4 Considerations When Determining the Cost of Finishing a Basement
Wouldn’t it be nice if finished basements came conveniently prepackaged and sticker-priced? “I’ll take the $35K One-Bedroom/One Bath Special with Satin Nickel Finishes and Ceiling Insulation.” Unfortunately, the many variables in both basement design and existing basement conditions make such an idealistic approach nearly impossible. The good news is that many of the factors determining bottom-line cost for a basement finish lie within your control, so it’s realistic to conceive that you may design a space that works for your budget.
Reaching the Bottom Line:
1. Square Footage
First and foremost determine how much of the existing space in your basement you plan to finish. If available space is limited, then this may not be open for debate, but if you have a larger basement consider the feasibility of finishing the space in phases, if that works better for your budget. Start with a bedroom and bath; a year or two down the road you can then add the game room and entertainment area with a wet bar.
While you’ll want to have licensed professionals doing much of the work in your basement, consider possible areas where sweat equity could lower overall costs. Are you able to negotiate doing your own painting or installing your own floor coverings? Some contractors will work with you and discount such items from the overall bid.
As you design your basement, keep in mind that more walls, doors, and trim, add up to more cost. Plumbing lines and fixtures also add significantly to overall cost–especially if existing lines have to be moved to accommodate the desired location of the bath or wet bar. Any time the basement’s design can be worked around existing rough plumbing lines, you’ll be making the more economical choice.
Your choice in finish materials provides the straightest path to budget management. Ideally, a basement finish should flow seamlessly from the main floor of your home, reflecting its style and quality of finishes. This can be accomplished, however, without breaking the bank. For instance, consider carrying general finishes/colors of door and bath hardware to basement selections, but choosing less expensive styles of fixtures. Other cost-saving selections include hollow-core over solid-core doors, center-set faucets over wide-spread sink fixtures, and paint-grade over stain-grade trim and doors. Though each may seem like a small line item on its own, added together the materials and finishes selected can have a great impact on the final budget.