Cost of Basement Renovations: Guide to Finishing your Basement
June 22, 2020
Est. Reading Time: 7 Mins
An unfinished basement is like a blank canvas–a dark empty space full of transformational possibilities. But even a finished basement has the potential for further renovations.
Perhaps you’re thinking of creating a playroom for the kids to have fun in. Or maybe you’d like to install an entertainment system and wet bar for when you host guests on the weekends. You could even be interested in turning a portion of your basement into a rental suite to generate a little extra income.
If you are unsure how to renovate your space, do not worry. When it comes to basement renovations, the options are limitless!
At La-Z-Boy, though we may be dedicated to living room furniture, some of our furniture frames have the potential to become places to create a man cave or a woman cave. We also have an article listing 20 of the Coolest Basement Ideas.
But before embarking on your project, you may wonder, how much will it cost to renovate my basement?
This article will provide a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with different types of basement renovations so that you know exactly what to expect!
In This Article…
- Basic Basement Finishing
- Finishing System Project
- Basement Remodel
- Things to Remember
- Added Value of Basement Renovations
Types of Basement Renovations & Associated Costs
The price of your basement renovation depends on the type of renovation you’re looking to do. Depending on how big the project is, basement renovations can typically cost anywhere from $25,000 to $60,000 for general renovations of an area, with an average of 30 to 60 days to complete.
Other factors also come into play, such as the size and shape of the room and the amenities you’re looking to add or upgrade.
Basic Basement Finishing Costs
Basement finishing is described as turning an unfinished basement into a livable space. A basic basement finishing project involves building a frame, running mechanicals, installing walls, painting, and installing flooring.
Finishing a basement can cost as little as $5,000 or as much as over $48,000 for major projects. As mentioned before, this price can vary depending on the size of the basement, your choice of materials, and the additional features that you choose to install.
Of course, the cost is also subject to increase if you run into any plumbing or electrical that needs repair or upgrading.
DIY or Hire a Pro?
Many people ask themselves this great question when it is time to renovate a house. If you’re looking to reduce the amount of spending and have experience in DIY home renovating projects, subtracting labour services from your budget will greatly decrease your overall cost.
However, you could run into some troubles that you may not be well experienced in, which could cause some safety risks. If the renovation is out of your area of expertise, it might be safer to spend the extra money and hire a specialist.
Labour costs make up the majority of the project’s budget. In fact, hiring a general contractor for a basement renovation can cost up to $34,000 alone.
Costs of Finishing a Basement: DIY vs. Pro
Take a look at the budget differences below.
Small (<700 sq. ft.)
Average (700 – 1,000 sq. ft)
Large (1,000+ sq. ft)
DIY Basement Renovation Cost Breakdown
To get a better idea of how much it might cost to finish a basement yourself without the labour costs, take a look at this breakdown of material expenses.
Price Per Square Foot
$1,800 on average
$7 to $16 (per linear foot)
$20 to $30 (per linear foot with drywall)
$1,850 on average
$2 (per square foot)
$1,700 on average
$1 to $6 (per square foot)
Between $1,500 to $4,500
$3 to $11 (per square foot of laminate or carpet)
Up to $22 (per square foot of hardwood)
Once the basic interior is installed, additional costs may be incurred with personalized finishing touches and upgrades.
Basement Finishing System Project
If time is a factor at play, you may consider investing in a finishing system. A basement finishing system is essentially an out-of-the-box basement that includes everything from pre-fabricated, moisture-proof insulated wall panels to lighting and ceilings. This a fast and effective way to have a finished basement in as little as 2 weeks if done professionally.
It is important to note that the only option when installing a finishing system is through professionals. These systems are only sold to franchise installers, who must be responsible for applying them to your basement.
While home finishing systems are extremely timely and convenient, they do come at a hefty price, with most being sold at prices as high as $30,000.
If your basement is already finished, you may consider the last main type of basement renovation, which is a basement remodel. Basement remodelling involves altering and changing an existing finished space. You may choose to rework your finished basement by modifying the layout or adding a new room.
The cost of remodelling a basement depends on how drastically you intend to transform your current space. This means the cost can range between $4,200 to $45,000 for labour and materials. On average, most basement remodels cost around $20,200.
Additional costs can arise if you choose to add amenities, such as an additional bathroom or kitchenette, as this involves the installation of new plumbing and electrical. Further, the price may drastically increase if your basement renovation involves adding new rooms and expanding the foundation.
Things to Remember When Renovating a Basement
Aside from the immediate expenses associated with basement renovations, there are a few other important factors to consider before embarking on your project.
It is important to remember that most basement renovation projects require a permit. In fact, any project involving electrical, plumbing, or turning the basement into a livable space requires a permit.
Permits for most renovation jobs cost about $100 to $2,000.
A permit is necessary to ensure that the project is completed safely, especially when plumbing is done to code for proper drainage to avoid health issues. Further, permits are also required to ensure that emergency escape venues are put in place.
Failure to obtain a permit for your basement renovation could result in consequences, such as fines or a stop-work order. You may be forced to undo any finishing or remodelling installations that were completed without a permit.
Finishing a basement without a permit could ultimately affect your home’s resale value, thus not getting a proper return on your investment.
When finishing or remodelling a basement, you work closely with the home’s foundation. Whether your home is an older model or relatively new, your home's foundation should always be inspected prior to basement renovations.
Completing a foundation inspection will ensure you do not cover up any structural damage with your new renovations. If there is any damage to the foundation, it is imperative that you get that fixed before attempting to build on top of it.
If any damages are found in the inspection, such as a shift in the structure, expect repair costs of about $30 to $100 per square foot.
Being underground, the basement is also extremely susceptible to water damage and leakage. When beginning basement renovations, it is important to look out for signs of water damage, such as standing water or hairline cracks in the foundation, to avoid future issues.
You may also consider waterproofing your basement to ensure your home finishes and renovations are safe.
Minor waterproofing projects can cost an average of $2,000 to $7,000.
Value of a Basement Renovation
Of all the home renovations, finishing a basement is the most effective way to add value to your home.
Converting an unfinished basement into a livable space actually adds usable square footage to your home. This adds significant value to the home, especially when you’re looking to resell.
Typically, home buyers prefer to invest in a house with an already finished basement.
Basement renovations also add value to your home and to your family while you reside there. By finishing the basement and creating more living space through renovation, you can spend more time at home without spending money elsewhere for entertainment.
When considering it all, the value derived from basement renovations exceeds the cost! In fact, on average, basement remodel projects have about a 70% return on investment.
Renovations are only the beginning of the possibilities for transforming your basement into a livable extension of your home! This renovated space is now an empty canvas, ready to be filled with comfortable furniture and stylish home decor.
At La-Z-Boy, we offer complimentary design services. Depending on how you intend to use your new space, a design consultant can work with you one-on-one to furnish and design your basement in a way that is tailored to your tastes and preferences. To learn more about our Interior Designing Process, take a look at this step-by-step guide.
At La-Z-Boy, we offer a large variety of furniture, including comfortable sofas and sectionals that would fit seamlessly. Check out our Reclining Furniture options if you want to transform your basement into something new, like a Home Theatre.
If you want to design and furnish your new basement with La-Z-Boy, visit us at one of our local Ottawa or Kingston locations or book a consultation online.
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