Basements can be daunting spaces for remodeling. Cluttered, dark, and chilly, basements often convince homeowners to turn their attention to other projects in the home. But basements don't have to stay that way. They can be remodeled and finished so that they not only integrate with the rest of the home, but become a beautiful and valuable asset to the property.
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.
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.
Support beams are common and necessary in most basements. Connecticut Basement Systems provides a bright, attractive, detailed column wrap to transform these unattractive poles into a sophisticated design choice-- SmartPost Column Wrap. Crown molding along the top and bottom makes these especially beautiful. They are made of durable, long-lasting materials, and have the ability to transform your basement into an attractive living space!
The basement depicted here had unused space underneath the stairs. Why not transform this area into a storage or display area instead? These homeowners found some usable square footage in their home by remodeling their basement into a space-conscious hangout, an inventive and creative strategy that shows you don’t have to substitute style for function. 
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.
Will Fowler is the Marketing Director for the Concrete Protector and Sani-Tred in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Will designed his first website when he was 15, and loves all things in design, wordpress, and apple. Will enjoys writing about home improvement, basement waterproofing, and decorative concrete coatings. Will lives with his beautiful wife, four rambunctious children in Ohio.
Basement demolition costs for your existing walls and flooring ranges between $1,900 to $8,700 for 600 sqft, and between $3,400 to $11,900 or more for a 1,200 sqft basement. For a complete demolition of the existing walls, stripping back to the framing, and ripping up the existing flooring, you could be looking at an additional cost of between $2.70 – $10.10 per square foot. Depending on the extent of the remodeling to be done and the ease of access for the construction crew, your costs will vary.

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.
For homeowners who are seeking fully remodel a basement, then they will be aiming to spend anywhere from $30,000 to $65,000. The varied range depends on the extent of the renovations that are made to the space. The addition of bedrooms, bathrooms, exterior insulation, electrical wiring, plumbing, flooring, furniture, light fixtures and the help of a contractor will all cause an increase in the price. Of course, the cost to remodel a basement will also depend on the square footage of the space.
"I have found many of my ideas reading your magazine. I cut out pages and put them in a folder. When I first moved in, I didn't even have a TV, so I would just sit, read, and picture the house and basement finished. It now looks just as I pictured it. I saved by using recycled material: The rusty tin was from an old building that was being demolished; barn boards were from an old barn near my parents' farm. The barn door came off another old barn of a friend who said it was from an old boxcar they cut up in the 1940s. My grandfather built the house in 1927 and hand-dug the basement with my grandmother. Now my kids will have great memories of the house—and my grandparents, I know, would be happy."
Because basements are usually below ground level, water seepage and moisture issues have to be resolved before construction can start. Prior to creating a project bid, most contractors will inspect the area to check the interior floor and walls for dampness and make sure the exterior of the foundation is in good shape. Depending on how watertight the basement and foundation are, it may be necessary to protect the basement from future water damage after it’s finished, often through the installation of sump pumps. This work can cost anywhere from $700-$3,000, depending on what needs to be done. Learn more about basement waterproofing. To help prevent moisture problems, homeowners can clear downspouts and gutters of debris to ensure that they help keep moisture away from the foundation.

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The average cost to install an HVAC system in the basement is $4,000 to $6,400 with new ductwork costing an additional $1,500 to $3,000. You might not have to install a separate HVAC system for the basement if the existing unit upstairs can handle the extra workload. If it can’t, then either upgrade your existing unit or install a second unit downstairs. You’ll have to install new ductwork and ventilation either way, unless you install a mini-split system.
Since this basement is not entirely underground - it includes a walk-out entrance on one side -- new egress windows bring natural light into the basement. A simple Roman shade in fun fabric softens the space and brings all the colors of the room together. Egress windows provide an emergency exit; most building codes require one in every bedroom and in habitable basements. Adding one will likely increase the value of a home, as it provides safety, natural light, and increased airflow.
Take care of some initial insulation in the basement by adding slip foam insulation on your cold-water pipes to prevent condensation from building up and then dripping inside your drywall or ceiling. Put slip foam on the hot-water pipes to prevent the loss of any heat. This should be done before boxing in any of the pipes in the basement. Tube pipe foam insulation costs approx. $1.50 – $3.70 per six-foot piece, which can range from ½” – 1” in thickness.

