What is the cost of a basement? Well, that depends on one major factor…are you doing the project

Hiring a basement contractoryourself, or are you hiring a basement contractor to do the project for you? The price range between the two options will range from $10.00 a sq. ft. upwards to $35-45.00 per sq ft.

I personally like the $ 10.00 per sq. ft. version better, and I have some money-saving tips to share with you that will keep your project in this price range!

Now, I have been finishing basements for a long, long, looooong time (24 years to be exact), and have priced-out thousands of finished basements for both the material and labor costs. I know from experience that an average basement cost me right around $10,000 to $12,000.00 to finish. This is based on my average basement project of 1000 sq. ft.. This price is for a bare-bones “no frills” finished basement with a full bath.

Now…It can get pricier than this, it all depends on the amenities you add to the project. So let’s take a look at a few of the most common Basement Finishing Items that can move the price meter upwards

Top Basement Finishing Price Meter Movers…

Bathroom (Half, 3/4, or Full)

Top Basement FinishingAdding a bathroom to you finished basement is one of the most expensive upgrade you can add to the project. The cost for a simple half bath (assuming you’re doing the work) will add roughly $1,000 to 1,500.00 to the project.

Were just talking a toilet, vanity & sink, sink faucet, and accessories (towel bars, paper holder etc.), and possibly the almighty SEWAGE EJECTOR..MMMMAH AH AH AH AH (more about the sewage ejector in a different post).

Not a bad price though for a nice new powder room. A full bath will set-ya back about another $800.00 or so, but still a lot of bang for your hard-earned buck.

Wet Bar (Walk-up style)

Wet BarAdding a 5′-0″ or 6′-0″ “walk-up style” wet bar to your basement project will add approximately $1,500.00 to $2,500.00. Now this is a small bar situated along a wall in the basement that would typically have a small bar sink, mini- refrigerator, and 4 or 5 base and wall cabinets combined, and a counter top  that make up the bar.

This style bar is an awesome addition for a home theater or game room setup!

Egress Exit (Code approved)

Egress ExitAdding an egress window or door to your basement project so your basement meets building code guidelines. These exits must now be present in most areas of the world in order for your basement floor plan to be approved! These exits are NOT a project for homeowners in most cases, and should be installed by a professional who specializes in installing them. The windows or the doors cost around $3,500 to $4,000.00 to install (labor and materials).

Building Material Choices

You can “make or break the bank” with your choice of building materials. You are in control over your own selections. For instance a Tiled basement floor can cost double what a carpeted floor will cost, a Tile shower can cost 3 times what a fiberglass shower will cost and so on. Knowing your budget before you pick your building materials will help you keep your basement project within your budget.


Whether you plan on doing all of the basement project yourself or just certain phases of the project, your subcontractor labor will greatly influence the overall cost of your project. Example: Hiring a drywall contractor to hang and finish your drywall will add approximately $1,500 to $2,500 in labor to your projects bottom line or hiring an electrician to wire your basement will add $1,000 to 1,500 or more to the bottom line. The more you can learn to do yourself the fatter your wallet will be in the end!

Material Costs for an average 1000 sq ft basement (You doing the work yourself)

  • Framing $ 1,200.00
  • Plumbing $ 2,100.00 (full bath w/ ejector pump system)
  • Electric $ 800.00
  • HVAC $ 275.00 (heating & cooling)
  • Drywall $ 1,100.00
  • Doors $ 500.00
  • Trim $ 900.00
  • Painting $ 600.00
  • Flooring $ 1,900.00
  • Misc. $ 1,500.00
  • Total $ 10,875.00 (not bad!!)

“The more work you can do the more money you can keep, it’s that simple.”

Playing the General Contractor Role…

Now if you don’t want to do any of the work yourself, you can play “General Contractor” and coordinate all of the subcontractors for all of the different phases of the project.

By doing this you could potentially save all of the profit you would be paying-out to a basement contractor if you hired him to finish your basement. This normally equates to roughly 25% of the total project cost.

So if a basement contractor is charging $30,000.00 to finish your basement and you played the General Contractor you would save approximately $7,500.00. This would knock your basement price down from $30K to $22.5K not a bad savings!

Have questions about your finished basement project costs? Feel free to contact me with questions and I will be more than happy to help you figure-out  your basement price-tag! Leave me a comment below on this page!

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