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  What is the real cost to finish a basement?

                                                   The real cost to finish a 1,000 square ft. basement.

 Hello this is James, I am the owner of Diamond Basement Finishing and Bathroom Remodeling. I am here to tell you the true cost of finishing your basement. I am good friends with a lot of the other basement finishing companies in our area. Right now the going rate is $100 to $110 per sq. ft We average $45 to $55 per sq. ft. You should never spend more then 15% of the total value of your house on a basement if you want a return on your investment. Yes there are many variable factors that can raise the cost of a basement like, overhead, permits, types of flooring and so on, but studs are studs, drywall is drywall. I get in a lot of discussions on how people are charging people $100k for a basic 1,000 sq. ft basement, its not right and I feel some of them are ruining people and could be possibly hurting them in that house where they will be upside down on other comparable houses in the area. There is no reason to try to make $50,000 to a $60,000 profit on people who trust you to help them. Don't get me wrong some companies are going way beyond of a normal basement with Murphy doors, custom cabinets and so on, we are talking one like in this picture, a very nice elegant basement.


Lets assume you are not going to do any of the work yourselves and you plan to hire a local contractor that comes highly recommended. I say this because we see a lot of people trying to do this on their own and it turns into a nightmare. You think you have friends that will help you, but its when they will have time and it turns into a long drawn out process. Meanwhile wood dust and drywall dust is being sucked up through the vents and tracked through out the house with shoes. Going rate for basement finishing and remodeling in the Chicago suburbs is anywhere from $100 a square ft. to $110 a square ft. without a bathroom. We are going to use a 1,000 square ft basement with a bathroom pre roughed in for example.

 Most new houses being built are around 3,000 square ft. We cut the house in half so we are left with 1,500 top floor and 1,500 bottom floor. Now you are going to want storage in a basement so we minus on average 200 square ft. Next you lose about 100 square ft with stairs, then another 200 feet with ejector pump area, sump pump area and furnace and hot water heater. So we are left with about 1,000 square ft on a 3,000 square foot house. Now lets get to the real costs of finishing your basement.

 1st. Cost of framing. Framing is the base of your basement. If your framing is not 100% perfect no matter what you do the rest of the steps will not fix it, so when someone who does not frame for a living be ready for a bad job the rest of the project. The best painters and drywall guys cannot fix bad framing. On a 1,000 square ft basement on average you will use 450 wall and ceiling studs and 25 pressure treated base plate studs.

People when measuring out a basement always forget to add ceiling studs and soffit studs to their total. As of today 2x4x8 studs are About $6.50 per board and pressure treated studs are about $10 a board. So our total so far is $4,8000.00 plus tax. Next we need nails, glue, concrete load nails and gas charges which many people do not think of when figuring cost of a basement. This will add on about $300.00 for a 1,000 square ft basement should take 3 good framers about 3-4 days to complete. Average labor for this is around $4,500 - $5,500.

Materials for framing $4,800.00 w/ tax

Labor for framing $4,500.00 no tax.

Total for framing $9,300.00 on average

 2nd. Cost of Insulation. This is a step you can do on your own with a good $25.00 staple gun and about $900.00 in materials. Its easy just put it between the wall studs and staple away. Insulation varies so talk to someone at the store.

Total for insulation $925.00 average.

 3rd. Cost is Electrician. Most electricians charge in 2 ways, either by the job or by the openings (outlets, canned lights, switches, etc.) Most electricians are between $80 - $100 per opening depends if they are supplying the materials. Lets say you are supplying the materials. For a 1,000 square ft basement you will average about $1600 in conduit, wire, outlets, Switches, 20 canned lighting, light bulbs and covers. Average electrician will charge around $3,500 to $5,000.00 for this job. This is a 2 day job for 1 electrician. This is a step you should not do on your own.

Materials for electric $1,600.00 including tax

Labor for electrician $4,500.00

Total for electric $6,100.00

 4th. Cost of Drywall. This is a step you should not plan on doing no matter how good you think you are. A 1,000 sq. ft basement with drywall ceilings you can figure 120 sheets of drywall, 15 boxes of mud, 3 buckets of finish coat mud, 5 rolls of tape, bucket of screws and 1 box of corner bead. This step you want to have completed as quickly as possible due to drywall dust and glue fumes. You will have in materials about $2,000.00 in materials. A great drywall contractor should be able to hang all 120 sheets in 1 day and have 3 coats of mud sanded and finished in 7 days from start to finish. I have seen this step take home owners 3 months to complete and when they go to paint it is just horrific. I cant say it enough if you don't do something everyday for a living you are not the best at it.

Materials for drywall $2,160.00 w/ tax

Labor for drywall $7,000.00 average.

Total for Drywall $9,160.00

 5th. Cost of painting. This a step you might able to do if you are very good. I would still recommend a painter. You will need 20 gallons of primer and try to have it tinted to the color you plan on painting the walls. You will need 10 gallons of ceiling white flat. Next you will need 15 gallons of wall paint. A satin or eggshell would be best to be able to wipe down. Next you will need a paint sprayer to spray all your trim and doors,

Cost of paint $1,150.00 w/ tax

Labor for painter $3,500.00 average.

Total cost for painting $4,650.00

 6th. Cost of doors and trim. This is a step I would hire out as well, transportation for this you will need a truck or large van. You will need 300 linear ft of wall trim and we are going to use white for this example. Average 1,000 sq. ft. basement will have 6 doors. You will also need trim paint, Trim gun, nails, doorknobs, white chalk and glue. To make trim turn out spray the trim once it is all caulked and wood filled.

Materials for doors and trim $2,500.00 w/ tax

Labor to install and paint. $3,500.00

Total for doors and trim $6,000.00 average.

7th. Cost of flooring. 100% hire this one out. Lately Home Depot carpet has been beating everyone on price. We like to use the Nike padding they have with a nice 60 - 70 oz carpet. Average carpet with install is going for $41.00 per yard so figure $4,100.00 with doing stairs. If you plain on going with a good hardwood vinyl it will be about $7.50 a sq. ft including materials, Shoe and Labor $7,500 installed. Last choice is tile. Now tile is tricky to figure, right now the 6" x 24" tile is popular but it come with a price. The tile itself is not bad only about $2.00 a square foot, but installation is at $10 per sq. ft. 

Cost for carpet $4,450.00 w/ tax      Cost for Hardwood laminate $8,000.00 w/ tax      Cost for tile $13,000.00 w/ tax

Last step bathroom fixtures, Figure about $1,000 to $1,500 for Vanity, sink, Shower Head, Toilet and Vanity light, Tile will be another $4-500. Plumber, tile guy, drywallers already drywalled you are all in for $8,000.00

 This gives us a total cost to finish your basement with Vinyl Hardwood a total of $44,135.00 on average w/ a 3 week completion time.

This gives us a total cost to finish your basement with Vinyl Hardwood a total of $52,135.00 on average w/ a 4 week completion time. With a bathroom.

 We hope this gives you an idea of how much to have all professional tradesman contracted out to do your basement.


If you are looking to have your basement finished and want it done right and quickly please feel free to give us a call. Thank you very much, James


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