This blog post is the second of a two part series on basements. Click here to understand the process of finishing a basement after your home has been built.
When considering a basement remodel, there are two types of basements we work on; finished and unfinished. Do you have an unfinished basement that needs finishing, or are you looking to remodel your current one? The pieces to consider in each are a bit different, although many of the costs are the same.
Let’s look at a breakdown of two different levels of finishes for basements. We’ll walk through a basic finish and a higher end finish. Keep in mind that a rough cost estimate largely depends on how big your basement is and what you envision your remodel to look like.
A basic basement finish:
A basic one bedroom basement finish would include framing the walls, mechanical work (electrical and HVAC), finishing the ceiling and walls (which includes drywall, insulation, painting), and finally, the doors, trim, and carpet. For this type of basement and bathroom finish, the estimated ballpark cost that we see with our projects (2021 pricing) is approximately $65/square foot, which puts most basements between $55,000 - $75,000. A basic bathroom, which most basements include, will add roughly $15,000 to the cost of the project. However, it’s important to note that this is a very general price guide, and that we work with our clients to stay within their budget by discussing what’s most important to them and guiding them through the selection process.
In terms of flooring, many homeowners choose to carpet their basement floors because it is the least expensive type of flooring. Carpet provides a comfortable place for kids to play and has a warm feel. You can choose a nice basic carpet and pad with a ballpark estimate of $5-6/square foot, including installation. LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank) or LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) is another popular flooring option to consider. LVT/P products are a versatile option for basements, and have many advantages, although they tend to be more expensive than carpet. If you’d like to read more about why you might select LVT/P, click here.
If a bathroom is included in your design, the basic bathroom finishes would include LVT/P floor, a fiberglass tub/shower surround unit, toilet, and basic vanity with an acrylic top and fixtures. There are many vanity options that provide great quality and value while accentuating your design. For more information on the cost of a bathroom remodel, click here.
A higher end basement refinish:
There are additional add-ons and upgrades available if you’d like to have more than a basic finish. Carefully considering how you intend to use the space will drive the design decisions that you will need to make. People utilize their basements for a wide variety of activities ranging from private retreat space to large parties. Consider if you desire to use your space to host parties, entertain guests, exercise, or relax. We have built theater rooms, weight rooms, dance studios, music rooms, wine cellars, pinball and arcade rooms, bars, Lego rooms, drum rooms (with extra sound insulation), and craft rooms, just to name a few.
Investing in the family room portion of the basement is the most popular place to concentrate the budget, and you can do so by adding a wet bar, fireplace, game area, or even a full kitchen. These will bump your estimated price up and you may need to plan for the cost to be 20-50% higher, or even more depending on the size of your basement and what you’re trying to accomplish. Just like with a basic basement finish, we’re here to dream with you, all while working to stay within your budget. Knowing how much you want to invest in your basement helps us keep the design and selections within your budget, while maximizing value.
When considering a bar, the cost will largely depend on how big it is, and whether or not you add plumbing. Some homeowners choose to simply install cabinets without a sink, which is a functional way to entertain guests and still keep your costs down. Building a wet bar will require plumbing for the sink and/or refrigerator, as well as specific electrical requirements. These will add an additional range of costs, but adding plumbing will open up many options.
There are a variety of appliances that you may want to consider. Our clients generally purchase appliances on their own, and we are happy to recommend some good suppliers. You choose a refrigerator, ice maker, dishwasher, pizza oven, microwave, or wine cooler. And, just like in a kitchen, there are a host of countertops options and backsplash finishes that can be a highlight of your design. We make sure that your choices fit into the overall design of the space.
Adding a fireplace will create a warm and a cozy feel, and it can be a fun item to design as a focal point in your space. We can help guide you through picking out the actual fireplace, and whether or not to include a hearth, mantel, and tile or stone to surround the fireplace. Horizontal fireplaces are very popular and have a modern look, while the traditional fireplace is still a common basement feature. The details of designing a fireplace can be complex, with each model having very specific details for mantles, clearances, and materials. You want to avoid future problems (like melting the new TV - we’ve actually seen this), by having an experienced remodeling team guide you through the design and building process.
If you are looking for more natural light to make your basement more inviting or would like to add a bedroom, consider adding windows. Windows can be added to most basements, but the complexity can vary tremendously depending on your lot and the type of foundation your home was built on. For example, adding an egress window below grade will start at roughly $4,000-$5,000 depending on the window size and how deep it is.
And when it comes to adding a nicer bathroom, there will be additional decisions and costs to consider. For more details of what a higher end bathroom remodel might look like, click here.
Remodeling an already finished basement:
Although it may seem that remodeling or renovating an already finished basement is completely different than finishing an unfinished one, the two are more similar than they seem.
Many homeowners will choose to upgrade their living room area in the basement, and are considering one or more of the following factors, including; flooring, adding or upgrading a wet bar, painting, adding a fireplace, or all of the above.
The cost of each of these upgrades will depend on your vision and desire, which we will talk through during your initial consultation. Many of the costs are outlined above, or are found in the bathroom cost breakdown post, kitchen cost breakdown post (when considering wet bar options), or Luxury Vinyl flooring post.
To discuss your unique goal and vision on a basement remodel, click here to schedule an initial consultation (free of charge) so we can get you a customized quote.
After reading through the options and prices, how does it sound to you? If your budget is below our ballpark prices, there are factors to consider that can help cut costs.
Some questions you may want to contemplate are: Would you be open to doing some of the work yourself? Installing the trim and/or doors? Are you willing to do the painting? Maybe wait and coordinate the flooring at a later time? Do you simply need some, and not all, of your basement finished?
It’s helpful for us to know your ideal budget so that we can work to stay within it. Part of our initial consultation is to walk you through the items you need to consider, including what you want and what your budget is, and work with you to get the best value within your budget.
Have more questions about the process? Click here to schedule your free initial consultation.