How Much Does it Cost to Finish a Basement?

Finishing a basement typically costs between $7 and $23 per square foot with an average of $25 per square foot. Most homeowners can expect to pay from $2,800 to $33,985, or $18,395 on average, for a 400 to 1,500 square foot space. The price includes labor, materials and any permits you need. Expect to pay more when using high-end materials, hiring an interior designer and adding furniture and decor.

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  • Install Countertops
    National Average $2,979
    Typical Range $1,858 - $4,175
    Low End - High End $400 - $8,000
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    National Average $2,966
    Typical Range $1,490 - $4,506
    Low End - High End $200 - $11,000
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    National Average $20,477
    Typical Range $11,060 - $29,915
    Low End - High End $4,000 - $49,000

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Cost to Finish a Basement Calculator

Average Cost*$18,400
High Cost*$34,000
Low Cost*$2,800

*Reflects the cost of finishing a 400 to 1,500 square foot basement.

An unfinished basement serves as a valuable blank canvas. By finishing it, you could enjoy a return on investment of up to 75%. Most of the return comes from adding livable square footage you (or future buyers) can enjoy. Unfinished spaces look like concrete floors and walls, exposed pipes and ductwork. The finishing process includes waterproofing, installing a drain and/or sump pump, framing, drywalling, adding windows and wiring, and more.

Average Cost Per Square Foot to Finish a Basement

The average price of finishing a basement is $15 per square foot. Costs can range from $7 to $23 per square foot. The total depends on your contractor’s rate, the type and quality of the materials you choose and your plans for the space.

Basement Cost Estimator by Size
Size (Square Feet)Average Price
400$6,000
500$7,500
700$10,500
800$12,000
1,000$15,000
1,200$18,000
1,500$21,350

Construction Cost for a Finished Basement

General contractors charge up to $34,000 to finish basements. Labor comes out to 10% to 25% of the project cost. They include their labor rate in the total instead of charging by the hour. Get an estimate from at least three contractors to compare costs, and then select one who does quality work at a fair price.

Basement Finishing Cost Breakdown

Finishing TaskAverage Cost
Sump pump install$575
Waterproofing$4,500
Framing$1,795
Insulation$1,650
Drywall$1,750
Paint$1,800
Electrical$1,325
Outlets$1,100
Lighting$2,880
Flooring$2,950
Permit$1,160
the average cost to finish a basement is $7.50 per square foot.

Cost to Drywall a Basement

Installing drywall costs an average of $1,850 or about $2 per square foot. Finishing basement walls in a 400 square foot space may run you $800, while 1,500 square feet is closer to $3,000. Contractors include labor in the total along with the price of drywall panels, which are $12 to $20 each.

Cost to Frame a Basement

The price of framing a basement is about $1,800 on average, which does not include insulation or drywall. On its own, framing is about $7 to $16 per linear foot, but it is closer to $20 to $30 per linear foot with drywall. Insulation costs add $1,650 when using 3 ½-inch batt and roll barriers.

Cost to Build and Drywall a Basement Ceiling

A ceiling costs about $1,700 to build and drywall in the basement. Contractors often include the price of a basic drywall ceiling in the room framing and drywalling costs when doing the whole room at once.

Other designs may cost extra and are often necessary since pipes and ductwork hang lower than the joists. This makes a smooth ceiling impossible, but you still have a few options to choose from:

Spray Painting

You can rent a sprayer for about $100 per day or hire a pro for around $300 to $500. Many repurposed urban spaces mask pipes and ductwork by painting them and the ceiling the same color.

Drop Ceiling

Drop ceilings cost $2 to $6 per square foot and cover the pipes, ductwork and wiring. The most popular ones are acrylic panels that look like wood and other materials or have attractive patterns.

Tongue and Groove

Tongue and groove wood paneling is $1 to $3 per square foot and quick to install. The lightweight panels easily cut to fit around exposed ductwork and more to give the space a modern look.

Basement Flooring Installation

The price of flooring for a basement falls in the $1,500 to $4,500 range. Expect to pay $3,000 for about 500 square feet of flooring. It costs up to $22 per square foot for hardwood and around $3 to $11 for each square foot of laminate and carpet.

Home Systems

Basements are where you find your home's comfort systems. Plumbing for sinks, baths and toilets run along the ceiling and down the walls to boilers or water heaters. Sump pumps, furnaces and HVAC systems are usually here, too. You need to design around these systems since moving them may not be possible or affordable. Placing a water heater in a closet is a possibility but be sure to check local codes before doing this. Large systems, like boilers and HVAC units, are not so easy to tuck away.