When putting a wall over a recently constructed frame, sheetrock is the industry standard for a durable option, that can be painted easily. It can help insulate the room due to its density and generally lasts a long time when maintained. If you’re trying to significantly drive down costs, using paneling for the walls is an effective option. It’s very light, inexpensive and pre-finished in a variety of different sizes and types. Labor costs may also decrease because paneling is easier to transport and work with.

If you want to increase the amount of living space in your home, remodeling your basement makes a lot more sense than adding on a new addition. A finished basement has an ROI of around 70%, making it one of the better investments you can make in your home. A typical basement remodel costs around $90 a square foot, assuming moderate decor and finishes. With the average project size of 600 square feet, this puts the cost of the average basement remodel around $55,000.


Drywall must be applied to any framed basement walls you have and must be applied to any additional walls used to create your basement bedroom. A standard 8’ by 4’ panel will cost between $10 and $20, depending on the thickness. The cost to install these panels varies, but most homeowners report spending around $1.50/sf. The total cost of your project will range between $1,152 and $1,982, with an average cost of $1,915 to install a wall.
For homeowners who are seeking fully remodel a basement, then they will be aiming to spend anywhere from $30,000 to $65,000. The varied range depends on the extent of the renovations that are made to the space. The addition of bedrooms, bathrooms, exterior insulation, electrical wiring, plumbing, flooring, furniture, light fixtures and the help of a contractor will all cause an increase in the price. Of course, the cost to remodel a basement will also depend on the square footage of the space.
Cork is an eco-friendly flooring material that can be installed over an existing floor or concrete. Cork is derived from the bark of the cork tree, meaning trees are not cut down during harvesting. Cork flooring is durable and has good insulating qualities, but if you choose cork flooring for your basement, make sure you choose a type that is recommended for a basement environment as not all cork flooring is appropriate for basements.
Cork is an eco-friendly flooring material that can be installed over an existing floor or concrete. Cork is derived from the bark of the cork tree, meaning trees are not cut down during harvesting. Cork flooring is durable and has good insulating qualities, but if you choose cork flooring for your basement, make sure you choose a type that is recommended for a basement environment as not all cork flooring is appropriate for basements.

Finishing the ceiling of a basement can be a tricky proposition. In most basements, important pipes, wires, and ducts already crisscross this area, often lowering the total ceiling height. If you were to install a drywall 5 or standard ceiling, you would be encapsulating these items, making them difficult to find and access in the event of an issue. Therefore, most basement ceilings are finished with some type of drop or suspended ceiling, sometimes known as an acoustical ceiling 9 or a grid ceiling.

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.


Great tips. At the onset of explaining various causes of a squeak, Tom Silva says it can be alignment, either of the door-to-hinge, or hinge-to-hinge. Hmm, seems to me those two scenarios different than the case in the vid, that being singular hinge with the barrels out of alignment. So, the vid shows a great solution to fixing out of alignment barrels, but what about fixing doors with hinges out of alignment from each other, or hinges out of alighment on the door? How do you make that determinations, and what is the solution? thx
If you want to increase the amount of living space in your home, remodeling your basement makes a lot more sense than adding on a new addition. A finished basement has an ROI of around 70%, making it one of the better investments you can make in your home. A typical basement remodel costs around $90 a square foot, assuming moderate decor and finishes. With the average project size of 600 square feet, this puts the cost of the average basement remodel around $55,000.
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.
In most cases, your HVAC system should already extend to the basement. If not, however, plan on running additional ducts or vents to ensure the finished rooms are adequately heated. Running new ductwork through your basement will cost around $2,000. Radiant heat is another option for basements, as it can be controlled separately and used only when the basement is. Radiant heat costs around $6,000 - $14,000 depending on the method used.
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.

Storage is key in a multipurpose space. There are several storage units throughout this basement. An IKEA cubby bookcase is a perfect fit for the office niche. Orange baskets corral small items and add spots of color to the basement's storage solutions. Stock cabinetry did not fit in the bar or media spaces, so the homeowners opted for costly, custom cabinets. Experiment with different types of storage units in your home to utilize every possible space. 
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