Calculating Basement Remodeling Costs

Lead Image

A basement remodeling job is a great way to add a lot of additional space to your home. In most homes, the basement is the same total square footage as the first story, which means that you can potentially double your square footage.

A basement remodel is not an easy job. It involves a lot of materials and a good deal of time. You need to determine the time and materials necessary to complete the job in order to calculate how much it will cost.


There are a wide variety of materials which may play into the basement remodeling cost. Some of these materials may not be necessary. Much of what will determine the materials you need is what you plan on doing with the room. A simple family room or playroom will require far fewer materials than a separate apartment.

1. Wood

You will need to build frames for any walls you need. If your basement has standard 8-foot ceilings, then you need to build a standard framing structure with a 2x4-inch board on the bottom, top, and between the studs. Place the studs every 16-inches off center. For a 30-foot wall you will need 29 2x4-inch boards at around $3 each.

2. Drywall

a newly sheetrocked room

Drywall comes in 4x8-foot sheets, which works well in most basements because it will reach the ceiling. Using the same 30-foot wall, if you put drywall on one side then it requires 8 sheets. If you put drywall on both sides, you need 15 sheets. It is not exactly doubled because you use half of a sheet on each side. The average cost of drywall is $8 per sheet. Plus you will need mud and tape. Also factor in texture and paint if appropriate.

3. Plumbing

If you will be installing a bathroom, bar, or sink, then you will need plumbing. Basements typically have plumbing, but you will still need to run it to the location. PVC pipes work well for this task.

PVC comes in 10-foot polls. If you need 30-feet, you will need 3 PVC pipes and a T coupler. PVC piping costs $9 per unit and a T coupler costs $1. If you need to go down the wall, then buy an L coupler, which costs $1.

4. Flooring

Concrete works well for a basement, but it is not suitable for a usable room. To use the room, you will need to install flooring. Tile and laminate are relatively inexpensive options. They cost between $1 and $7 per square foot. Carpet is also a good idea. It costs between $3 and $12 per square foot.

5. Electrical

double light switch mounted to a wall stud

To install electricity, you will need to add a new breaker to your panel to supply the basement. It will cost around $25. You will also need to run electrical wiring and install both receptacles and electrical boxes. Standard electrical wire costs $.33 per foot. Receptacles cost $4 each and an electrical boxes cost $2.

6. Putting it All Together

To truly calculate the whole cost of remodeling your basement, take a lot of measurements to determine exactly how much of each material you need. You will also need to account for any tools you may need to rent or buy.

These prices are estimates with a wide range of material options and upgrades available. It is also assumed you will be doing the work yourself rather than hiring out. Be aware of the building codes in your area for guidance about everything from the type of approved lighting to the number of outlets that are required. For example, you may have to pay a professional electrician to install the wiring up to code. Expect to have a few hundred dollars in permit fees too. Of course, once the room is done, you will need furniture, equipment, appliances, and decor.