Home Project Summary

Finish Basement

Ideas, costs, tips and plans - the information you need for a successful Basement Finishing project

January 2014

Homeowners have many important questions about their Basement Finishing Project. How much will it cost? How long will it take? What problem areas do I need to watch out for? Can I recover my Basement Finishing investment when I sell? Can I do some of the work myself? What can I do to make sure that the work is done right?

Costs, materials and best practices for the example Basement Finishing project will help you answer these questions. Use this information to develop a budget, bid requirements, hiring contracts and a project plan.

Use the following information to understand your options, make good decisions and get quality work at a fair price.

Basement Finishing - Project Overview

The approximate costs and value of a typical Basement Finishing project are summarized below. Use higher estimates for larger metropolitan areas and the lower estimates where home prices are below the national average. Adjust costs for substitutions or refinements in the last section. For size differences of up to 25%, scale total costs in direct proportion to the size of your project. Use the adjusted costs as a basis for setting a material budget and for comparing contractor bids (if you choose to have a professional perform the work).

Project descriptionConvert unfinished basement into living space. Waterproof and insulate walls. Update flooring, electric circuits and lighting. Use above average grade of materials, fabrication and installation quality.
Project size600 square feet
Material and labor cost$8,442 - $9,849
Material cost$4,905 - $5,723
Do-it-yourself assessmentThe typical Basement Finishing project involves tasks that are best performed by experienced professionals. Good quality Basement Finishing requires considerable experience, skill and attention to detail. Do it yourself mistakes are noticeable, may be difficulty to remedy and may actually reduce the market value of the project and your home.
First year Return on Investment - ROIResults vary widely and can be affected by the range of home prices in your neighborhood, the overall condition of your home and sensible design choices. A high quality Basement Finishing project in an appropriate neighborhood can return 93% or more of its initial cost.
Long term Return on Investment - ROIReturns vary widely and are affected by the range of home prices in your neighborhood, the overall condition of your home and sensible design choices. A high quality Basement Finishing project in an appropriate neighborhood can return as much as 77% - 91% of its initial cost.
Green ratingBasement Finishing projects can incorporate renewable or sustainable resources and environmentally friendly materials.

Basement Finishing - Proven Ideas and Project Tips

Review these tips, design suggestions, options and lessons learned before finalizing your Basement Finishing project plan.

Basement Finishing - Project Plan and Details

The following list includes major work tasks commonly performed during Basement Finishing. Use this list to understand the timing and sequence of different steps in the Basement Finishing project. Click any Task name for a complete written specifications, FAQs and quality checklist for the task - this essential information will help you control Basement Finishing project cost and quality.

TaskService ProviderDurationDo-it-yourself difficultyTarget cost
Develop Basement IdeasInterior Designer5 to 15 dLevel 4 - Pros Only$380 - $635
Complete Basement DesignArchitect5 to 15 dLevel 3 - Complex, Difficult$900 - $1,503
Specify MaterialsInterior Designer2 to 15 dLevel 2 - Challenging$190 - $317
Remove FlooringDemolition Laborer1 dLevel 1 - Basic$1.25 - $2.09 per square foot
Remove Construction DebrisGarbage and Rubbish Hauler1 dLevel 1 - Basic$15.63 - $26.09
Frame Basement WallsCarpenter1 to 2 dLevel 2 - Challenging$4.55 - $8.23 per square foot
Prepare Basement FlooringFlooring Contractor1 dLevel 2 - Challenging$9.35 - $16.29 per square foot
Install Appliance CircuitElectrician1 to 2 dLevel 4 - Pros Only$338 - $577 per circuit
Insulate Basement WallsInsulation Contractor1 dLevel 2 - Challenging$1.81 - $3.25 per square foot
Insulate Basement CeilingInsulation Contractor1 dLevel 2 - Challenging$1.31 - $2.32 per square foot
Install SheetrockDrywall and Plaster Contractor1 to 2 dLevel 2 - Challenging$0.78 - $1.39 per square foot
Skim CoatDrywall Contractor1 to 2 dLevel 2 - Challenging$0.36 - $0.63 per square foot
Install Interior DoorFinish Carpenter1 dLevel 3 - Complex, Difficult$230 - $407 per door
Install Door JambFinish Carpenter1 dLevel 2 - Challenging$95 - $163 per door
Install Base MoldingFinish Carpenter1 to 2 dLevel 2 - Challenging$3.35 - $5.82 per linear foot
Install Basement WindowFinish Carpenter1 dLevel 2 - Challenging$290 - $511
Paint RoomsPainting Contractor1 to 3 dLevel 2 - Challenging$0.66 - $1.13 per square foot
Install Linoleum FlooringFlooring Contractor1 dLevel 2 - Challenging$2.20 - $4.01 per square foot
Install Ceiling LightingElectrician1 dLevel 2 - Challenging$93 - $168
Install Electric Baseboard HeaterElectrician1 dLevel 3 - Complex, Difficult$180 - $314


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Proejct Guide

Finish Basement

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Use this guide to:

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  • Maintain project control
  • Get quality work
  • Make a strong contract

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