An unfinished basement may seem dank and cold, but it can actually serve as a valuable blank canvas for your fun and creative home improvement project. By finishing it, you can transform it into a guest bedroom, home theater, wine bar, game room, man cave, and anything you like! 

Rather than treating it as an underutilized storage space, your basement can help maximize the space in your home and provide you with a lot more benefits. 

Having your basement professionally finished can be exciting, but can you afford it? Before diving into a basement finishing, you first need to understand the scope of work and be prepared for all the costs that go along with it.

The Overall Cost

The expenses you need to spend on finishing your basement depend on basement size, preferred type and quality of finish, labor rates, and more. Costs can range from $7 to $23 per square foot or $15 per square foot on average, according to HomeAdvisor.

Let’s say you have a 1,000 square feet basement. Expect to pay $7,000 to $23,000, or $15,000 on average for your project. The basic cost of finishing a basement will involve the following:


Hanging Drywall




Electrical, Gas, and Plumbing

Construction Labor

Material Costs

The final project cost includes additional expenses like built-in shelving, codes and permits, foundational repairs, and waterproofing. You may also opt to add an arch, wet bar or kitchenette, wine cellar or tasting area, closet, or fireplace in your basement, which can add up to the final expenses.

If you want an open-plan model, you will pay less since there are not many walls that need framing, drywall installation, and insulation. You can also cut costs up to 30% to 40% upon completing tasks like trimming and painting. 

Remember that these are simply estimates, and the actual costs can go up or down depending on different variables.

Is Basement Finishing a Good Investment?

The answer is yes. According to Remodeling Magazine, finishing a basement increases the amount of livable space and adds resale value to your home. This will allow you to enjoy a return on investment of up to 75%. Most of the return comes from adding livable square footage you (or future buyers) can enjoy. So, if you spend $20,000 on finishing your basement, your home’s value will increase by $14,000 to $15,000.

Labor Cost To Finish a Basement

Most basement remodelers and contractors charge up to $16 per square foot or around 30% to 40% of your total project cost. This overall cost includes payment for the carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and general laborers. Hiring an expert and more experienced basement professional can accelerate the cost significantly.

Finishing System Option

A basement finishing system project involves installing prefabricated wall and ceiling panels, flooring, and other materials. Typically, a complete basement finishing runs between $50 and $70 per square foot. So, a 1,000 square foot basement costs as much as $70,000. If you only want insulated wall panels, expect to pay $4.75 per square foot.

Like any other home improvement project, costs for a basement finishing kit can go lower or higher depending on space, materials, and other factors. While these systems are far more expensive than the traditional basement finishing project or DIY work, it is more efficient and can be finished within a week.

Final Thoughts

Feel free to use our guide in setting your budget for your basement finishing project. You may also request free estimates from basement finishing contractors like Pittsburgh Basement Remodeling to finally get your project started! We can help you make the most out of your home’s basement space!