Homeowners are very keen on doing whatever it takes to ensure that the value of their properties appreciates. In many cases, this involves making modifications and performing renovations to make the property more attractive to the real estate market. After all, real estate is one of the most lucrative industries today.
Of course, some are not necessarily interested in the value aspect. Instead, they want to do what they can to ensure that their homes become and remain as attractive as possible. While the value-added is a tremendous advantage, basement finishing can yield a greater amount of usable space, which is guaranteed to make everyone involved that much happier.
If you’re interested in basement finishing in Denver, you are likely a bit on edge as you don’t know what kind of cost you should expect. This is the kind of thing you want to budget for, as failing to do so could create some serious implications down the line.
Several different factors go into basement finishing, and they all come together to determine the final cost. You are looking at an average range of $20 to $50 per square foot for basement finishing in Denver.
However, it’s not impossible to go well above the average cost and approach nearly $100 per square foot. Such high prices are on the more extreme side of the spectrum, and they are typically associated with choosing premium materials, expensive labor, or requiring extensive renovations.
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Should You Be Interested in Remodeling the Basement?
The advantages of increasing the space of your home come down to practicality and value appreciation. On the matter of the latter, if you can manage to increase the usable space in your home in any way, you can reliably increase the home’s value. The basement works as the perfect room for this kind of objective because you already have a foundation to work with.
If the prospect of putting your home up for sale interests you, you can gain an approximately 75% return on your investment for completing such a remodeling project in Denver. Most buyers find homes with finished basements significantly more appealing than those without one.
Even if you’re not thinking about selling your home in the short term, you never know how you will feel when time passes. You can future-proof your space by getting the finishing done, eliminating having to rush to get through it when you feel like the time has come for you to sell.
Getting extra accessible space is one thing, but another significant advantage of doing basement finishing is re-purpose it or adding a purpose to the existing one. If you are interested in changing the functionality of the space, consider the following possibilities:
- Gaming room
- Home gym
- Play area
- Music room
- Guest room
- Storage facility
- Learning Center
Of course, this list is not an exhaustive one.
Understanding the Cost Components
Though it’s not hard to give an approximation of the average, the question of “how much should I expect to pay for basement finishing in Denver?” is not so cut and dry. As indicated above, different circumstances can lead to different prices. Consider the following variables, which play a large part in the final price that you must pay.
Basement Condition and Size
Basements do not come in a standard size, though many of them run about 1000 square feet. Nevertheless, your basement could be much smaller or much larger than this figure. Your basement size is always going to play a huge role in what you are asked to pay. However, the size of the basement and its condition go hand in hand. You may find that someone pays a lower price than you are being asked, though the person has a larger basement than you do.
If you live in a historic home, the work effort required to get through the finishing process in your basement is quite significant. By comparison, homes with a newer design don’t have the same requirement, as they tend to be easier to deal with. Therefore, if you were to take an older basement and a newer one of the same size, the newer one would almost always cost less, assuming the comparison is being made using the same service provider. If you wonder what causes older basements to have such a requirement, look no further than design principles. In a traditional home, the basement’s height is likely to be lower than that of a basement in a newer home. Therefore, your finishing job may call for a basement dig-out. This is one example of an additional process that could be completely avoided in the context of a new basement.
You may desire to add additional rooms to your current basement design. For example, adding a bedroom is a common task that homeowners may be interested in having completed. Bringing a new room to fruition has its fair share of work requirements that must be met. There is drywall, framing, and egress to ensure that security code compliance is in place.
The contractor may also find that the current support beams you have are inadequate for creating the space you need. Sometimes, the beams are not high enough, and in other cases, they are inefficiently placed. If everything is OK with your support beams, then there is no additional cost incurred for work to be done on them.
If the beams need to be adjusted, though, you will incur additional costs to have the work done. The service provider is always going to assess the beams to determine how to proceed.
Your Intended Design
The finishing process helps you to realize your conceptualized design for your basement. Of course, its current state is unlike the design you have, which is why you want to get the finish done in the first place. However, your vision can be the reason why things get a bit pricey. How complex is the design that you want to achieve? Are you going to be adding a bathroom or a kitchenette?
Putting such rooms in place is enough to add to your bill. However, there is also the administrative overhead that comes with each additional room. For example, if you want a kitchenette, it’s not just about designating the space and laying out its physical parts. Plumbing and cabling are two of the necessities that must be considered for such a modification. Be prepared to pay for any installations or removals of facilities required to reach your end goal.
