How Much Does Finishing a Basement Cost? (2023)

By Amanda Lutz

Aug 15, 2023
New house with renovated basement with couch and chairs.

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The average cost to finish a 1,000-square-foot basement is $7,000 to $23,000.*, or $7 to $23 per square foot. A finished basement can serve numerous purposes in a home, including storage, office space, or an entire extra bedroom. However, you’ll need to make your basement liveable, comfortable, and waterproof before using it. We’ll break down what goes into this investment and discuss your options for using your finished space.

*Cost data via Angi, Fixr, and Home Advisor.

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Major Cost Factors for Finishing a Basement

The two most relevant factors for setting your basement remodeling budget are basement size and type.

Basement Size

The primary determinant of the total remodeling cost is square footage. Larger areas require more material and labor, and larger basements may also be divided up into multiple rooms—for example, a home office and a kitchenette—which will cost more.

Cost by Basement Size

Here are some basement finishing costs for common basement sizes using a range of $7 to $23 per square foot.

Basement Size (in Sq. Ft.)Cost Range















Basement Type

Remodeling a wholly unfinished basement will require more work than one that’s already partially finished. Unfinished basements typically have exposed pipes and ductwork and few features other than laundry facilities or storage. Partially finished basements usually have at least flooring and drywall and they may have some plumbing and HVAC amenities.

Labor Costs

Finishing a basement requires skilled labor, particularly when it comes to plumbing and electrical work. Even if you were to do everything else yourself, you’d still need to hire a plumber and an electrician to ensure that your new living space meets applicable building codes. You may also want to hire a general contractor to coordinate the entire project, which typically adds 10% to 25% to the total project cost.

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Additional Factors Affecting Basement Finishing Cost

The extent of your basement finishing project and the amenities you want determine the additional costs.

Individual Projects

Half- or partially-finished basements may not require every project on this list. However, if you plan to go from a completely unfinished basement to a finished basement, you may need all of them.

Project TypeCost Range

Sump pump installation














Plumbing work


Egress windows


Electrical work


Sump Pump

Homeowners in areas with high water tables and lots of rain may want to install a sump pump in the basement to actively move water away from your home’s foundation. A pedestal-style pump is a smaller investment but they are also less powerful, whereas a submersible-style pump has plenty of power but may not last as long. The cost of installation, which ranges from about $640 to $2,090, will also depend on whether a contractor needs to dig a pit into the concrete floor.


If you want to partition your finished basement into multiple rooms, you’ll need to hire a carpenter to frame the new walls. Before drywall and insulation, hiring a carpenter costs about $7 to $16 per linear foot, so 100 linear feet of framing will cost $700 to $1,600.


Finishing basement walls with drywall costs about $2 per square foot, so the overall cost could range from $800 for 400 square feet to $3,000 for 1,500 square feet.


The cost of a basement ceiling is a part of insulation and drywall costs. If you’d prefer a drop ceiling to hide overhead pipes, wires, and ductwork, this usually runs about $2 to $6 per square foot, for an overall cost of $800 to $9,000.


Insulating the walls and ceiling improves the comfort and energy efficiency of your new basement living area. Low-end insulation such as foam board or fiberglass batting costs only about $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot, but those materials are susceptible to water damage. Higher-end options like spray foam cost up to $5 per square foot and require professional installation, but they’re more effective and durable. The average cost to insulate a basement is usually between $1,400 and $6,300.


Once installed, drywall needs to be painted. Professional indoor painting costs about $3.50 per square foot, so painting the entire basement will typically cost between $1,400 and $9,000, depending on the surface area you want to cover.


The cost of flooring will depend heavily on your chosen materials. Laminate and carpet are more budget-conscious choices at $3 to $11 per square foot, but hardwood flooring can cost up to $22 per square foot. You can expect to pay $1,500 to $4,500 for a new basement floor.

Plumbing Work

The amount of new plumbing you’ll need depends on how you want to use your finished basement. Plumbing is already routed through the basement in many houses, so if you don’t need to reroute many lines, the cost may be low. Adding pipes for a full basement bathroom or laundry room or installing a new drainage system represents a larger investment. Licensed plumbers charge between $45 and $200 an hour for a typical total of $2,500 to $5,000.

Egress Windows

If you want to use your basement as an extra bedroom, you’ll need to install an egress window (an emergency exit window) at a cost of $2,650 to $5,650. To meet building codes and serve as a useful emergency exit, this window must be at least 20 inches wide and 24 inches high. If your basement is below grade, you’ll need to excavate and shore up a window well, which can make an egress window a significant investment.

