Roger Diez | Improvement Center Columnist | December 14, 2011
Finishing your basement can transform a dank, dingy storage area into livable space, while adding to your home's value. A basement remodel takes some imagination, ingenuity and hard work, but the end result is well worth it.
11 basic steps of a basement remodel
There are unique challenges to converting a basement: They include waterproofing, heating and cooling, plumbing, lighting and more. Each component requires careful planning and attention-to-detail in order to complete the project. Each part of the project builds upon the last, and it is important to complete each step in order.
- Measure your space and determine the layout
- Calculate materials cost
- Get required permits
- Clear out everything stored in the basement
- Moisture-proof the walls and floors
- Install sub-floor, if needed, and frame the walls
- Rough in heating and cooling ducts, plumbing pipes and electrical wiring
- Install insulation and drywall
- Install flooring
- Finish HVAC, plumbing and electrical
- Paint walls and install baseboards
Basement remodeling costs
According to Remodeling Magazine's annual survey, the average cost of a basement remodel in the United States was $62,067 in 2009-2010. The return on investment averaged 75.4 percent, or $46,825. Your final cost will depend on the size of your basement and what basement components you choose to include. If you want a kitchen and/or bathroom, the cost will be higher than if you are just finishing a recreation room. If your heating and air conditioning equipment doesn't have enough capacity, then you will need to install a bigger unit, or an auxiliary heat pump. Material choices will also effect the cost. For instance, asphalt tile flooring applied directly to the existing concrete floor is less expensive than a sub-floor and wood flooring. Also, doing as much of the work as possible yourself will save on labor costs.
When to use a basement remodeling contractor
Even if you are reasonably handy at carpentry, plumbing and other skills, there are reasons to use a professional. The contractor can determine whether you need special coatings, treated lumber, or a sump pump to keep your basement dry. He can advise you on materials, such as flooring and paint, and help design a proper heating and ventilation system. Make sure you select a basement remodeling contractor who has references. Check them out with the Better Business Bureau and the contractors' board. A good contractor can save you time and money in the long run.