Basements represent a significant amount of potential livable space, but many remain either unfinished or minimally finished. Consequently, many homeowners only use their basements as storage or drop-off zones for their stuff. According to Remodeling magazine, the 2015 cost to have a 20-by-30-foot basement remodeled by professionals averages roughly $65,442. As a mid-range figure, this amount can increase when you add permit fees and high-end options to your budget.
Skilled homeowners can save a significant amount of money -- from 70 to 75 percent -- which brings a mid-range remodel down to an average of about $18,086, depending on where you live and material availability.
The true cost of remodeling a basement varies based on a number of factors, even for do-it-yourself projects:
- The size of the basement
- Finish selection; higher-end materials cost more
- Geography can impact material availability and unit cost, though physical location also matters in terms of the work to be completed. Florida residents need not insulate to the same degree as those in New England, but moisture protection is very important in all regions
- Basement functionality and space planning determine the materials required. A large open plan space with no interior partitions is less expensive than a basement that includes a bathroom, guest bedroom, utility room and entertainment area
- All work needs to be completed to local building code standards, particularly structural, electrical and plumbing. Depending on the work being completed, permits may be required. Failure to comply could result in fire hazards, leaks or even structural instability that could lead to fines and the loss of homeowner’s insurance.
By the Numbers
At the low end, it is possible to complete a basement remodel for less than $10,000. Most basements have their exterior walls already completed; basements with interior framing, insulation and drywall installed and a roughed-in pre-existing bathroom, represent less work to complete and lower costs. For a 600-square foot space, you may be able to remodel your basement for a cost of roughly $7,000 to $9,482 according to Red Beacon, a contractor referral site.
Structural Changes and Additions
Any major structural changes will more than likely require the assistance of an engineer or architect, depending on building code jurisdiction, to calculate load distributions. Bathroom additions, along with wall finishes, fixtures and added features all impact the costs to remodel a basement. In these situations, include permit and inspection fees in your remodeling budget. Adding or expanding the basement, even something that might seem as simple as a new window or a separate outdoor entrance, significantly alters the job scope and cost.