How Much Does a Basement Remodel Cost?
There aren't many things that can spark a homeowner's imagination more than a basement remodel. Thoughts fly between the convenience of adding extra living or utility space, creating a bedroom for guests, or generating income by increasing the home's value or building a unit for rent.
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These are all worthy alternatives for what may currently be a neglected storeroom — but how much does remodeling a basement cost, and what else should you consider before embarking on a basement remodel project? We’ve got you covered.
What Is Basement Remodeling?
Remodeling isn't the same as finishing a basement. Finishing a basement means adding drywall, flooring, ceilings, and functions such as electricity and heating or cooling to a space that was previously unfinished. Basement remodeling involves repurposing a finished space by redesigning and altering its physical appearance. A basement remodeling project can involve constructing new rooms within the living space or changing a finished basement used as a family room into a small apartment with a kitchen.
What Do You Need to Consider Before You Start?
Regardless of how you use the space, you should consider more than just paint colors and the basement's flooring. You may need an architectural plan that takes into account the building codes for your area. For example, if you're planning to install a home theater, the plan must detail the type of electrical work required. If it's a living space, adding a bathroom will probably be necessary, so the plan must specify the plumbing work. Building codes stipulate the type of work necessary and demand health and safety compliance, such as the inclusion of egress windows that must be positioned in specific areas and be wide enough for an adult to exit safely.
Common Materials for Basement Remodeling
In addition to the architectural plans, building permits and compliance with building codes, you'll also need to budget for materials, which typically include:
- Frames for the different rooms
- Insulation between the drywall separating rooms
- Wiring and other electrical equipment, such as lights and sockets
- Plumbing, including pipes, sink and toilet (possibly a shower)
- The basement's flooring
- Finishing works, such as hanging the drywall and installing plumbing
- Decorative materials such as paint and furnishings
Can You Save Money by Doing It Yourself?
The cost of labor eats into a budget, so it's understandable that many homeowners choose to do all or most of the work themselves. However, as with everything, there are pros and cons.
- You could save in the region of 20% in labor costs.
- You'll have the satisfaction of knowing it's your own work.
- Every aspect of the job will be yours, without influence from others.
- The building inspector is likely to scrutinize your work more than that of a professional contractor, potentially leading to unexpected costs if structural issues are found.
- Your insurance company may raise your premiums if they're concerned about the quality of your work.
- A licensed contractor may be able to finish work quicker than you and provide a guarantee for the completed job.
DIY enthusiasts with a lot of experience may find doing it themselves is preferable, especially given potential cost savings. However, licensed contractors are experts in their field, so they shouldn't be dismissed without consideration just because costs might be higher. If you decide to go ahead with a licensed contractor but don't know who to choose, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry recommends employing a local licensed and insured company that guarantees its work.
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Total Remodeling Cost
Across the country, the average cost of remodeling a basement is around $53,000 to $75,000 (CAD 73,000 to CAD 103,000).
What Factors Impact That Cost?
Several factors can impact the cost, such as the basement's square footage and the quality of the materials. The type of materials used also affects the final bill. A remodel that includes a bathroom, for example, will add costs that wouldn't otherwise exist.
How Much Does It Cost to Finish a Basement?
The cost of finishing a basement can add another $30,000 to $70,000 (CAD 41,000 to CAD 96,000) to the bill. And then there's the cost of furnishing the space for its intended purpose, which could be something as simple as a pool table and some wall decorations or a full bedroom or living room set.
- Waterproofing typically costs between $3 and $10 (CAD 4 and CAD 14) per square foot.
- Flooring a finished basement is between $1,500 and $4,500 (CAD 2,100 and CAD 6,200).
- Plumbing costs for a bathroom can be $3,000 to $15,000 (CAD 4,100 to CAD 21,000), although it can be more for high-end materials.
- The average price for drywall is $2 (CAD $2.75) per square foot.
Basement remodeling costs can be expensive, but with proper planning and realistic expectations, you can turn your underused space into something great. It can be an extra bedroom, an entertainment room or something that can bring you extra income. Whatever you do with your basement, your project can bring you years of satisfaction and possibly add value to your home.
All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.