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Average Basement Finishing Cost

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What's an Average Basement Finishing Cost?
Average Basement Finishing Costs

Average Basement Finishing Costs

(c) Lee Wallender; Licensed to About.com
Basement finishing seems like a sure deal. You get to "add" space to your house without all the mess and expense of actually adding--no quotes--space via a house addition.

House additions are the granddaddy of space-adders, as well as frustration-provokers. Few homeowners have enough cash in pocket to pay for an addition (high five figures but more likely six figures), so you're stuck with taking out a line of credit.

Financially, basement finishing offers the tantalizing hope of being able to pay for the project out-of-pocket. Not that it's cheap--as we will see in just a moment--but because you can spread out the project over time as your reserves replenish. But a house addition is like hopping on a fast-moving train. Once you start it, you're pretty much committed to finishing it within a reasonable timeframe--unless you want weather-tattered Tyvek® flapping in the wind and dirty looks from your neighbors.

Because no two houses are the same, let's posit a few different scenarios that reflect average basement finishing costs.

Cost With a Basement Finishing System

Basement finishing systems typically are franchised operations that use proprietary materials and place heavy emphasis on controlling moisture and, in general, providing you with a tight, dry, warm space. Appointments are minimal.

This estimate is based on a 1,350 sq. ft. basement, with costs ranging from $35-$40 per square foot.

Cost: $47,250 to $54,000

Cost With a Contractor

Sky is the limit. Since this is a bespoke basement, it's up to you to go as high as you want. But what about low end?

The estimate for this finished basement is predicated on a well-furnished, highly-appointed 640 square foot basement with full electrical work, bathroom installed, 24 foot partition wall, six doors, wet bar, 15 ceiling lights, and laminate floor.

Cost: about $70,000. What about the cost to finish off the "envelope"--no bathroom, wet bar? This would bring the costs down to the

Cost Doing It Yourself

Once again, it depends on how much moisture and temperature control you have to take on; how much of the work you end up hiring out; how well-appointed the place will be.

I have looked at a lot of DIY basement finishing costs and have yet to see anything below $10,000, for even the most minimal, plain remodel. Basement refinishes are material-heavy, in terms of cost, and your DIY project will undoubtedly cost at least $10,000 in materials.

Cost: $12,000 to $25,000

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