What Is a Reasonable Amount to Renovate a Basement?

Renovating a basement offers a couple of benefits. You add immediate living space and more value when you eventually sell your home. Even an expensive basement renovation can be less expensive than building an addition. Furthermore, you can expect up to two-thirds of that back in value. How much you have to spend depends on the condition of the basement and the renovation.

Essential Waterproofing Varies

Waterproofing your basement is a major variable in the overall expense of the renovation. Fixing a moisture problem can be as simple as re-routing downspouts for around $50, or excavating around the foundation to coat the walls with a waterproofing compound, which can run $5,000 to $10,000. You might need a dehumidifier or sump pump, for $1,000 or less, or several gallons of waterproofing paint for $500 or so. A dry basement is essential.

Average Cost

The national average cost for basement renovation is about $63,000, according to Remodeling magazine, but that varies by region. That's a good estimate in the Midwest, but on the Pacific Coast renovation will average more than $76,000. On the Atlantic Coast, figures range from almost $68,000 in the northeast to under $67,000 in the southern sector.

Figuring by Square Foot

Most remodeling experts tag the cost of basement renovation at from $20 to $30 a square foot for basic construction, such as framing walls. More elaborate renovations range up to $50 or $75 a square foot, depending on the size and complexity. About 75 percent of the expense will be on labor, while the rest comes from materials.

Amenities Add Up

Adding plumbing and extra electrical work for such amenities as bathrooms, wet bars and home entertainment areas can dramatically increase costs. These not only involve construction expense, but in materials, too. Granite countertops, under-counter refrigerators, big screen television sets and musical systems factor into renovation expenses.

About the Author

Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.