Cutting costs in this area can only be done if you are willing to be a bit modest about approaching the project. Having the design done with all the bells and whistles is very tempting as it allows you to feed the dream. However, if you need to conserve funds, consider making some subtle sacrifices. For example, a kitchenette costs less than a full kitchen. Additionally, a half bath can save a lot of money.
It would help if you also expanded this principle to the materials and furnishings you choose to use. The furnishings don’t have to be the most exquisite globally, as they need to do their job.
Remember that you also don’t want to go too overboard with dialing back the materials, as you still need the design to function the way it was intended. For example, basement insulation is important. When set up properly, the insulation prevents an unwanted flow of heat into or out of the basement. Doing so means that you get to maintain a consistent and satisfactory internal temperature, which means you get to save on the heating and cooling bills that would normally be necessary to keep the basement warm or cold.
Service providers are willing to give you quotations for getting the work done. As is the case with other areas of your life, take the opportunity to get multiple quotes and understand what different providers have to offer. You may even find that you can negotiate to get a more favorable price.
It’s not recommended for you to cut corners in this area, as it can have severe negative implications down the line. Your contractor cost is another of the most significant in the basement finishing process, but there are a few things that can make the figure wildly different. You should also know that there are a few ethical and safety concerns here, so try not to make money the only motivation where licensed work is concerned.
A reputable basement remodeler is not going to have work completed without licensed and insured tradespeople. This is the kind of job that necessitates the benefits of both qualifications and experience. A service provider who chooses to go with certified workers understands the importance of doing things the legitimate and safe way.
Insurance is another important aspect, as there needs to be some safety net if things go haywire. Some contractors opt not to use licensed tradespeople. The motivation for doing so is often to provide customers with lower prices, which is likely to convince the said customers to jump at the opportunity. It’s best to avoid these abnormally low prices that require you to accept a lack of accreditation and expertise.
Another thing to watch out for is contractors who try to convince you to become your own general contractor to run the project, especially if you lack the skillset. There’s a reason why such a responsibility is best left in the hands of the qualified. They may even try to get you to kick things off without getting a permit.
Any contractor who tries to influence you in such a manner is not a reputable one. Their attempt to do so is typically for personal gain. The idea is for them to complete the finish’s electrical and plumbing aspects without using licensed workers.
You don’t ever want to take on unnecessary liability in our context, such as this one. Doing so puts your home and its occupants at risk. Additionally, there’s no telling what kind of shady moves such a contractor is willing to pull if things go downhill or if mistakes are made.
So, while pulling the permit or ignoring it completely can save you a quick buck, it’s not worth the level of liability that comes with doing so. Once a contractor is trying to steer you in that direction, find yourself a new one. There is no context in which the amount of money you can save makes going the unethical route worth it.
One of the best ways to save is to complete the work you can safely do instead of relying on the contractors to do everything. For example, If you are competent enough to paint the walls yourself, that’s something you can avoid paying for. You must pay for the material cost. However, you manage to avoid the associated labor cost.
Aspects of Basement Finishing
The final cost you are given can be broken down based on the various processes that go into completing the basement remodeling process. Below is a look at all of these to better understand what the workflow looks like.
Framing is a process that prepares the basement for processes, such as wiring, plumbing, and insulation packing. The idea is to install the wooden framework that the rest of the workflow will build on to get to the final product.
Building interior basement walls begins with framing the existing concrete walls. The floor anchors the frame, and it extends about three inches from the wall. Studs are attached to the boards to prepare for the drywall, and window areas are left open.
While there are different insulation materials available, the closed-cell spray-applied foam tape is recommended for basement applications. That’s because it won’t allow a condensation buildup between the concrete walls and the insulation packing. Typically, the wooden framing process costs $1 per square foot for materials and between $2 and $3.50, where drywall is installed and ready for painting.
This is the cost associated with drywalling the basement and finishing it with mud/compound, joint tape, and sanding. Typically, this starts at about a little under $2 per square foot installed. As you would expect, the total cost depends on the number of walls included in your basement plan.
You need to calculate the amount of drywall that you need. Doing this requires finding the total perimeter by adding the width of each wall together. The next step is to divide the figure by four inches, which is the panel width, which then indicates how many panels you will need.
