How Much Does It Cost To Build A Basement?

Home improvement remains to be one of the most (if not the most) active and engaging real estate endeavor committed by many homeowners across the United States. Although home improvement as we know it is considered a modern concept, the goal of making a better home to increase the household’s wealth goes back as far as human civilization itself. Increasing the value of personal property is the oldest clever way to prosperity.

Speaking of value, the building and remodeling a basement comprise an important aspect contributing to the upsurge of the property’s overall worth. According to the graphic data featured by the US Bank, basement remodeling helps owners regain a total of 77.6% of the entire investment spent on building one.

What makes basements especially interesting is that it creates an additional multipurpose interior without significantly reducing the overall property’s square feet coverage. Like any portion of the indoors, basements leave homeowners a lot of liberty in terms of what its functions are.

Basements can either be a guest room, additional bed quarters, storage area (e.g. wine cellar, warehouse, or gallery), or a recreational space (e.g. gym, art studio, or meditation room). Regardless of what it may look like, there is one universal fact about building a basement from scratch: it is expensive.

Crude Average Cost

The question remains for those who are interested: How much does it cost to build a basement? Ordinarily, this inquiry does not generate the most transparent and clear cut response online. In fact, the usual answers depend on how the owners handle the budget for this major home improvement project.

basement construction plan

According to Bank Rate, the lowest possible price of basement installation is roughly around $5,000. This projection often reflects a smaller-than-average underground room completed under the frugal material spending and a construction phase largely comprised of a hands-on do-it-yourself labor.

The highest projected cost to finish a basement may climb up to more than $40,000 – this to include detailed craftsmanship from multiple contractors. However, the most prevalent price range spent by any average household in the United States is approximately anywhere between $10,579 and $36 972.

Overall Cost Breakdown

Judging on the previous crude estimate, a lot of specific factors hinder a more clear-cut and accurate projection. Hence, a meticulous planning entails a taking a closer look at a number of considerations that comprise the overall basement cost. Along with its usual corresponding cost, these are the following aspects one should take note in terms of completely adding an underground indoor space from scratch:

  • Permits: $50
  • Machine excavation: $40 to $150 per hour
  • Contractor (electrician): $40 to $100 per hour
  • Contractor (plumber): $45 to $150 per hour
  • Contractor (painter): $15 to $20 per hour
  • Framing: $1,000
  • Flooring: $1,500
  • Waterproofing: $7,000

About Basement Waterproofing

When asking, ‘how much does it cost to build a basement,’ how come there is a significant emphasis on the budget needed for basement waterproofing? As it happens, hydrostatic pressure is one of the most insidious and overlooked forms of weathering any home surface has to contend with – and no other area in the house is proven to be more vulnerable than the underground interiors. Apart from the 25% loss in terms of overall home value, leaks are practically dangerous enough to cause life-threatening accidents (e.g. electrocution).

A graphic data presented by the American Society of Home Inspectors presents a number of facts that made basement waterproofing a crucial part of the overall budget. It is confirmed that many new homes have a natural period of 10 to 15 years prior to experiencing leaks anywhere in the basement. Why?

  • 60% of basements in existing homes are plagued by moisture problems.
  • 98% of American homeowners experienced a damp basement at least once in a lifetime.
  • The annual cost covered by insurance companies due to water damage is worth $2.5 billion.

The 5 Outlay Factors

Considering that building a basement entails a number of requirements, the latter only comprises half of the general dynamics that determine the exact cost of spending. As mentioned earlier, there are a number of measurable factors that affect the exact overall price of basement installation. According to I Finished My Basement, these are the following construction parameters that influence how much a homeowner will end up covering for this major home improvement:


The most direct cause affecting the overall spending is how much square feet is excavated and walled off. In essence, a bigger space entails a more expensive project cost. The costs associated with the measurement are directly reflected in the actual budget needed to cover the drywall and scaffolding.

Floor Material

The overall cost is also determined by the kind of material chosen to pave the basement. A stained naked concrete base may only cost a bare minimum $300.


If a homeowner decides to use the basement as a room addition, adding a bathroom could contribute to the overall cost. In addition to the plumbing, one can either install a $10 worth shower head and tiled sections of the roof and wall partitions. A regular full bathroom could add up a total of $5,000.

Egress Window

man standing at the basement

Traditional basements are normally not built for huge portholes. However, egress windows allow a possible alternative entry and exit through the basement walls. Opting for this basement upgrade costs a lot due to a carefully extended excavation. The usual price range for an egress window installation is anywhere between $1,518 and $4,041.

Labor Cost

As an important component of the basement cost, the exact value of hiring a certain contractor is directly influenced by the complexity of the basement construction. However, it is also important to take note that the fixed cost for hiring contractors is not the same in all places in the United States. In fact, there are certain locations that prove to be cheaper than the national average cost. These are the places underscored by Fixr:

  • Clinton, North Carolina: 44% less
  • Pevely, Missouri: 15% less
  • Davenport, Iowa: 15% less
  • Mukilteo, Washington: 14% less
  • Lincoln, Nebraska: 13% less
  • Foley, Alabama: 11% less
  • Omaha, Nebraska: 10% less
  • Athens, Georgia: 9% less
  • Norfolk, Virginia: 6% less
  • Apex, North Carolina: 5% less

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