Sealing and Waterproofing

Basement waterproofing costs $4,450 on average for homes with leaky foundations. Add $1,300 to cover the price of a sump pump install if needed to protect from floods. Expect to pay $2,850 on top of that for the cost of basement drainage repair services if any damage exists.

Although costly, these services are well worth the price. Basement water leakage can cause serious problems down the road. Standing water can lead to mold growth, which poses health issues. It's also a haven for bugs and other pests. Plus, the leaking water causes the foundation and concrete blocks to develop hairline cracks. While they may appear small on the surface, they can be the start of an enormous problem, so early repair and prevention is key.

Basement Design Cost

Interior designers charge around $7,250 to help create a functional living space in the basement. They may charge $5 to $15 per square foot or $50 to $200 per hour depending on the scope of the project. Expect to pay up to $500 for the first consultation to discuss what you want to do with the space.

Contractors include basic design help in their project costs. Hiring an interior designer is extra but you get more help planning the flow and function of the space.

Price to Furnish a Basement

Furnishing a basement costs at least $2,050 when buying new. The sky is the limit on how much you may spend since it all depends on how you plan to use the space. The quality of the furniture matters as well.

Basement Furniture Cost Comparison
ItemAverage Cost
Couch$1,300
Loveseat$800
Recliner$500
Coffee table$170
Side table$110
Bookcase$450
TV stand$300
Foosball table$650
Pool table$2,800
Bar cabinet$765
Bar stool$100

Permits

A building permit costs an average of about $1,350 depending on your home’s location, basement size and the scope of the work. The permit cost usually includes inspection fees.

Any project involving electrical, plumbing, or turning the basement into a livable space requires permits. The plumbing must remain up to code for proper drainage and to effectively flush waste back into the sewer or septic system. Keeping your electrical work up to code is also important to prevent short-circuits, blown breakers and fires.

If you do not get the proper permits, you may receive a stop work order that halts your project in its tracks. This order also typically results in double the fees once you do apply for permits. Your city could even issue fines or orders to remove all the unpermitted work. If you have to file an insurance claim and can't produce permits, the insurance company may deny the claim. Finishing a basement without permits can also affect the home's resale value.

Cost to Finish a Basement Bathroom

Finishing a basement and adding a bathroom to its layout costs around $49,000. The cost to add a bathroom is $15,000 on average for a basic 30 to 50 square foot build. A 100 square foot luxury install with spa-like features could reach $90,000.

The cost could be lower if you already have rough-in basement bathroom features, like a drain. These prices are in addition to your basement finishing costs. Tackling the full bathroom installation on your own can cut the price in half.

Knowing how you plan to use the space can help in designing the perfect bathroom. A half-bath with a stool and sink, but no shower or tub, works well in a recreation room, workspace or kids’ play area. A basement with a bedroom or en suite pairs best with a full bathroom.

For instance, do you have enough room to add a bathroom? A full bathroom with tub/shower combo takes 40 square feet. A half-bath only needs 30 square feet. Creating bathroom with a separate water closet may need 100-square feet or more.

Cost to Turn a Basement into an Apartment

Expect to pay about $61,000 on average to turn your basement into a studio apartment with a kitchenette, bathroom and laundry area. The price could hit well over $110,000 if you choose high-end appliances, cabinets and countertops plus put in a separate entryway.

Creating a one-bedroom apartment costs closer to $63,000 to cover framing and finishing the separate rooms. You could spend up to $122,500 if the build features custom, stone countertops, hardwood flooring and other pricey materials. Adding more than one egress window could also drive up the price.

Either way, included in the total is the kitchenette, which costs $45,600 on average. Existing wiring and plumbing running through nearby walls could save you thousands.

If you want to include an in-unit laundry room, it costs $1,000 to $6,750, or an average of $3,875. You’ll pay the least if the area already has washer/dryer hookups, including the right outlets. The cost could increase if you want to create a dedicated room for those machines or need to add storage cabinets.

Basement Kitchenette Cost

Installing a kitchenette in your basement costs $45,600 on average. Included in the total is the cost of cabinets, which are $500 to $7,500 for five linear feet. It also includes countertop prices that range from $250 to $1,200 for 10 square feet. The cost of installing appliances makes up most of the price at $1,675 to $23,600. Plumbing, wiring and sink installation costs are included in the project total as well.

Although much of the features are the same, the total is lower than the price of a full kitchen addition due to its much smaller size. A kitchenette only takes up around 70 square feet, while an addition is about 200 square feet.

