How Much Does It Cost To Finish A 1,500 Sq. Ft. Basement? We Break It Down

Kenneth Wilson

If you're looking for another lounging area in the home, you may not need to look any further. Sometimes, the answer lies below your feet!

We're talking about the basement— as it provides a tremendous underground opportunity for a dramatic transformation. On average, expect to spend around $38,000 to $60,000 if you want to finish a 1,500 sq. ft. basement.

Total costs will depend on several factors, including the current layout of the basement, the total number of rooms in the area, and new appliances or decor.

Pricing Guide: Finishing a 1,500 sq. ft. Basement

The national average cost to finish a standard 1,500 sq. ft. basement ranges between $38,000 and $60,000 (or more). This translates to $35 to $49 per square foot.

Open-plan basements with two rooms and a separate bathroom cost about $58,000 to finish. But if you have 3+ rooms in your basement, expect to spend up to $70,000. The construction fees may easily double or triple if you opt for high-end materials.

A significant chunk of your budget goes to professional labor costs, as the project takes the right expertise and a lot of your time as well. Homeowners who have the right experience can opt to finish their basement by themselves, cutting the total costs by $25,000.

Important Note: This ballpark estimate doesn't cover any structural changes you need to make, but it serves as an excellent starting figure as you prepare your budget for the project.

Additional expenses may include new stairs that meet the code (non-slip) and installing electrical outlets per room, which may add up to $4,500 on average. (Related: How Much Does It Cost To Finish A Basement? We Break It Down)

1,500 sq. ft. Basement Finishing: Cost Factors

Finishing your basement can drastically improve the value of your home. Since it involves a hefty monetary investment and your time, it's ideal that you look into the estimated spendings of a project with this scope, so you don't underspend or overspend.

That said, let’s break down the cost factors involved in a standard basement finishing project.

Design Cost

Most interior designers may charge $8,000 to transform your basement into a cozy living space. Depending on the scope of the job, you may need to pay around $55 to $250 per hour. The good thing is: you are free to use the area in any way you want.

Labor Cost

This may cost you about $18 per square foot in terms of labor costs. In general, it may account for 30 to 40% of your total basement finishing project. For a 1,500 sq. ft., the labor costs may add up to $12,500.

This estimate covers the service fees of general contractors, carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. If your basement requires some complex work, you may need to hire a master carpenter or electrician.

Basement Framing

The material costs for basement framing start from $2 per sq. ft. Meanwhile, it costs up to $3.5 per square foot for drywall that's ready to be painted.

Framing an existing basement requires you to install a wood framework. This serves as a part of the insulation packing, piping, and wiring stages. All of these are sandwiched in between the wall and the drywall layer.

  • Wall Framing Framing basement walls with 2x4" inches of wood will start from $3 per square foot. You will need to use a wood frame to frame your concrete walls for inner basement walls. Wood is considered the most used framing material. The frame will then be attached to the floor and extended for about 3″ from the wall. Your contractor may need to fasten studs to the boards to prepare the drywall.

Basement Insulation

Basements with the proper insulation can better control the temperature and moisture-related issues. Additionally, it may also be used as a soundproofing material. Standard spray closed-cell foam insulation for basements will cost you between $750 and $4,000 per cubic foot. This translates to $35 to $85 per inch.

Note: The best insulation for basements is foam, as it is not permeable to the air. It will not result in condensation between the insulation material and your concrete walls.

Basement Drywall

Drywalling and finishing a basement starts from $1.8 per square foot. This covers all the materials you need, such as joint tape, mud/compound, and sanding. To determine the amount of drywall you need, count the number of walls in your basement. Most open-plan basements will cost you $1,900 for drywall costs.

For basements, it's best to go with moisture-resistant drywall. It starts from $12 to $26 per conventional panel. Homeowners who want to opt-out of this may consider alternatives such as wood planks, plywood, or plastic panels.

Basement Ceiling

Installing a basement ceiling starts from $4 to $5 per square foot. This covers ceiling joists, R-11 insulation batts, and ceiling drywall. Tongue and groove wood/tile panels on the ceiling cost $3 to $5 per square foot.

Depending on your desired coverage thickness, the spray popcorn on taped walls will run for $0.4 to $0.8 per square foot. You may also opt to include various textures, ranging from $0.4 to $0.8 per square foot.

Basement Flooring

Scoring and polishing the basement's existing concrete floor starts at $3 per square foot. Coating the basement floor with epoxy costs $5 per square foot– which proves to be an excellent choice for garage floors too.

You can install wood flooring joists for alternative floorings for $1.8 to $3 per linear foot. In addition, the cost of installing plywood flooring ranges from $0.99 to $1.5 per square foot. Since it is prone to moisture problems, you might consider applying steel floor joists in your basement.

You can also opt for good-quality wood for your floor and stairs. It provides an additional aesthetic look to your basement. Cross-bridging and board sheathing are already included in the process for a total of $5 per square foot.

When doing extensive projects, you will notice that there are certain times you will save and times when you also spend more.

Room Finishing

Let's say you want to add a subterranean living room in your basement; this costs an average of $20,000 to complete. In contrast, a tiny 12×12 room costs $4,600 to $6,800. If the rough-in plumbing is already done, a bathroom or kitchen will cost at least $3,000.

According to real estate brokers, a bedroom must include a door, window, and closet. This is also highly advised by most property appraisers.

Hiring a Basement Finishing Contractor

Hiring a local contractor for your project will ensure that it will be done correctly and quickly. As you ask for estimates from different local companies, here are some considerations to keep in mind before hiring someone:

  • A or A+ Rated Members of the Better Business Bureau
  • Have been in the industry for at least five years
  • Warranty coverage on both labor and materials
  • Companies that are insured and bonded
  • Includes all the cleanup in the initial quote
  • Gives you an exact date on the start and end dates

Basement Finishing: Is it a Worthwhile Investment?

Now, is finishing your basement a worthy investment? This home improvement project covers built-in shelves, drywall, framing, lighting fixtures, plumbing, and waterproofing. If you still have unfinished basements– this project will turn them into a usable, rather cozy space.

Experts claim that refinishing your basement will give you up to 70% return on investment, as it significantly boosts the value of your home. Certain factors may lower the total costs of your basement refinishing project, such as previous waterproofing and opting to do a DIY refinishing.

Kenneth Wilson
March 5, 2022
Cost Guides, Interior

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

Ask The Author Your Question In The Comments!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

More From This Author

9 of the Best Ring Security Cameras: Home Security 101
Where You Should Place Security Cameras Around Your Home: Best Locations
How Long Do SimpliSafe Camera Batteries Last?
SimpliSafe vs. Ring: Which Home Security System is Best Suited for Your Needs?
The Best Plug-in Outdoor Security Lights to Keep Your Home Safe
Everything You Need to Know About Residential Laser Grid Security Systems