Remodeling your basement isn't always high on your priority list. However, a nicely finished basement can add value to your house and your living space. Depending on what you have to work with, you could make it into a study, bedroom, social space, or kitchen. About 42% of standalone houses have basements in the US. What could you do with yours?
How much does it cost to remodel a basement?
The cost to finish your basement depends on several factors, namely your location, the state of your basement, the materials, and your intention with it.
For example, a bathroom or movie room will require more expensive materials than creating a simple office space. On average, it could cost $32 - $47 per square foot, or $22,000 - $46,000 in total to finish a basement.
However, this is just the average cost. If you plan to add expensive features, you could spend more. However, it doesn't have to cost you a bomb. Many money-saving ways to remodel your basement include preventing expensive sewer cleaning.
Steps to remodeling a basement
Here are the steps to remodeling your basement:
- Calculate your budget: Determining your budget will help you understand what kind of renovations you can make and help you plan.
- Figure out how you intend to use the space: You need to work out your intentions before starting anything else. For example, a suite will need separate rooms, whereas an office space might be open plan.
- Reach out to contractors: Find experienced contractors, discuss your plans, and ask for a quote.
- Flood or fire hazard zone: If your property is in a flood or fire hazard zone, you might need to consider how you remodel your basement.
6 tips for remodeling your basement
Remodeling a basement is expensive, even if you opt for the cheapest options and DIY. Therefore, follow our tips to ensure your basement remodeling goes successfully.
1. Control the moisture
One of the biggest problems with basements is moisture. Before building anything in your basement, ensure you get the moisture under control. You can use water lock paint on your walls, seal cracks with caulking, and use dehumidifiers to mitigate many moisture issues. Be sure to check the building’s foundation in case the foundation has begun to dilapidate.
However, if your basement has significant moisture, you may not be able to remodel it as planned. Older properties weren't intended to use basements as living spaces and might provide further obstacles. If you hire a contractor, they can help you manage the moisture.
2. Decide on the basement's purpose
Basements aren't suitable for all purposes. They tend to be cold and dark. You will be lucky if you have a window. Therefore, you must work out how to use your basement before you begin building. Home movie theatres and gym spaces are perfect solutions as you don't need a lot of light or warmth.
3. Wall system planning
You might want an open-planned basement. You won't need to plan any walls if that's the case. However, you may wish to install walls to break up the space and run electrical wires. Take the time to consider how you build your walls and the insulation materials used to cope with the moisture problems.
4. Devise an electrical plan
You will need a certain number of electrical outlets. Depending on how you intend to use the space, you might need more electrical work to comply with the electrical code. For instance, a bathroom needs the same level of electrical work as it would on the upper floors.
5. Plan heating and cooling
Most basements will need additional heating and cooling systems. While you might hope your basement stays cool in the summer as it's below ground and warm in summer with good insulation, it's not necessarily the case.
6. Create a lighting plan
Finally, it would help if you plan your lighting. Basements are inherently dark spaces. Artificial lighting will be your primary source of light. Furthermore, as basements have lower ceilings, you might need to opt for smaller lighting fixtures.
Most likely, your remodeled basement will add value. Whether you opt for an extensive remodel or keep things simple, home buyers will probably appreciate the extra living space. Especially for those working from home, be aware that remodeling can take time, be quite noisy, and be an inconvenience — so be sure to factor things like this in before jumping into a full-blown remodeling project.