Cost To Build A Basement

If you’re looking for a way to add space and value to your home, building a basement is a great option. But before you get started with the project, it’s important to do some planning. Basements are typically used for extra living space or as storage areas, but they can also be used as bedrooms or offices. If you’re planning on using your basement as living space, it’s important that you plan ahead so that it’s functional and safe.

Basement windows are often limited in size because of their location underground, so consider adding skylights to your plan if you want more natural light in your new basement. In addition to making sure that your basement is functional, safety should always be considered when building any part of a house. It’s important that any electrical wiring or plumbing installed in the basement be done by professionals who know what they’re doing and use proper materials that won’t cause problems down the road (like lead).

Building a basement is one of the most cost-efficient ways to add square footage to your home. A basement can be used for storage, an extra bedroom, or even an apartment that you rent out. The cost of building a basement depends on how large the space will be and what type of foundation you need. Below we’ll go over each step and how much they’ll cost so you can budget accordingly.

Cost Overview

Basement construction costs vary by region, the size of the basement, and the materials used to build it. It’s important to understand that basements are typically 10-15% of the total cost of a home—so if you’re looking at building a new house in 2019, it’s safe to say your home will have a basement (or multiple).

The average homeowner spends nearly $40,000 on their finished basement; however, this price will vary widely based on location and other factors. To give you an idea of what you might expect from your project: In some areas where there are steep labor costs like Boston or San Francisco might be closer to $80-$100 per square foot for labor alone; whereas smaller jurisdictions with lower skilled work force (such as rural Kansas) may have rates closer to $20-$25 per square foot for labor alone.

Soil Preparation

Soil preparation is the first step in the basement building process. It involves removing any rocks or roots from the soil, grading it, and compacting it so that you can build a strong foundation. But before you can do this, you need to know if your soil has enough clay content to support a footer slab (the concrete base of your foundation). You can hire a professional engineer to test your soil’s clay content for free or buy a $20 kit at Home Depot and test it yourself.

Soil preparation also includes removing any non-permeable surfaces such as pavers, gravel or grass so they can be replaced with permeable ones: stones like fieldstones or crushed rock that allow water through them but don’t allow roots to grow through them; mulch such as wood chips or shredded bark; perforated pipes filled with gravel; etcetera.

Foundation Concrete Costs

The foundation concrete costs will depend on the size and shape of your basement. Concrete foundations are usually poured in a rectangular shape to accommodate a bedroom, bathroom or living room in your basement. A small basement with only one room may cost as low as $10 per square foot, while a larger and more complex basement could cost $30 per square foot or more.

Costs for labor are another reason why this expense varies so much from homeowner to homeowner. Some homeowners hire professionals for all their work, while others do it themselves using their own equipment or by hiring day laborers at a lower rate than what professional contractors charge for their services.

Structure Steel

Structural steel is used to support the framing. The walls and ceiling are also made of structural steel. The floor consists of joists, which are usually 2×10 or 2×12 pieces of wood that span the distance between the beams in a basement. In addition to supporting the weight of these joists, they also help stabilize them against any movement caused by environmental conditions like temperature changes and humidity fluctuations.

Basement stairs are typically made from either wood or concrete blocks with metal reinforcement bars running through them like an I-beam (see image below).

Framing Costs

Framing is the backbone of your home’s structure. It acts as a skeleton and provides a solid structure for the home. Framing includes things like studs, headers, and joists.

Drywall and Insulation

Drywall is a wall covering made of gypsum plaster, and it’s often used on interior walls and ceilings. It comes in different thicknesses, but the most common thickness is 1/2″. Drywall is also available in different textures, but smooth (also called “finish”) is the most common because it doesn’t show defects as well as other textures.


Because the floors are the largest surface area in your basement, they can be one of the more expensive parts of your project. If you’re looking to save money and install them yourself, you can do so after other work is completed.

Alternatively, if your budget allows for professional installation and you don’t want to worry about any additional costs or delays due to DIY mistakes, consider having them installed by a contractor. This will ensure that everything is done correctly from start to finish—and that’s worth something.

Tile and Stonework

Tile is more expensive than stone and easier to install. Stone is more durable, but it’s not as natural looking as tile. Tile tends to be more porous, so if you want something that feels like the outdoors in your basement bathroom, then you might consider using stone instead of tile.

Carpentry and Masonry

Carpentry and masonry are two separate trades, but they are often combined in the same project. Carpenters build structures with wood, while masons use stone or brick. A basement can require both carpentry and masonry because most basements include a wooden floor that needs to be supported by solid concrete walls. The skills needed to perform each of these trades are different and require a different level of expertise, so you will have to decide which one would work for your home improvement project first before beginning any work on your basement


Plumbing costs for your basement include fixtures, which are the fixtures that you’ll use in your bathroom like sinks, toilets, baths and showers. These can be installed by a plumber or by you. Fixtures are usually installed in basements because it is easier to install them down there than up in an upstairs room.

Building Inspections and Permits

Building inspections and permits are required in most jurisdictions. Permits are required for safety reasons, legal reasons and insurance purposes. Building permits are also necessary for resale purposes and energy efficiency purposes. Without a permit, the home buyer may not be able to get mortgage financing or may lose out on a large amount of money if they try to sell or refinance the home later on.


Labor is the largest expense when it comes to building a basement. The amount you spend on labor will vary depending on the size and complexity of your project, as well as whether or not you have friends or family who can lend a hand.

If you have no friends or family members available to help, consider hiring professionals instead. There are many qualified contractors out there who can do the same work at a lower cost than hiring an inexperienced do-it-yourselfer. If you’re going to hire someone else anyway, make sure they know what they’re doing so that your basement doesn’t end up costing even more than expected.


At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that it’s not a good idea to go into a basement project without knowing what you’re getting into first. We hope that by providing some examples here and giving you some helpful tips on how to approach your own basement project, we’ve helped make things clearer for you. And if all else fails…just remember: always ask around. Someone out there knows someone who’s done what we’re talking about here—and sometimes those people are willing to help out with their knowledge and experience.

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