How Much Does It Cost To Finish A Basement?

Cost to Finish a Basement

Finishing a basement costs roughly $20,000, but the total price can range from a few thousand dollars to as much as $80,000 depending on the size and style of the space. Cleaning out cobwebs and covering up concrete may seem like simple DIY projects, but creating livable, appraisable square footage requires the help of licensed professionals. Waterproofing, egress windows and even ceiling height all count toward the rate of return on your basement investment.

NOTE: The beginning half of 2021 has seen an unprecedented labor shortage as a side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. In conjunction with this, demand for materials and construction jobs has skyrocketed. As a result, material prices may be higher than those reported in this article, and lead times may be longer than usual for both labor and materials.

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Average Cost to Finish a Basement

Type of CostCost

Average Cost


Highest Cost


Lowest Cost


*Costs per square foot

Costs of Finishing a Basement Breakdown

Like most home remodeling projects, how much you pay depends on the quality of the plot and existing structure. Before you build your budget, take a look at this summary of basement finishing expenses.


Finishing a basement involves electrical and possibly plumbing work, and if you plan to add a bathroom or bar, those systems usually require permits. Your basement will probably also need to pass a safety inspection. Budget approximately $1,600 for the necessary permits and inspections.


Unless you plan to DIY, labor will make up approximately 40% or more of your basement remodeling costs. You’ll likely want to hire a general contractor to help oversee the job. Always compare quotes to ensure the best price and service.

Here are other types of contractors you’ll likely need to finish your basement:

Type of WorkCost


$1,900 - $6,500

Sump pump

$600 - $1,600

Egress window

$1,000 - $7,000


$700 - $1,400

Stairs and railings

$2,000 - $7,000

Electrical, lighting fixtures and outlets

$3,000 - $12,000

Plumbing and fixtures

$2,500 - $15,000


$1,500 - $4,000


$1,000 - $3,000


$1,250 - $3,500


$2,000 - $12,000


$1,000 - $30,000

Basement Waterproofing Cost

One of the biggest ticket items for this project is waterproofing your basement, ringing in at around $4,500. Pumping water out of your basement after a flood or storm can cost up to $10,000. Waterproofing the space will also help protect it from hazardous and costly mold and mildew remediation.

Cost to Build a Basement Ceiling

Drywall ceilings start at about $1,600, or $2 per square foot. Basement bands or music lovers should invest in acoustic ceiling tiles which average about $4 per square foot. Drop ceilings average $3.50 to $4.30 per square foot. This allows for easy access to the HVAC and electrical systems.

Basement Drywall Costs

Hanging drywall in your basement costs about $2,000 and transforms it from a cold, concrete block to a comfortable living space. Contractors typically include the cost of installation in the roughly $15 per-panel price. For a warm, dry basement, you’ll want to install waterproofing and insulation underneath the drywall.

Basement Flooring Installation Costs

The cost to install floors while finishing a basement averages around $3,000, but depends on the material, style and quantity for your project. Basement flooring needs to be moisture-resistant or waterproof to protect it from humidity and moisture buildup. Read more about which types of flooring are best for basements to determine which is best for your budget.

Epoxy has become a popular, waterproof flooring solution used in basements and garages. It costs about $3 to $7 per square foot and takes one to three days to pour and cure. The final product can look like a vibrant custom color or mimic marble.

How Much Does It Cost To Finish A Basement?

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Cost to Finish a Basement Bathroom

Adding a bathroom to your finished basement plans will cost you between $10,000 and $30,000. Wide price ranges stem from variable costs like the linear feet of plumbing pipes needed, plumber’s labor fees, the highly customizable cost of toilets, showers and tubs, as well as moisture-wicking ventilation and waterproofing.

It’s helpful to also learn about the general cost to remodel a bathroom.

Cost to Finish a Basement Bedroom

The cost to finish a basement bedroom tends to be much lower than a bathroom. Once you’ve installed an egress window, a basement bedroom only costs as much as the dividing walls, storage, flooring, lighting, paint and furniture you choose.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does a finished basement have to have an egress window?

Yes, most finished basements require an egress window to be considered up-to-code. Egress windows are one of several requirements that a finished basement must include to be counted as “livable square footage” that you can claim during resale. Talk to your contractor or check building codes in your area for more details about the necessary egress dimensions, height from the floor and other safety measures.

Can you finish a 7-foot basement?

Most area building codes require a finished basement to be 7 feet tall. To achieve this, the unfinished basement will need to be taller than 7 feet. Request a consultation from experienced local contractors to see if your basement is eligible for finishing.

How much does it cost to finish a staircase?

Many unfinished basements also have old, creaky stairs without risers. The cost to install a finished staircase ranges from about $2,000 to $5,000. The cost of railings depends on the material (metal, wood or glass) and style you choose.

Will finishing my basement increase my home’s resale value?

It’s hard to say how finishing a basement will affect your resale value. Appraisers who use Fanny Mae’s book won’t count finished basements at all. Other sources estimate that the ROI is about 70%. Walkout and garage basements are appraised differently than fully-below-grade basements.

While you’re adding comfortable square footage by finishing your basement, below-grade space doesn’t add as much value as square footage added at or above ground level. In order to be appraised as “livable,” finished basements must meet several building code guidelines including ceiling height, egress windows and more.

Consult local appraisers or agents to learn how finishing your basement will affect your home’s resale value.

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