How Much Does Basement Finishing Cost?

We’ve worked on a lot of great projects at Excel Builders over the years. While each one is rewarding in its own way, there’s just something special about taking a space like an unfinished basement and turning it into an extension of a client’s home. When it comes to basements, one of the most common questions we get is, “how much does basement finishing cost?”

To be honest, that’s a bit of a loaded question. I wish I could give you a more concrete number, but it simply doesn’t work like that. For one thing, no two basement finishing projects are exactly the same. The cost can also vary depending on several factors, including where you live, the project’s scope, the cost of materials, and the contractor you hire.

We can, however, look at the average cost of basement finishing. According to an analysis by Home Advisor, it can cost anywhere between $2,800 and $34,000 to finish a basement, with homeowners paying an average of $18,400 to transform their unfinished basement into a livable space.

Did that number surprise you? You’re not the only one! Many people are shocked when they receive a quote for basement finishing. That’s because they only account for what they can see and completely overlook what they can’t. Sure, the design plays a significant role in the cost of a finished basement, but there’s more to it than that. You also have to factor in the price of “hidden” elements.

I may not be able to put a number on a price tag, but I can help you better understand what goes into a basement finishing project and how it impacts the total cost. Let’s dive in!

What Determines How Much Basement Finishing Costs?

As noted above, a basement finishing estimate accounts for a variety of things. That said, two notable factors that contribute to basement finishing costs are the design and the details hidden in plain sight.

How Does Design Impact the Cost of Basement Finishing?

To finish your basement, you have to start with the end in mind. Design is one of the most critical elements of any project because it sets the tone for everything that comes after it, including the final cost.

Here are some things to consider when designing your finished basement:

  • What will your basement layout look like?
  • What kind of finishes will you use (flooring, cabinetry, etc.)?
  • Will it have specialty rooms, such as a home theater or gym?
  • Do you plan to have a bathroom, kitchenette, or wet bar in the basement?

Believe me when I say that money spent on proper design is 100% worth the investment. If your finished basement design is subpar, it can cause major problems down the road.

What are the Hidden Costs of a Basement Finishing Project?

Now let’s talk about the often-overlooked reason why design is so important when finishing a basement (or any project, really). Design doesn’t just impact what you can see, such as the layout and finishes; it also influences the things you can’t see. Contractors typically refer to these things as hidden or indirect costs.

Some indirect costs that contribute to a basement finishing estimate include:

  • Sealing and waterproofing
  • Installing a drain or sump pump
  • Electrical and lighting
  • Plumbing
  • HVAC
  • Framing and drywall
  • Insulation
  • Permits and inspections
  • Demolition and trash removal

These are all things that people don’t think of during the design process, yet the project can’t move forward without them — the design dictates the indirect costs included in a contractor’s proposal.

Consider Design and Hidden Costs When Hiring a Basement Finishing Contractor

Understanding how the design and indirect costs contribute to your basement finishing estimate will make the entire process easier. In addition to helping you to set a more realistic budget, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for when comparing quotes from various contractors.

As a design-build company, Excel Builders can help you navigate the design process and the indirect costs that come with finishing your basement. Our team of experts includes some of the best design-build professionals in the industry, from our in-house designer to our highly skilled craftspeople. You’ll even have access to our in-house custom cabinet shop, making it easy to add custom cabinetry, furniture, or millwork to your project. Whether finishing your basement or remodeling your kitchen, we are 100% committed to executing your home improvement project exactly as you envisioned.

Ready to get the ball rolling on a finished basement design or another remodeling project? Get in touch with our team! We can be reached by phone at (612) 306-4064 or by email at In the meantime, feel free to start gathering design inspiration from our project gallery.