Cost to Convert a Basement into a Bedroom

Converting your basement into a bedroom is about $22,200. You must cover the price of an egress window at $3,900 on average to keep the space up to code. Beyond that, you just finish the space with drywall, flooring and all the other features you want in a bedroom.

Additional Rooms & Features

The way you plan to use the basement determines how to best build out the space. You can turn it into a:

  • Playroom
  • Rec Room
  • Home Theater
  • Wet Bar
  • Home Office/Workshop

Will you need a Wi-Fi router downstairs? Home offices, theaters and workshops all need high-tech lighting and plenty of outlets, for example, while a wet bar needs water lines and a drain for the sink.

Total Basement Finishing System Cost

A full basement finishing system is $30,000, which comes with wall and ceiling panels plus a comfortable flooring surface. Expect to pay $4.75 per square foot if you only want insulated wall panels.

Depending on the size of your basement, these finishing system kits only take a weekend to install. The space will still need flooring, paint and other finish work before it is complete.

If you have the time, a professional team can take a basement from framing to complete in about 45 days. Going the DIY route often takes a lot longer.

"If you are moving your house from one site to another and you have a mortgage on it, you have an obligation to inform the bank holding your note as they have a financial stake in the property."Cati O'Keefe, Expert Home Building & Sustainability Contributor.

Finished Basement Costs Near You

Basement finishing is $18,400 on average nationwide, but location impacts the final price when hiring a basement remodeler near you. You can expect to pay $60,000 to $100,000 to finish a basement in a New York brownstone. It could run you $28,500 to $65,700 for the same project in Denver, Colorado. The price difference depends on how much materials cost along with the cost of living and accessibility.

Cost to Build an Unfinished Basement

An unfinished basement foundation costs $10,000 to $175,000 and is the first step to expanding your living space downward. It may run closer to $30 to $100 per square foot for a full finished basement build, foundation included.

Cost to Remodel vs. Refinish a Basement

The price of a basement remodel is $4,200 to $45,000, or $20,200 on average. The remodel usually comes after finishing the basement for around $18,400 and changes up the layout significantly. You might frame it out to create different rooms or just add a wet bar to break up the space. Adding a kitchenette and laundry room significantly increases the cost.

DIY vs. Hiring a Basement Finishing Contractor

Basement finishing projects are quite involved and take many steps to complete. For that reason, they are best left to general contractors or finish carpenters near you. Since labor costs make up the bulk of the project's budget, you might decide to tackle finishing a small basement by yourself. Just remember that you still need to call an electrician and/or a plumber if adding any of those amenities. The costs below do not include these specialized contractors.

How Much to Finish a Basement: DIY vs. Pro
SizeDIY CostProfessional Price
Small (<700 square feet)$5,500$10,500
Average (1,000 square feet)$8,000$15,000
Large (1,000+ square feet)$15,000$21,355

FAQs

How much does it cost to finish a 1,000 square foot basement?

Expect to pay $7,000 to $23,000, or $15,000 on average, to finish a 1,000 square foot basement. Add around $6,500 if you want to hire an interior designer and another $2,650 for furniture.

How can I finish a basement myself for under $10,000?

Keep your basement finishing costs under $10,000 by handling simple tasks yourself, like hanging and painting drywall. Using lower-quality materials can also pay off if you know where to best scrimp and save. For best results, work with your contractor to figure out where to cut costs and even create a payment schedule.

How much does it cost to redo a basement?

Remodeling a basement costs $11,000 to $30,000 depending on its size, layout and the materials you select. The price can reach well over $63,000 if you want to turn it into a one-bedroom apartment with a kitchenette and laundry room.

How much value does a finished basement add?

The average basement finishing project can have up to a 70% return on investment. Home buyers typically prefer a house with a finished basement and may even increase their offer for recently remodeled ones. The finished basement also adds value by creating more living space in the home.

Is finishing a basement a good investment?

Finishing a basement is a good investment if you need more living space or want to add value to your home. You can get a 70% return when you sell the property, especially if sold right after completing the project.

How to pay for finishing a basement?

The best way to pay for finishing a basement is out of your savings account to keep a low-debt balance. If that is not possible, other options include:

Are there areas of the country where I can’t have a basement?

Yes, you cannot have a basement in homes built along swamps and other wetlands. The ground in these areas holds far too much water, which could leak through the foundation and flood your home. Not even sump pumps can keep up, making it better to build up or out rather than down.