Finishing a basement is different than an above grade remodel. Learn More.
If you need more living space for your family, you may have all the space you need right beneath your feet! If you're using your basement to store the artificial Christmas tree and old furniture, with a little planning you might be able to turn that space into additional space for living without incurring the expense of adding an addition.
In fact, finishing a basement can be cost effective since the primary structure, the walls and floor are already in place. A finished basement can return up to 69% of your original investment. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average cost for finishing a basement typically runs to about $36,000.
Basement remodeling can transform your space into an entertainment area with a kitchenette or a wet bar, a home theater, in-law suite, rentable living space or a kid's playroom. With the help of an experienced designer or design/build firm your basement can fit almost any need you may have for additional living space all within your home's original footprint.
Here are some things to consider before you start to prepare your space as well as some tips to help you with the basement remodeling process.
Before You Begin Finishing a Basement
Like any home improvement project, the more planning you do before you start finishing a basement, the easier the process. You need to understand the scope of the work and explore the possibilities before you begin. How you choose to use the space will have an effect on both the budget and scope of the work. For example, if you are creating a media room you may not need to do much infrastructure work, but if you' re creating a rental space, you may need to increase your budget to include plumbing and kitchen appliances.
Here are some useful tips when finishing a basement:
Evaluate the Space
A basement remodeling project can offer several challenges and potential obstacles you may need to deal with like low ceilings, dirt floors, moisture or ventilation concerns. Check to see if your basement needs professional waterproofing before you spend tens of thousand of dollars to renovate. Moisture issues can result in thousands of dollars of expensive repairs if not addressed before construction begins.
Define Your Space
Talk to your family and determine the best use of the space. Do you need a family room or living space for your teenage son and his friends? Or do you have aging parents that you'd like to move in? Will adding a kitchen, wet bar or bathroom result in expensive plumbing costs?
Knowing what rooms and features you'll be including can help you to set your budget. You may also need to research any legal requirements for your remodeling depending upon the use of the space. For example, if you're adding a bedroom you may be required to have an egress window in case of fire and any plumbing for an en suite bathroom will need to be up to your local building codes.
Setting a Realistic Budget
Finishing a basement can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $100,00 or more depending on the scope of work. In 2016 the average cost was typically between $28,000 to $36,000 depending on the details. Installing a kitchen and bathroom, for example, can add to the complexity and cost due to needing to add plumbing below grade.
Interview Contractors With Basement Remodeling Experience
You may be tempted to save money by acting as the general contractor and hiring sub-contractors, but it's a better strategy to hire a professional with experience in basement remodeling. Finishing a basement poses unique challenges and issues like waterproofing and controlling ventilation. When interviewing contractors check their affiliations, licensing, referrals, and make sure they have experience with basement remodeling. Contractors who specialize in basements may be better equipped to handle your project.
Understand the Scope of Work
If your basement isn't a walkout, you may have workers constantly walking through your home to load in materials for your project. There will be noise, and even though your basement is not the main living area of your home, there will be disruption to your daily life.
Finishing a basement typically takes between four and eight weeks, but if extensive infrastructure improvements are needed like plumbing, it may take longer.
To see the best return on your investment try to keep your improvements attractive and functional rather than highly personalized. Many potential buyers will have specific plans for the basement like a media room or game room and provide a general, impersonal, functional space will allow them to personalize the space to meet their needs and taste.
Finishing a basement is a great project that can add value to your home as it increases your functional living space without the expense of adding to your home's existing footprint. Defining how you will use the space and working with an experienced basement contractor or design build firm can make the process run smoothly and keep it within your budget. Working with the right contractor can help you to achieve your creative vision and give you a space that will remain functional and attractive for many years to come! Contact us to speak with a designer about finishing your basement.
Forward Design Build is a residential design-build firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its commitment to craftsmanship and communication. We are committed to improving our neighbors quality of life with inspired design and creative remodeling. Our homes are highly functional, exquisitely beautiful, and remarkably comfortable. Contact us to speak with an expert about your new home or remodeling project.