Renovating your basement can be a daunting task, and can come with some unexpected costs. It’s all too common to find that a crack in the wall or foundation may require a costly external sealing project or drain installation, or that the best way to open up that dark space would be to cut a window or patio door into the basement wall. Thankfully, basement renovations can be one of the more economical ways to add value to your home, and the already-present space provided by your basement can make it a viable option for many renovation designs. In order to avoid the burden of unexpected costs or do-overs in your renovation project, it’s best to be prepared for the different expenses you may face, and what you can do upfront to avoid renovations. Here are a few factors to consider.
Before designing the layout of your basement, it’s crucial that the basement be properly sealed to prevent excess moisture from infiltrating through cracks in the walls or foundation. Otherwise, you may end up with a newly renovated basement only to find that it will have to be refinished due to humidity or mold damage. The cost of properly sealing your basement can vary depending on the severity of moisture infiltration, with minor dampness only requiring a coating of sealant on the walls, while more serious moisture issues may require the installation of a drainage system or external sealing. Most sealing projects cost an average of $4,334, with minor leaking issues costing little more than $600 to more serious infiltration problems requiring a drainage system installation costing $10,000 or more. Be sure to consult your contractor to make sure your basement is well-heated and guarded from any excess moisture.
Once you’ve made sure that your basement is properly ventilated and sealed to prevent moisture damage, you can begin making this space your own. The more elaborate you choose to make your basement, the greater the cost will be, but here are a few options some of our clients have gone with to transform their basement into the living space of their dreams.
- apartment for a parent or relative
- homework station for the kids
- office space for working from home
- man-cave for watching the big game
- recreation room for catching up with friends
Many families opt to install a bathroom into their basement, or may have one already and would like to remodel that too. Doing so can be more expensive due to the need for pipes to be run through the home’s foundation, but can still be more economical than adding a bathroom to an upstairs unit, with average basement bathroom renovations ranging from $8,000-$15,000 and main floor renovations spanning $10,000-$23,000 (click here for our link on bathroom renovation ideas). Basic renovation designs for living spaces alone will certainly be less expensive than ornate add-ons like fitness centers or wine cellars, but because of the versatility as a living space that your basement provides, your options for renovation are limited by little more than your imagination and your budget.
Now that you’ve decide what to include in your renovated basement, you’ll now want to get down to the particulars: color scheme, lighting fixtures, hardwood or carpet, etc. Here are three major categories you’ll need to factor in for your budget, and how to to plan for them.
- Flooring – Carpet can be helpful for muffling noise and giving a softer surface if children will be using the space, but is more likely to soak up moisture, which can lead to mold. The resistance of hardwood to moisture infiltration coupled with its more luxurious look typically make it the flooring material of choice, even though it may come with a higher price tag at approximately $10+/sq.ft.
- Ceilings and windows – There are 3 primary ceiling styles that most renovators choose: gypsum, suspended, and architectural, with prices averaging $2-$3, $5, and $7+ per square foot, respectively. To increase overhead spaciousness and reduce any claustrophobic feel, consider leaving some piping exposed to make for higher ceiling space. Windows and patio doors are other great options for improving upon natural lighting in a basement structure, but cutting into basement walls to add them can cost upwards of $2,000 – and of course, it would need to be accessible as an emergency exit.
- Paint – Sealants and paint coatings are frequently priced according to the size of the basement. While square footage and the quantity of paint used are usually the determining parameters for the cost of a paint job, we’ve found that the average cost ranges from about $1,000-$1,600
With so many different parameters to consider, the cost of renovating your basement can vary greatly. Overall, we’ve found that most homeowners spend an average of $20,000-$35,000 on their basement makeovers, or $40-$75/sq.ft. More creative renovation projects such as wine cellars or walk-out basements may cost substantially more, but the versatility and availability of your basement makes it a blank canvas to turn your home into the living space of your dreams. Just account for the preliminary steps of sealing it properly, make use of our reno-inspiration tool to get a vision for the kind of layout you want, and choose your renovation materials, and you’ll have a clear picture of what it will take to make your basement renovation a reality!