Moisture resistant drywall is the best choice in a basement as you want to avoid unnecessary moisture build, leading to molding and a host of other problems.
The basement ceiling is next on the agenda, and such an installation typically costs $3 to $4.50 per square foot. This cost includes installing ceiling joists, implementing R-11 insulation butts, and ceiling drywall. Note that the use of R-11 there refers to the R-value of the insulation material. This is a metric used to indicate how effective a design is at insulating an area.
Typically, the higher the R-value, the more insulation it provides. The drywall price is the same as the previous points; however, installing it for the ceiling brings a little more complication than doing so with your walls. Additionally, specialized equipment is typically needed for the work to be completed successfully.
A wood or a tile ceiling using tile panels or tongue and groove wood may cost $2.60 to almost $5 for installation. A popcorn ceiling, which uses spray popcorn atop the tab to drywall, only costs $0.30 to approximately $0.80 per square foot. Finally, there is a textured ceiling option, which goes for about $0.35 to just under a dollar. Should you require a troweled appearance, that’s when the cost is at its highest.
If you wish to have a drop ceiling installed, it can cost between $22 and $26 per square foot. This is for a lath-based ceiling suspension, which means that it’s ready to be covered. Alternatively, you could have a suspended grid system in your ceiling, ready for tiles or panels. Going that route costs $0.60 to just under a dollar per square foot.
Another option you have is to completely forego the basement ceiling and have the exposed ductwork painted. This is typically done in the same color as the wall. The problem with doing this is that effective insulation is no longer possible. However, if this is the way you want to have things done, you are looking at about $1.15 for smooth surfaces and $1.60 for rough ones. If you want things to be even cheaper, spray paint can be used, which attracts a cost of 15 to 30% less.
First, there is the matter of polishing and scoring the present concrete floor in the basement. Doing so costs about $2 per square foot. The process of doing basement floor painting with epoxy attracts a cost of at least $3 per square foot. Other flooring types cost between $1.70 and $3 per linear foot of wood flooring joists installed and between $1 to $1.50 per square foot of plywood subfloor installed.
As you’ve seen above, in multiple areas, precautions were advised against potentially unwanted moisture. The design of a basement and its location makes it prone to moisture issues. Using cross bridging and steel floor joists and covering the arrangement with board sheathing amounts to $4.08 per square foot.
The best way to go for basement flooring is to use laminate or vinyl, which necessitates installation as a floating floor. The point is to make an allowance for concrete changes that directly result from temperature and moisture.
Flooring materials from least to most expensive include carpet, polished concrete, epoxy paint, ceramic tile, porcelain tile, vinyl or linoleum, laminate, engineered wood, bamboo, and hardwood.
Basement Room Finishing
Finishing different basement rooms attract different costs. For example, your average basement living room finishing price in Denver is $19,000. However, smaller 12 by 12 rooms can cost between $4,600 and $6,800 to finish. The bathroom or kitchenette costs no less than $3,000, assuming the rough-in plumbing was already completed. If you want any of your rooms to qualify as bedrooms, appraisers and real estate agents maintain that a window, a door, and a closet must be present.
Basement renovations, such as these, tend to include various additional rooms and features. These include a living room, one or more bedrooms, a hallway, a bathroom, and a kitchenette. Depending on your design, you may or may not include all these different room types.
Your basement is a space that you can allow your creative genius to come out. So, instead of opting to set up rooms that you already have, you may also want to consider transforming your space into rooms that you need. Some of the options you have at your disposal are a game room, home theater room, laundry room, walk-out basement, garden basement, or even a MIL suite.
On average, it costs just over $30,000 to remodel a 1200 square foot basement. This boils down to $25 per square foot for both materials and installation. Most homeowners in Denver find that the costs total ranges between $19,000 and $36,000. A basement always refinishes, likely to cost more than the remodeling option. You can spend up to 30% less when you remodel. Part of this is that the electrical and plumbing work is already set up.
Once you aren’t moving any major wire or plumbing fixtures or walls, the amount of labor you need to pay for is significantly less. Small basement remodeling projects, such as moving a single wall and changing flooring, may cost only a few thousand dollars. Where things get more complicated is when a bathroom and bedroom, or an entire lower apartment come into the mix, you may be looking at tens of thousands of dollars. Tasks may involve pulling up flooring, removing walls and plumbing, upgrading the sump pump, tearing down ceilings, electrical amperage, and HVAC.
