Save when you don’t need it, and it will be there for you when you do. –Frank Sonnenberg 

basement remodeling

Building the house of your dreams requires dedication and a whole lotta of money. It is important to organize your budget before beginning the physical labor for your basement remodeling project. In this article, we will discuss a few key points that will highlight where you could save huge money during your first basement remodel project.

How Do the Costs Compare When Remodeling Your Basement v/s Renovating?

We have often heard people use the words “remodel” and “renovate” within the same context, but both these words hold separate definitions within the construction world. 

It is important to understand the difference between basement “remodeling” and “renovating” that way you can plan your budget according to your predetermined goals and priorities.  

Starting a basement remodeling project means you are going to change the framing structure either partially or completely. Decisions are made in the planning stages to determine potential locations for an extra bathroom, maybe a soundproofed office you can bunker down in during important business calls. 

Basement remodeling projects can be very pricey due to the huge scale of the job if compared to installing doors or windows. It can range from $30,000 to $75,000 depending on the material used, labor costs, the economy, any previous water damage, etc. 

Opposite to remodeling, when we use the phrase “basement renovation” it refers to repairing any previous damages that the house may have suffered. The most common reason homeowners renovate their basement is because of previously sustained water or fire damage. A typical basement renovation project can cost from $2,800 to $33,000 depending on the complexity and severity of the damage. 

How Do You Budget Your Basement Remodeling Project?

As we have already mentioned, basement remodeling projects can range from $30,000-$75,000. This price translates into a range of about $30-$75 per square foot.

The best way to determine how much your basement remodel project will cost is to focus on the more intricate factors which play a large part in calculating your budget. 

  • Basement Size and condition:

The two main factors that decide how much money your basement remodel will cost is the desired size of the basement and its current physical condition. If you are looking for a partial remodeling of around 1,000 square feet it can cost from $30,000-$75,000 while a 4000 square foot complete remodel can cost up to $300,000. When talking about the basement’s condition, it is important to identify any leakage or moisture problems prior to beginning. You will add to your existing cost, but it needs to be fixed before starting the remodeling of the basement. 

  • Subcontractors and Labor: 

The exact laborers and subcontractors we’ll hire will depend upon the current state of your unfinished basement. A architectural designer will be required to remodel the basement and will charge anywhere from $2,000-$13,000. A licensed electrician in the state of Massachusetts will charge you between $500 and $2,500 to wire your basement, and you will need to hire a plumber to install piping fixtures which will cost you anywhere between $400 and $1,800.

  • Permit:

Before starting any remodeling project a zoning board approved permit is always required, especially if your project includes adding walls, plumbing, or wiring, which is all of them. Different communities have different permit criteria and it can cost from $100 to $2,000. Typically, your licensed contractor will obtain your town permit and include the cost in the contract’s print.

All these various factors contribute to the final cost of a basement remodeling project. Now it’s on you and your hired professional. How much are you willing to pay and where are you deciding to cut extra costs? 

You Can Save Money On A Basement Remodel!

Try these few, simple steps to save money on your future basement remodel project:

  1. Research

Most people try to dive headfirst into basement remodeling projects without first possessing any prior understanding of the process. Instead of jumping on the first basement remodeling trends that come to your attention, try doing some extra research, and allow your local contractors to explain every basement remodeling option available in today’s market. Only then can you decide to cut the red ribbon and start your basement project. 

  1. Maintenance Free Materials

Instead of spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on high-end materials that require yearly polishing, you can use maintenance free material such as vinyl adhesive flooring during your next basement remodel.

  • Open Plan: 

The more walls you add to a home remodeling project the more expensive it will become. Try to opt for an open floor plan basement remodel project, that way you’ll spend less money on drywall and 2×4 framing material. 

  • Avoid Change in Plans: 

If you change your basement remodeling plans mid way through the project the added costs may be too high to handle. Make sure most decisions are made beforehand during the planning stages, then stick to the plan the best you can. 

  • DIY: 

If you have experience and a set of the right tools try doing some of the stuff yourself. It will save you on the labor cost. 

  • Budget: 

Remember, the budget you have set is there for a reason. Always make sure that whatever you spend is within your budget.

Why Following Your Local Building Codes Gives You a Greater Return on Your Investment:

When you follow your local building codes, it means your house or basement is legally approved by the town. The “legally approved” part is very essential because if your house is not legally finished the return on your investment (ROI) multiplies by zero automatically. If you want to get a greater return on your investment you need to follow the codes of your local building inspectors. The local building codes may vary from state to state but some of the pointers are universal which are as follows:

  • Emergency Exit Access:

If you think of finishing your basement without considering Emergency exit access, you might want to retract that thought as this will not go well with the IRC. The IRC fire codes state about the windows that:

Windows must be positioned no more than 4’4” from the floor to the lower sill. 

Windows must be a minimum of 20” wide.

Windows must be open to a minimum of at least 24” in height. 

The home inspection will call you out if your windows do not fall under the fire code. It is better to keep all the rules in mind and keep check on them whether your contractor is following the IRC-stated fire code. 

  • Ceiling Height: 

The height of your ceiling must meet the standard IRC protocol. Your basement ceiling should be about 7 feet in height otherwise your basement will not be considered a living space. Sure, you can dig out the basement floor to increase the height in feet but it will cost you extra money. 

What Additional Costs Should I Consider For My Basement Project?


The walls of your basement are in direct contact with the soil. The direct connection of walls to soil is what makes it prone to problems like leakage and moisture. If you witness any moisture problem it should be resolved before finishing the basement. You will need additional money to resolve this issue by waterproofing which will cost around $2,000 to $7,000 more than the original bill.


Conversion of the basement into a living space no matter what its current situation is called “finishing”. The general estimate for finishing is between $30 and $75 per square foot.

Cleanup and Repair:

In case of mold and water damage, a thorough cleanup will be required. The cleanup would cost anywhere between $1,200 and $5,000, and in case you decide to go for professional mold remediation the price would start from $10,000. 


In many cities, homeowners are not allowed to install wiring and plumbing on their own as it is a risky job, and can reduce the ROI. Only professional or licensed personnel are allowed to do electrical work for finished basements. Finishing a basement averages around $1,325 for electrical work. Be ready to pay $75 to $500 to get electrical outlets installed. 

Additional Rooms:

If you desire to add a room or two to your basement or switch from an open plan to any other plan it will cost you money as per the requirements of the type of room you are looking to install. 

For example:

A sauna costs between $3,000 and $6,000.

A wet bar costs between $6,000 and $22,500.

A gym for home costs $300 to $15,000. 


When you are ready to remodel your basement you need to keep in mind to design around the plumbing. Your basement has water heaters and boilers. Sump pumps and furnaces are also found in the basement. The entire required plumbing installment is the work of a licensed plumber. Usually, the plumber charges you around $450 to $1,000 per fixture. 

We hope that this article has cleared up any confusion you were facing about the remodeling of your basement. We tried to cover all the necessary details here. Happy Remodeling!