Electrical Work

Installing electrical wiring will need to be done by a licensed electrician. They charge between $50 and $100 per hour, so for a 1,000-square-foot basement, the cost could be between $3,000 to $5,000. The total cost will depend on the number and type of lighting fixtures and other electrical appliances you want. If your home also needs a new electrical panel to handle the additional load, the cost will be higher.


Finishing a basement turns it into an empty, but liveable, space. A full basement remodel involves bringing in furniture, electronics, and other features. Whether you’re taking on a basement remodeling project or fully finishing the space for the first time, you may want to customize with some of these upgrades and furnishings.


Finishing a basement is a major home improvement project that requires structural changes, so you’ll need one or more building permits to proceed. The project’s specifics, including necessary plumbing and electrical work and local building codes, will determine the permit’s price. You can expect to pay between $1,160 and $1,350 in permit fees.


Inspection fees are usually included with building permits, but if any preexisting structural damage is found, you’ll need to repair it before finishing work can begin. Foundation repairs can be a large investment, between $2,160 and $7,735, but they’re extremely important to your home’s stability and the functionality of your new space. If hazardous materials such as mold or asbestos are found in your basement, you’ll need to have them remediated, which can cost from $1,170 to $3,050.


Basement waterproofing is incredibly important for making the space safe and comfortable, especially in damp climates. Basic damp-proofing options like waterproof paint and vapor barriers may only cost about $3 to $6 per square foot, but heavy-duty methods like creating French drains or installing an exterior membrane may cost $5 to $10 per square foot. Some of these labor and material costs may be part of other framing and insulation costs, so be sure to speak to a professional contractor about how best to waterproof the space. Existing water damage can cost between $450 and $13,000 to repair, so it’s essential to do your best to prevent it.



Professional vs. DIY Basement Finishing

While there are some do-it-yourself (DIY) parts of a basement finishing project, the bulk of the work must be done by licensed professionals. Here’s how that investment breaks down.

Professional Basement Finishing

To meet building codes and protect your home’s value, all plumbing and electrical work must be completed by licensed professionals. The same is also true for any foundation and structural work, as well as changes to an HVAC system. Depending on the amount of framing and the required insulation, you may also want to hire a pro for these tasks. Professional contractors will complete the work quickly and neatly, and they’ll have the proper knowledge of permits and building codes. Additionally, some materials may require professional installation in order to preserve their warranty.

DIY Basement Finishing

That said, a DIY’er can take on many final finishing tasks themselves. Painting, installing simple flooring and trim, tiling, decorating, and furnishing are all DIY-friendly jobs. Basement finishing is a complex job that requires many different specialty trades, and you probably won’t have the tools and knowledge for all of them, so pick your projects carefully. It can take a full team of professionals 45 days to go from an unfinished to completely finished basement; it will take much longer if you do it yourself.



How to Reduce Basement Finishing Costs

Although finishing a basement represents a substantial financial investment, you can save money on the overall project costs with the following tips.



How to Hire a Professional

You’ll likely need to hire a number of different subcontractors for finishing or refinishing your basement. Here are some things to keep in mind.



Our Recommendation

A finished basement can increase your home’s living space and give you new ways of using it. The total project cost can vary widely depending on basement size and project scope, so it’s important to research your options and set your budget carefully. A finished basement comes with a return on investment of between 50% and 80% depending on your local market and basement type, so this is a worthwhile but major project.

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Basement Finishing FAQ

What are the benefits of a basement finishing?

Finishing your basement adds to your home’s living space and resale value. The new space is incredibly versatile, increasing your options for customization. A finished basement also increases your home’s overall energy efficiency, since an insulated space helps keep your home’s temperature consistent and prevents your HVAC system from working too hard.

What are some recommended ways to finish a basement?

Here are some potential ways to use your finished basement.Home officeHome gymStorageLaundry spaceExtra bedroom/bathroomHome theaterEntertaining space

What is included in a finished basement?

A finished basement typically includes a complete subfloor and floor, electrical system, plumbing, heating and/or air conditioning, access to the main part of the home, and finished walls and ceilings. If it’s going to serve as a bedroom, the basement also needs to have an egress window.

Is it most cost-effective to finish a basement or add on?

Building a home addition usually costs between $80 and $200 per square foot, as opposed to $7 to $23 per square foot to finish a basement. Thus, finishing an existing basement is nearly always the more cost-effective option.