Your existing walls and flooring may require demolition. A 600 square foot basement attracts a cost between $2,000 and just under $9,000 for completing the job. If the basement is 1,200 square feet, the price can become between $3,400 and $11,900.
If a complete demolition is needed, including stripping back to the framing, demolition of existing walls, and ripping existing flooring, the additional cost could be anywhere between $3 and just above $10 per square foot. As is the case with many other aspects of this project, the cost you get depends on the work level to be done and how easily the construction crew can access what they need to.
The process of refinishing your basement is about $38 per square foot for most homeowners in Denver. The range of payment can be between $22,000 and $46,000. When the framing is open and there is no demolition required, the job can be easier and less costly. That’s because the plumbing and electrical items are exposed and ready to work on, which means no drilling or drywall removal.
There are basement refinishing kits available for the job, and these can cost between $50 and $70 per square foot. They include everything needed to finish the basement, including moisture repellent drywall, floor joists, framing, ceiling joists, and insulation. Some even include flooring and windows, which can make the whole process incredibly convenient.
Basement Finishing Permit Charge
Instead of using a standard charge, the cost of a basement permit is calculated as a percentage of the work’s total. This tends to sit at 0.65% of the said cost. There are also inspections necessary, and each can run an average of about $50 hourly. Every bedroom needs an egress window, and the permits tend to before the plumbing and electrical work that needs to occur.
Basements require two exits, one of which is the stairs. When work is done without the permit, you could end up with a project that gets halted or delayed. There have been cases where people who don’t have permits end up having to demolish everything they did, after which to work ends up having to be redone. All of this can be avoided by seeking out the permit at the appropriate time.
Basement Renovation Costs That You May Need to Think About
As opposed to many of the other costs discussed, these are dedicated towards repairs and restoration type tasks that you may need to get through for a successful finishing.
- Electrical repair may be necessary, requiring you to hire an electrician for small fixes, such as lights, switches, outlet installation, repair, etc. There are also cases where the work required is way more extensive, which attracts a higher cost. So, while doing smaller jobs may cost $100 to $400, you could be looking at up the $6,000 if you need components, such as service panels replaced. The cost that you pay depends on the rate of the electrician charges.
- Plumbing repairs may also be necessary, such as drain cleaning, sink unclogging, or repairing a sump pump or water heater. While cheaper jobs can run you under $100, you can be looking at as much as $800 on the more expensive side of the spectrum.
- You may even have to repair foundation problems. Minor cracks can cost $600 or more, while major repair needs can be $10,000 or higher. These tend to require hydraulic piers.
- Mold and asbestos removal may also be necessary. The former is likely to cost between $15 and $31 per square foot, while the latter can cost $20 to $65 per square foot.
Basement Finishing Cost Savers
It’s generally a better idea to use an open plan design when you think about basement finishing. The recommendation is also to hire a contractor who is qualified to get you through the finishing process. However, if you have the skill set to manage the job yourself and hire subcontractors, You can save yourself some funds. However, note that doing the said management and ensuring that everything is up to code can be a very taxing task. Consider the following tidbits to help you save some cash:
- Paint the entire space yourself if you are equipped to do so. You can save even more at this point by choosing to do it with spray paint.
- If insulation is not a concern, forego adding ceiling drywall and tiles. Instead, spray the ductwork and the pipes the same color as your walls.
- As far as flooring is concerned, install laminate or carpet everything. Additionally, you could even choose to epoxy or score the concrete.
- Secure affordable drywall texturing
- Don’t finish out the entire basement. Doing this also allows you to save on your property tax, as the appraised square footage for taxing becomes much less. You can then finish the basement properly when you are ready to sell.
- Instead of using walls for separation, you can implement curtains, panels, or wall dividers that run along tracks. That prevents you from having to spend on plumbing, wiring, adding walls, or framing.
Earlier, you got some information on the type of contractor that you should avoid. Here are some attributes of the best contractors for you to use:
- Cleanup costs are included in your quotation.
- Specific dates for starting and ending are offered.
- Insurance and bonding are present.
- There is a labor and material warranty present.
- Experience in finishing basements for at least five years
- An A or A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
I agree that choosing a contractor with experience in the latter stages of a project is a wise decision. Thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you for saying the different ways you can use your space if you finish your basement. I want to renovate my basement this year for more space. I will find a reputable basement renovation service locally to assist.