walls, ceilings, windows and doors. You will be choosing options that are suitable for basements and not just any windows or doors. Since basements are usually riddled with moisture you have to choose items that will be able to withstand that sort of environment. Tiled floors can cost from $6 to $20 per square foot and framed walls can cost from $14 to $18 per square foot. Windows will cost between $60 and $100 and a new door could run you $150 to $250.

 

  • Electrical wiring – To wire the walls of your basement alone could run you a bill that goes into the thousands this is because wiring a basement is a very complicated.

 

  • Moving existing items – the basement is the home of the furnace, the hot water heater and the washing machines and dryers in most houses. Moving these items to create a space with better flow that is more appealing will also add to the cost of your basement finishing.
  • Structural changes – this involves moving things such as weight bearing beams can be very expensive and often times necessary depending on what you will be using the basement for and what you want your floor plan to look like.
  • Presence of mold – if you have mold present you will have to have the basement treated before any work can be done. This will add to the total cost of finishing your basement.
  • Insulation – your basement must be properly insulated and the amount and type of insulation it will need is dependent on the basement itself. You will need insulation against extreme temperatures as well as insulation against sound. This is because the basement is usually where you will find the furnace, water heaters and other stuff that make noise.

 

Though there are many things that add to the cost of finishing your basement it will be more economical for you to finish your basement than to create an additional room for your home. Your finished basement will serve as your additional room without the expenses that are associated with making an addition to your home. You will be able to use your new basement as a guest suite, a home theater, a play room for the kids, an office, a den or a combination of any of those once you have the required space.

For a basic basement finishing you could be looking at a price range of $15 to $30 per square foot. It is important to note that this is an estimate for just a simple finished basement – a wide open space. This does not reflect the price of adding a wet bar or a bathroom.

If you want to ensure that you control costs as best as possible with your basement finishing project the first thing you want to do is draw up some blueprints. If you have some contracting experience or are a handy do-it-yourselfer you could save a lot by doing it yourself and doing it in stages. Though it may not cost less this way at least the costs will be spread out across a longer period and so you will be better able to manage your finances. 

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