Basements are a key part of many homes, but too many homeowners overlook their basement’s potential. While a basement can be used as a larger storage room, they are capable of so much more. While unfinished basements can function well as storage rooms, you can take steps to waterproof and finish your basement to transform it into a fully functional extra room in your home. If you want to finish your basement, here are some tips to help you along the way.


Basement water leakage can cause serious problems for a homeowner. Standing water can lead to mold growth, which poses health issues. It's also a haven for bugs and other pests. Over time, concrete blocks and foundations can sustain hairline cracks. While they may appear small on the surface, they can be the start of an enormous problem, so early repair is key. The only way to rectify a basement water problem is to remove the water and seal the leaks. This may involve removing existing paint or wall coverings as well as replacing soggy beams.

In addition to floors and walls, upgrading your basement ceiling is another option to consider. Finishing your basement creates a new room in your home and a part of any room is the ceiling. While it’s cheaper to leave the ceiling the way it is, many basements have exposed wiring and duct work that service the home above. In certain cases, leaving all this exposed may be the better option, but for others, upgrading the ceiling could be the right choice. Understand that any addition to the room will up the overall price, so be sure to make the right choice for the space and your wallet.
Finishing a basement ceiling can be a challenge as more than likely, you will need to work around duct, plumbing and electrical work, all while trying to maintain a comfortable room height. A qualified contractor may be able to reroute some of this hardware, but you will more likely lose some headroom to accommodate these fixtures in your finished basement.
Before using this basement remodeling calculator, understand that its pricing is based on a few basic assumptions about your floor. The calculator is assuming that you’re starting with a concrete floor in an unfinished basement. Anything beyond that, including removal of old flooring materials, is not taken into account in this estimate. You should keep this in mind.
A basement in Vincentown, NJ needed new flooring and carpeting. Quality 1st Basement Systems installed ThermalDry basement floor panels in the carpet color charcoal. As a leading basement finishing contractor, we have the best products that can handle the harsh environments of basements.  Now, this basement looks amazing and has comfortable flooring!
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.
When it comes to basement remodels, the most costly way is to start with bare bones. If all you have is concrete walls and floors, you need to add framing, electrical, plumbing, flooring and trim. Basement finishing in a newer home that already has plumbing and electrical roughed in, a watertight foundation and some insulation installed—but no final finishes (like drywall or paint or carpet)—usually costs less than remodeling an already finished basement. This is because when you already have a finished basement, the pros will need to do demolition at the beginning of the project, which can add $500–$1,500 to overall costs.
An unfinished basement, with its concrete floor and exposed joists, may seem dreary and cold. But in reality it is an enormous blank canvas just waiting for your inspired ideas and artistic vision. The fact is, you don't really need niceties like drywall and recessed lighting to create an inviting space. Before you begin, do what you need to do to make sure the space is dry and clean. Fix any water issues and apply waterproofing if necessary. Unfinished concrete flooring will produce fine dust if it’s not sealed, so you may want to consider applying a sealer. It’s an easy DIY project that will go a long way to making your unfinished basement a lot more comfortable and manageable to maintain.
This before and after photoset is of a raised ranch basement. In the before picture you can see the outdated and unappealing wood paneling on the walls. The room also looks dark because the window is not allowing natural light to flow in. In the after picture you’ll see that our crew turned this dark and outdated basement into a bright, naturally-lit functional space.
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Plumbing - Check locally for required permits and any zoning law regulations about adding in plumbing, or whenever working with septic and sewer lines. Planning your basement bathroom directly below or close to the pipes of an existing bathroom may help reduce the overall labor and costs. Remember that all drainage lines require a downhill slope to sluice away waste water. If this isn't possible, a sewage injection pump must be installed. An approximate cost of these pumps ranges from $150-$3,000.
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.
Sourcing supplies, clearing debris, and doing prep work can all help you save on basement costs. Consider what skills you have and talk with your contractor about what will shave money in each area. You may have the tools and strength to demo walls, which can save you several hundred dollars. Sourcing the materials for the pro takes this task off their labor time and saves you money. Doing prep work and finish work is also a way to cut down on total cost. Painting the walls yourself at the end of the project could save you hundreds of dollars. Negotiate all these aspects before signing your contract.
Pipes will have to be brought down, and a sewage pump and backwater valve might have to be installed to ensure proper drainage of effluent and bath/shower water if gravity doesn’t work in your favor. Take care to ensure moisture prevention with a dehumidifier and vented fan system. Many building codes have minimum dimensions regarding how close each fixture can be to the next.
It was the start of a year-and-a-half basement finishing project, but it was well worth all of the effort. Jamin and Ashley of the home design blog The Handmade Home began by installing drywall over the cinderblock walls, applying spray foam insulation, and enclosing the necessary but ugly supporting adjustable steel posts. Next came paint, flooring, and furniture, all fusing together to make a lovely daylight basement for work and play.

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.
Sourcing supplies, clearing debris, and doing prep work can all help you save on basement costs. Consider what skills you have and talk with your contractor about what will shave money in each area. You may have the tools and strength to demo walls, which can save you several hundred dollars. Sourcing the materials for the pro takes this task off their labor time and saves you money. Doing prep work and finish work is also a way to cut down on total cost. Painting the walls yourself at the end of the project could save you hundreds of dollars. Negotiate all these aspects before signing your contract.

Sourcing supplies, clearing debris, and doing prep work can all help you save on basement costs. Consider what skills you have and talk with your contractor about what will shave money in each area. You may have the tools and strength to demo walls, which can save you several hundred dollars. Sourcing the materials for the pro takes this task off their labor time and saves you money. Doing prep work and finish work is also a way to cut down on total cost. Painting the walls yourself at the end of the project could save you hundreds of dollars. Negotiate all these aspects before signing your contract.
In addition to floors and walls, upgrading your basement ceiling is another option to consider. Finishing your basement creates a new room in your home and a part of any room is the ceiling. While it’s cheaper to leave the ceiling the way it is, many basements have exposed wiring and duct work that service the home above. In certain cases, leaving all this exposed may be the better option, but for others, upgrading the ceiling could be the right choice. Understand that any addition to the room will up the overall price, so be sure to make the right choice for the space and your wallet.

Basement water leakage can cause serious problems for a homeowner. Standing water can lead to mold growth, which poses health issues. It's also a haven for bugs and other pests. Over time, concrete blocks and foundations can sustain hairline cracks. While they may appear small on the surface, they can be the start of an enormous problem, so early repair is key. The only way to rectify a basement water problem is to remove the water and seal the leaks. This may involve removing existing paint or wall coverings as well as replacing soggy beams.
Any project involving electrical, plumbing, or turning the basement into a livable space, requires permits. Plumbing must be done to code for proper drainage to avoid health issues. It also has to ensure flushing certain waste back into the sewer. Electrical issues can cause short-circuits, blown breakers, and fires. The chance of something happening increases if installation is not done properly from the start, including acquiring the proper permits. If creating a bedroom or other regular living space, permits are required. Emergency escape avenues (for fire and other emergencies) need to be in place as well.
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