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How much does it cost to finish a basement?

You could spend anywhere from $5,000 to over $30,000.

When finishing a basement, the possibilities are endless. Depending on what you already have and what you want done, your costs can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $30,000. By breaking down your potential expenses, you can determine what your budget should look like and where you might want to opt for less-pricey materials.

Average cost of a basement renovation

Basement renovations typically run around $18,400, according to Home Advisor. But like all projects, the total cost will depend on the size of your space, the materials you choose and the cost of labor in your area.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for small, moderate and major basement renovation projects:

SizeSquare Feet RangePrice Range
Small300 – 700$9,000 – $52,500
Medium700 – 1,500$21,000 – $112,500
Large1,500 – 2,000$45,000 – $150,000

Compare financing options for renovating a basement

You have a variety of financing options to finish your basement, including credit cards, personal loans and HELOCs.

Small renovations: Consider a credit card

While you won’t want to use a credit card to finance your entire basement renovation, it can help pay for furniture and other small projects. And if you invest in a credit card with a high cash back percentage, you can recoup some of the money you spend.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

4.7 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Rates & fees
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card really is unlimited — you'll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. This is one of the stronger rewards out there, which means you'll be saving money every time you buy materials or pay for labor.
Pros
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on purchases
  • $200 signup bonus
  • Long 0% intro APR period of 15 months
Cons
  • Not useful for balance transfers
  • Must have good to excellent credit to qualify

Moderate renovations: Consider a personal loan

If you’d prefer to avoid tapping into your home’s equity, you might want to consider a personal loan or line of credit. They typically have lower rates than credit cards and can go as high as $100,000.

LightStream personal loans

4.83 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Lightstream's secure site
LightStream is our best pick for home renovation because of its competitive rates and large loans. This makes it perfect for moderate basement renovations that require more initial funding — plus you'll avoid the high APR of a credit card.
Pros
  • Loans up to $100,000
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Autopay discount of 0.5% off APR
Cons
  • Must have good to excellent credit to qualify
  • No preapproval process
  • Minimum loan amount of $5,000
Loan Amount$5,000 - $100,000
APRCompetitive
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Min. Credit ScoreGood to excellent credit
Turnaround TimeVaries

Major renovations: Consider a HELOC

These are typically your least-expensive options, since both use your home as collateral. However, how much you’re able to borrow depends on the equity you own in your home — among other factors.

LendingTree

See rates
on LendingTree's secure site
LendingTree is a connection service that works with a variety of lenders to help you find the right home equity line of credit (HELOC) or home equity loan. Its online form makes it easy to see what rates you qualify for, and if LendingTree finds a better deal, you'll be notified right away.
Pros
  • Quick application process
  • Open to borrowers with fair credit
Cons
  • May receive high volume of marketing materials
  • Not all offers have competitive rates

What factors do I need to consider when renovating my basement?

Less expensive materials and doing it yourself will reduce the total cost of your basement renovation. Just keep in mind that certain projects — like working with plumbing or electricity — will likely require a professional.

Framing

By framing your basement, you’ll be able to shape your space into rooms — or at least have one large, open area that protects against the elements. But keep in mind that framing estimates typically only include the materials needed. Labor and insulation will increase the price you pay.

Drywall

Drywalling is the next step when finishing your basement. The more walls you need to put up, the more you’ll pay. Although it may seem simple, precise holes need to be cut for egress windows, doors and electric outlets — as well as any plumbing or ventilation systems that need an outlet. While material costs may be relatively low, be prepared for higher labor costs if you have an extensive basement with multiple rooms.

Flooring

If you’re starting from a blank concrete canvas, the flooring you want in your basement is up to you. Prices can vary greatly depending on the material you choose:

Flooring typeAverage cost per square foot
Laminate$1 to $6
Carpet$1 to $7
Linoleum$2 to $3
Ceramic tile$5 to $15
Hardwood$5 to $15

Labor costs will also vary. Some floors can be installed yourself. Others require precise work that can only a professional can do. As with all things home improvement, be sure to get a few estimates from different contractors before you settle on a price.

Wiring

If your basement is old and only has a small breaker box, new wiring may be necessary to bring it into the 21st century. Materials could cost you anywhere from $6 to $10 a square foot, and labor can actually be cheaper if everything is already exposed. However, adding in a new breaker can increase the price of the job.

Ceiling

If you want to look up without seeing exposed pipes and ductwork, you’ll have to add in a ceiling. The cost of this step will depend on how low those pipes and ductwork hang. In general, you have three options:

  • Install a drop ceiling
  • Hang drywall paneling
  • Install tongue-and-groove wood

The amount you pay will depend on which material you choose and the cost of labor in your area.

Other materials and projects

Finally, there are smaller updates that can make a big difference in the comfort of your basement:

  • Paint
  • Furniture
  • Fixtures
  • Waterproofing
  • Ventilation
  • Plumbing

For waterproofing, ventilation and plumbing, check with your contractor to get an idea of how much these might cost for your space. Fixtures, furniture and paint are all up to you. If you want to save money, you can make these updates a little at a time once the major work is done.

What other costs should I consider?

Beyond the material costs for your basement, there are three other areas that will eat up your budget:

  • Contractor and subcontractors. Finishing a basement is a time-intensive task that requires the work of multiple professionals, including electricians and plumbers. While you can DIY some of the more basic projects, fully finishing your basement will require you to hire outside help — at an additional cost.
  • Permits. Any changes to the foundation or structure of your home will need to be approved by your local municipality. Permits and an inspector are necessary costs to make sure everything is up to code. If not, you may have to demo your space and start again.
  • Adding other rooms. If you want to add a bathroom, kitchenette or laundry room to your basement, expect your costs to rise significantly. These are expensive renovations on their own, and adding them to your basement can get more complicated when it comes to installing the equipment you’ll need to make things functional.

Bottom line

The cost of finishing your basement will depend on its current condition and the updates you’d like to make. The less finished the space, the more it will cost to turn it into a cozy hideaway.

We’ve compiled a complete list of home renovation costs to help you find tips on sticking to a budget, choosing what parts to DIY and more.

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