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Jason's Blog

By Jason | Home Owner in Virginia

How much does a basement cost?

Here is a snippet from the full article which posted on my basement finishing website. You can check out these links to read more:
1. How do you finish a basement
2. What does it cost to finish a basement


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Top 5 “cost of a basement” factors:

  1. Finished square feet of your basement -   I use 1,000 square feet as a good estimate but measure your basement to be more exact. This affects almost every cost related to basement finishing from framing to drywall. It’s probably the biggest factor in determining the cost of a basement.
  2. Labor costs – New York, New York can be double the price of Nashville, TN.  Of course, if you’re like me, you’ll do most of the work yourself and then labor cost doesn’t matter.
  3. Bathroom  -  Full or Half?  Tile or laminate?  Super awesome shower with 10 jets of body-spray or tiny $10 shower head. Add about 5k to your basement cost for a regular full bathroom.
  4. Escape Hatch? -  Yes or No? What I mean is, do you require an egress window?  Is there a way out of your basement without using the steps? If not you’ll have to build one and that means expensive backhoes digging up your backyard and tearing down part of your basement wall.
  5. Flooring – engineered wood, carpet, or simulated wood laminate? Flooring options can add a thousand dollars or more depending on what you get.  But, if you need to go cheaper, I stained my concrete floor for about $280. I plan to add carpet eventually but for now the kids love riding their bikes down in the basement.

Cost of a basement by phase of construction

Here is a breakdown of cost by phase for my basement. Keep in mind I was my own labor, general contractor, etc.  This does not include books, permits or basement power tools.  You can see all of the details including my exact budget in the “basement cost estimator” which you can get by subscribing to the newsletter. 

CostPercentage
Framing1,0007.0%
Electrical1,50010.5%
Video and Audio (Wiring only)3002.1%
Bathroom2,50017.6%
Flooring1,50010.5%
Drywall2,65018.6%
Trim and Doors2,00014.1%
Paint1,0007.0%

How to save on the cost of a basement

  • You do the painting -  I know.  Painting is slow and boring. But pool tables aren't, they’re awesome.  And if you did your own painting you’d save enough to buy a pool table.
  • Do you own trim-work.  A little further up on the “handy” scale, I realize this. But you only need a mitre saw, a nail gun and 3 or 4 weekends. When you’re finished you can use those tools to build yourself a great little basement bar with the money you saved.
  • Be your own general contractor and you can save big on the cost of a basement. You don’t have to do everything, just coordinate all the trades, design and scheduling. You might be able to save 8-10k on average.
  • Buy reconditioned Tools  –  Used power tools are 30-50% less expensive and in my experience work as well as new tools. I only buy reconditioned tools.
  • “Follow the big dog” Say What? One of my best tips for saving money on the cost of a basement and it’s free to anyone who signs up for the newsletter.
Sorry, the final tip I save for my newsletter subscribers but email me if you want it, I'm happy to share it privately even if you don't signup  :-)

Like I said I have a bunch of other articles plus some of the top questions about basement people typically have at my basement finishing website: 

1.
 How do you finish a basement
2. What does it cost to finish a basement

Jason - From I Finished My Basement .comI will definately blog some more here on the Trulia site if people are interested and read it.  Ping me if you have a quesiton - I'm not a professional contractor but I'm really good at Google and I have finished my own basement - fully inspected, looks great! 

Cheers, 

Jason

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