4 Costs To Consider When Finishing A Basement

A remodeled basement adds living space and value to your home. When you decide to hire an outside contractor to complete your project, here are several things to keep in mind. It is in your best interest to attain no less than two estimates for your remodel. For larger jobs, you need three or more estimates. Believe it or not, contractor quotes can sometimes vary by 300%.

Be sure, when you are comparing your estimates that you compare apples to apples. Each company should be providing the same quality of materials and work. If not, ensure that the quoted charges reflect any differences.

The lowest estimate does not make it the best choice. Some contractors that submit oddly low estimates may not have experience to know what the work entails. They may have made a mistake, which can be a problem later. This is not good when you are in the middle of improvements to your basement.

Before hiring a company to pour your slab, be sure to do the following:

Only hire a contractor that is bonded, licensed and insured.

  • Ensure that the company has a considerable amount of experience concerning a poured concrete slab floor. Hire someone that specializes in this type of work, not a “jack of all trades”.
  • Request a list of references, and even try to visit a completed job site. This will give you the opportunity to “inspect” their work, rather than just taking their word for it.
  • Try to hire a contractor that is a member of the ‘Concrete Foundations Association’. This will not guarantee their practices; however, associations are generally supported and joined by those concerned about proper completion of the job.

Any costs listed here are only an estimate to give you at least a “ballpark” figure. These figures are to help you have some kind of an idea of your basement improvement costs.

This is an estimate cost cement floor slab, prices reflective of the Midwest. These prices will vary somewhat depending on your location.

Estimated Cost For A Cement Floor

  • Foundation Footings $1,466.67
  • #5 Rebar 20′ $156
  • 8x8x16 Block $1,417
  • Sand-Ton $70
  • Bags of Mortar $150
  • Labor $1,950
  • Misc. Wood Stakes $150
  • Backhoe $400

Total estimated cost $5,759.67

The cost per square foot for a poured slab in the Midwest is $15.88/sq ft. Example-A 24x36x8 basement at $15.88/sq ft. would cost $13,282.67. This price includes Volclay Panels, which are used on the basement walls to keep out moisture. The Volclay basement wall panel cost for the 8′ walls on this basement would be $1,760.

Cost of Putting in a Bathroom

The cost of putting a bathroom in the basement ranges from $4,910 to $7,370.

This estimate is for a 6×6 moderate, 3/4 bathroom already roughed-in.

  • Shower Doors $300 to $460
  • Shower $360 to $540
  • Shower Faucet $130 to $200
  • Sink Faucet $130 to $200
  • Vanity $190 to $280
  • Lavatory $220 to $330
  • Counter Tops $120 to $180
  • Toilet $200 to $300
  • Ventilation $410 to $200
  • Medicine Cabinet $230 to $350
  • Lights, Vanity $130 to $200
  • Walls $650 to $970
  • Accessories $280 to $420
  • Flooring $160 to $240
  • Materials Sub Total: $3,240 to $4,870

Estimated Labor Costs: $1,670 to $2,500

Estimated Total Cost of Putting in a Bathroom (minus the rough-in): $4,910 to $7,370

The basement bathroom cost is based on the choices made in flooring, appliances, lighting and decoration. As you can imagine, that is why the cost varies greatly.

If this were not going to be a do-it-yourself project, look for a contractor that will allow you to select your items from a store of your choice. This way you would be able to purchase items that are marked down, as opposed to paying full price. Some contractors will do this, while others are adamantly against it. Usually it is because they get a commission from the company for the products they sell you.

Cost Of A Drop Ceiling

Drop down ceilings are relatively easy to install yourself. Very few tools are needed, so there won’t be a huge expense there. The average price is around $2 to $5 per sq ft. The price depends on the size and type of panels you choose, the ceilings height, whether the ceiling is over one large area or divided into smaller areas. If ceiling is one large area, labor will not be as expensive as for divided areas. The amount and kind of lighting fixtures you want installed, figure approximately $600 to $1,200. An estimated price for a 15×15 room is $2,400 to $6,000.

Drywall Cost

The combined cost of materials needed to drywall averages between $.25 and $.65 per sq ft. If you want this professionally installed, add on another $.85 to $1.50 a sq ft. If you are installing drywall on the ceiling and walls of a 12x12x8 foot room, you will need approximately 530 sq ft. of drywall. The cost is going to be about $1.10 to $2.15 per sq ft. The total drywall cost will range from $583 to $1,139.50.

Sheets of drywall are very heavy and require two or more workers. It is imperative that each layer of the joint compound dries thoroughly before adding another layer. This usually takes about 3 days for each layer.

Achieving a good drywall finish requires practice and patience. If you intend on doing this yourself, be sure to practice your technique in an inconspicuous area (a closet perhaps). Finishing drywall is not an easy task and takes skill. Be sure to allow an adequate margin of waste during your practicing phase. Generally, 20% of your budget is sufficient. You need to look at the ‘big picture’. It is true that you will pay more on this project. However, if you have other projects planned for the future, you will save in the end. Instead of hiring someone to do your drywall, you can do it yourself. Not only will you save money, but also it can be done on your time and around your schedule.

If you do decide to hire an individual or company to do your drywall, look for one that specializes in that area. You can obtain a referral from the National Assoc. of the Remodeling Industry.

Again, get several different estimates being sure to compare them and understand what each of the estimates is offering you. Know the size of the drywall each company/individual is going to use. This is important because the larger sheets of drywall will not make as many seems on your wall.

Request references, and ask about their experience. If possible, try to visit a previous job site to inspect their work first hand. Make sure they are up to date on their licensing, insurance and bonding for your state. Check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints.

As with any project, always check with your local planning dept. Some cities/towns have very precise regulations, even dictating whether you can use drywall screws or nails. Many projects require that you obtain a permit. For some projects, an inspector will have to check to see that the regulations in your area are being followed.

Knowing the steps necessary to complete a project will ensure that you understand what is going on. I hope that the information detailed in this article will assist you in making the right choices for you and your family.

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