If the hundreds of photos and stories submitted to this year's annual Search for America's Best Remodel Contest prove one thing, it's that you love flipping the idea of what a basement can be. With a little work, these once dark, desolate spaces can become bonus rooms for entertaining family and friends or getting some work done. Here, the editors of This Old House pick the best basement remodels.
Before walls and flooring can be added, the basement must first be professionally framed. Framing an unfinished basement can be very expensive; not only will it require a large amount of labor, but material costs are high as well. If you consider all the lumber your contractor will need to lay, plus crossbeams and studs, you will find that lumber is going to be one of the costlier aspects of the project.
Accounting for variables such as square footage, materials, electrical and plumbing, the average basement remodel ranges from $11,034 and $29,226. Some cost as little as $5,000, with top of the line remodels costing over $40,000. The average cost to homeowners is $20,126. Expect to spend between $10 and $35 per square foot depending on the changes made.
Finished basement on high end house. I designed all of it and spent some time managing the process. Already had lots of windows (walk-out). Used high end materials and design features ( plank laminate flooring with some granite/marble, rope lighting, recessed panels,heavy finish trim molding, recessed lighting, rope lighting, central audio/speakers, full kitchen, full bath,fireplace, zoned HVAC, etc). Took almost 9 months to complete fully. Great finished product.
Running out of space in your home? Look down under. These homeowners found fresh square footage in their home by remodeling their basement into a budget-friendly, space-savvy hangout. An orange, green, and blue color scheme adds a bright look to the basement, while the combination of custom storage solutions with big-box finds creates a space that serves many needs.
Insulation will help to control the temperature and moisture, and it can act as an additional soundproofing agent. Spray-applied closed-cell foam insulation prices range from $700 to $4,000 or $32 – $80.50 per cubic square foot, per 1” of thickness sprayed. Foam is recommended for basement insulation because it is not air permeable—it won’t cause condensation to build up between the insulation and concrete walls.
The cost of a basement remodel can be significant, but your potential return on investment is just as considerable. In addition to adding to your living space, the average basement remodeling project also increases your home's resale value. The National Association of Realtors considers basement remodels to be among the most valuable home renovations.

All basements must have at least two exits, one being the stairs. Any work done without permits could delay the project or cause it to come to a halt. Some basement refinishing work has had to be completely demolished and redone according to code because of the lack of permits. Different building departments and cities will have different ways to calculate your permit fees, and below are two different examples of permit fees calculations using a formula based on the total construction cost:
Search the pro’s contractor’s license to verify they are in good standing with the state board. As an example, in California, search the California State Contractors Board to learn if the license is up to date, if they have any legal action against them and if the contractor is in good standing. Some states only require contractors licenses for residential projects based on price, so research your region to be safe. For more information on smart hiring, check out our safety tips.

Finishing a basement can cost between $25–$50 per square foot on average, depending on how the basement is finished, whether any challenges come up or whether there are special circumstances with the project. For this reason, a 1,000-square-foot basement can cost up to $50,000 or more to finish. Virgil Miranda of Virgil Miranda’s Construction, a general contracting company based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, says it can be tricky to estimate remodeling jobs based on square footage alone, due to the variance in each job. Larger basements may have a lower cost per square foot than tiny remodel jobs.
Remodeling a finished basement is costlier. The demo can cost from $1,500 to around $3,000 to prep the site. System upgrades include expanding the HVAC and electrical, but even if you already have a bathroom in place, remodeling can add $1,000 to $4,000. Finally, the finishing work can be kept low if you stay with the basics, but upgrades to hardwood floors and other luxuries will add $7,000 to $10,000 to the job. On average, expect to pay $13,200 to $30,500 for this job.
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