How Much Does It Cost To Finish A Basement? We Break It Down

Kenneth Wilson

Basement finishing presents an excellent opportunity for your next home improvement project. Who knows, you may create a remarkable space beneath your floors for playing foosball or a place for relaxation!

Standard basement finishing projects will cost you about $3,500 up to $20,000 – depending on your basement's size and style. Refinishing a high-end basement may cost as much as $80,000.

You will need the expertise of a few licensed professionals to create livable square footage, as it needs waterproofing, egress windows, and a sufficient ceiling height, to name a few.

Many homeowners invest in having a finished living space in their basements as it improves the home value and expands the usable square footage. Over time, it also gives a significant Return on Investment (ROI).

Before you give this project the green light, it's essential to determine how much it will cost to prepare an adequate budget.

Basement Finishing Average Cost

The national average basement finishing cost runs from $3,500 to $20,000, depending on several factors. This translates to roughly $8 to $25 per square foot, covering materials and labor. (Related: How Much Does It Cost To Finish A 1,500 Sq. Ft. Basement? We Break It Down)

Homeowners with grand plans for the space or those planning to use high-end materials for the project may spend more for their finished basement project expenses.

Average cost per standard square footage:

  • 500 square feet: $3,500 – $11,500
  • 700 square feet: $5,000 – $16,200
  • 850 square feet: $6,000 – $20,500
  • 1,000 square feet: $7,000 – $23,200
  • 1,500 square feet: $10,700 – $34,600

Factors Affecting Basement Finishing Costs

Much like other home remodeling projects, the cost to finish a basement will depend on the quality of the space and other essential factors.

As you set aside the proper budget for this project, here are some critical factors to consider as they may increase or decrease your basement finishing expenses.


Basement finishing includes electrical and plumbing work (in some cases). If you're planning to have a mini-bar or a bathroom, these additions may require you to secure a permit first.

Additionally, the basement space must also pass an initial safety inspection. Best prepare a budget of at least $1,800 to cover all the required permits and assessments for the project.


Local labor costs will most likely amount to 40% of your basement finishing project costs. It's ideal to hire a general contractor or a professional to ensure that the job is carried out correctly, safely, and quickly.

Contractor fees will depend on the scope and complexity of the work, but the national average cost for professional general contractor services is $1,500.

That said, get at least three quotes from different contractors to select the best-priced deal for the services you need.

In some cases, you may also need assistance from framers and drywall installers, flooring and window specialists, electricians, plumbers, and foundation repair specialists.

Tools and Materials

Expect to shell out at least $400 worth of tools for the project. This figure may decrease if you have some of the required tools ready in your toolkit, though.


Framing costs will depend on the number of rooms in your finished basement. On average, it costs somewhere between $8 to $17 per linear foot.

Insulation Fees

The cost to insulate your finished basement will primarily depend on your material of preference. For one, spray foam insulation will cost you about $2,500 for a 1,000 sq ft space (minus installation fees).

A more cost-effective option would be rigid foam board– which will only cost you $720 to $850 for two in. thick sheets. This material may only be used before framing or when the walls are flat concrete/block.

Drywall Installation

Standard drywall installation starts from $2 per square foot, with individual panels ranging between $13 and $22 for each piece.


Regardless of whether you plan to finish the basement's concrete flooring or opt for alternative flooring materials such as carpet, laminate, hardwood, or vinyl– this will cost you about $1,800 to $4,500.

Hardwood is considered a premium flooring choice for this project, costing you up to $25 per square foot. Other cost-effective options are carpet or laminate flooring, which only ranges from $4 to $13 per square foot.


Most basements are prone to water leaks. So if you want to ensure your living space won't have to deal with damage from water leaks, you will need to waterproof your basement, which costs as little as $500 up to $4,000. This may require you to install drains and sump pumps, depending on the basement structure. (Related: Basement Waterproofing Cost & Consumer Guide)

Door and Lighting Installation

Installing a new door as an addition to your basement finishing project will cost you somewhere between $250 and $400. Customized doors may cost you as much as $1,500– if you're eyeing elegant door styles.

Another common add-on is installing or upgrading the existing lighting fixtures in your basement finishing project. This may cost $100 to $250 per fixture, although you may easily spend as much as $500 per piece for high-end options.

Should I Hire a Professional for Basement Finishing?

A basement finishing project can be relatively difficult to DIY. In most cases, you will need to hire a local basement finishing contractor to handle complicated electrical or plumbing work. Consider the professional fees as an excellent investment– as these experts can ensure the job is done correctly and as quickly as possible.

To determine if finishing your basement is a great project to consider, consider what prospective homeowners are looking for in homes in your area. Finished basements may be popular in your neighborhood, so you can opt for the same project to increase your home's value in the market.

Another benefit of renovating your basement is that it's a cost-effective and practical way to extend the usable square footage in your home without drastically changing the exterior. Typically, all the structural systems are already in place, so the finishing project tends to be less complicated and quickly completed.

You can use a finished basement for so many options, a home office for your WFH setting, craft rooms, or a home theater.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can basement finishing increase the value of my home?

It can be hard to tell how basement finishing will affect your home’s resale value, though it may reach as much as 75%. The garage and walkout basement has different appraisal compared to the fully-below-grade basement. Even when you are adding some square footage through basement finishing, below-grade space will not count as much value compared to added square footage at above ground level. For the finished basement to be appraised as “livable,” several building code guidelines must be met, such as egress windows, ceiling height, and more.

What can I do to ensure my basement finishing project will go as smoothly?

Do your homework before proceeding on a basement finishing project. Try to research other homes in your neighborhood to compare and request estimates from various contractors. The local municipality must also be contacted to know the permits needed and the inspection process. Gathering information will help you know if basement finishing is proper for you. Once you’ve determined the size of the project, you may start ensuring the appropriate financing plan. Consider a home equity loan or line of credit since it may deduct the tax in some instances.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, investing in basement finishing gives an average return of up to 75%. A finished basement may serve as an extra bedroom for when you have guests over or simply a workout studio to do your fitness regime at home.

Once you decide to sell your property, the living space will only look attractive to prospective buyers.

Kenneth Wilson
December 31, 2021
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.

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