Cost to Build A Basement
Depends On What You Want
Have you been looking around your home and wondering how much it costs to finish a basement? If you are like most, your basement is typically used for one of two purposes: for family time or for storing junk.
Let me guess… on your upper floors you spend time cooking, getting ready for work or your kids for school, homework scatters the dining room, and phone calls get taken wherever there is quiet while the tv blares. Pretty much all the normal day-to-day chaos of life. Now you’re thinking a beautifully finished and warm basement sanctuary will help bring balance to your busy life.
With the busy-ness of the main floor, and sometimes second floor, the basement can provide a separate space for relaxation and movies, hobbies, quiet reading, homework, family gatherings, and so much more.
Your unfinished basement may also have become host to piles of boxes, a Christmas tree stuffed under the stairs with decorations you can’t find, a corner full of exercise equipment that rarely gets used, and a cat litter box somewhere amongst it all. Nobody wants to go down there because it’s cold, dark and really, not a fun space to be in. Is there even drywall on the walls? On the other side of the coin, an improperly finished basement can create the same cold, dark space that nobody wants to hang out in.
So, if you think it’s time and want to consider a basement development, let’s talk about how much a basement might cost.
I can confidently tell you that a basement costs as much as a vehicle.
You could pick the Ferrari 250 GTO that Ferrari used to win the 1964 Tour de France Automobile for the ninth consecutive year. This specific Ferrari was one of only 36 of these cars made between 1962 and 1963; was the most expensive in the world at an unbelievable $70,000,000 price point (yes million), and was victorious not only in the Tour de France, but also placed in the Le Mans.
Or you can pick up a used Honda Civic for $10,000.
My point is, there is a vast price range. It all depends on what you want out of a basement. You won’t get a fully finished basement for $10,000, nor will you have to break a renovation budget world record.
Factors in Basement Development Price
So, what determines your price range when planning a basement development?
Here are a few things to consider:
Use of Space
First thing to consider is what the space will be used for. Is your family growing? Do you need an extra bedroom or two, a full bathroom, a family room, or a comfortable laundry room. Or do you want bonus space, in which case the options for development are almost endless. Maybe you want a brightly lit home gym, a wet bar, a theatre room, a gas fireplace, an art studio, a bathroom with walk-shower, or all of the above! Point is, decide what you want the space for, upfront.
When choosing lighting, you can go in so many directions. We are big fans of lots of small 4” LED lights on dimmers. This allows an even light, spread throughout the rooms without being blinded by brighter lights in the centre. You can have feature lighting for special art pieces, wall mounted sconce lights to illuminate hallways, LED strip lighting, overhead vanity lighting, a light in the shower connected to an exhaust fan and timer, or even app-controlled colour changing lights. An interior designer or lighting designer can assist with these decisions. With more lighting, circuits and dimmers, comes an increase in cost, but a well-planned lighting scheme will help create a basement that is much more comfortable and enjoyable.
A basement development in Edmonton, or any winter climate for that matter, needs extra consideration when insulating if you want a comfortable space. We always recommend a closed cell spray foam for foundation walls and joist ends. You get a much better seal and higher performance with spray foam over batt. You can even go the extra mile after insulation and have a blower door test performed. This is a test where the air is pumped out of the home with a big fan and then with infrared cameras, the basement is inspected to see if cool air is entering. If cold spots are found, it’s likely small areas where the spray foam application has missed a spot or two. More insulation can be applied to seal up the leak. Spray foam is standard practice for us in a basement, but in most cases is considered an industry upgrade.
Keeping on the topic of insulation, let’s not forget sound insulation. In addition to soundproofing spray foam applications, there are various ways and different levels of sound insulation depending on your needs. You can go as simple as resilient bar with batt insulation, or you can go full out and have professional sound transmission experts come into your home to perform noise testing and recommend sound insulation systems. There are several options that can be installed into basements including options to isolate different rooms such as bedrooms or theatre rooms. Obviously, the installation of soundproofing systems is going to add to the cost of your basement development in Edmonton, and it’s not something that everyone needs.
A bathroom probably needs its own blog, or series of blogs because it is the most used space in the house and often the most personal, but for the purpose of keeping this short, we’ll just touch on the basics. A basement bathroom is often a 3-piece but can simply be a powder room. Do you need a bathtub or walk-in shower? Do you want 150SF dedicated to your bathroom, or 40SF? Do you want multiple shower heads with a custom glass enclosure and hand glazed, hand painted mosaic tile? Do you want your toilet to play music, light up and blow warm air on your feet? There are endless upgrades in a bathroom. When deciding on the upgrades you want and can afford, the need vs. want decision making rule really comes into play.
You may wonder if you should put ceiling tiles in your basement. Like others, you worry what if there’s a plumbing leak? But ask yourself, would you put ceiling tile on your main floor in case the plumbing upstairs leaks? Probably not. If the plumbing is done properly, it won’t leak, it’s that simple.
Maybe you like the look of ceiling tiles. Don’t get me wrong, there are some super cool ceiling tiles these days that look fantastic, but again, it all comes down to what you want to look at. As far as cost factors, sometimes ceiling tiles are less expensive than a flat or textured drywall ceiling, but sometimes not. You could consider a custom, coffered ceiling which can add a ton of depth and texture to a wide-open space if your ceiling height permits, but again, a cost consideration, especially since there is just as much square footage on the ceiling as on the floor, to make your basement more unique & personal.
There are several options when it comes to flooring, but the typical choices for basements are carpet and LVP (luxury vinyl plank). Let’s discuss vinyl plank. The range in price for vinyl plank is $1/SF (square foot) up to $9.50/SF, or even higher. If you are wanting a basement development and you are dealing with a 1000 SF space, you can see how your selection can drastically affect the overall cost. Our typical price range for LVP is $4.50 – $6.00/SF which will get you a great quality product with a 15-to-20-year warranty. The pattern in which it’s installed can even affect the price. There are 2mm products, all the way up to 12mm products with built in cork underlay, R-value, and a ceramic bead wear layer. There are also options for an insulated sub-floor and concrete levelling during the preparation phase to ensure a flat and comfortable basement. It all adds up.
There are a bazillion options for finishing (no kidding). First of all, let’s talk doors. Swing doors have options for solid core, hollow core, profiles, thickness and width. There are pocket doors with soft close features or without. Barn doors are very popular these days and the options for these are vast. You can match them to your swing doors or have a custom door built that presents itself as a feature piece. Next is cabinetry and countertops. IKEA cabinets? Cash and carry from your local big box store? Floating, custom built, painted MDF, maple? Countertops can be quartz, granite, concrete, laminate or other materials. All of these options can affect the price in a big way, especially if you have a lot of cabinetries going in. Other finishing elements to consider are door and window casing material, to have or not to have crown moulding, coffered ceilings and feature walls, handrails, and a ton of other styles of finishing.
We could write separate blogs for every element listed above because there is so much to cover.
The Big Question
But for now, the big question “how much does a basement development cost?” can be answered like this… It depends.
At Adlyn Construction, our average price range is typically $100/SF – $150/SF. We’ve completed basements with all the bells and whistles, major foundation repairs with floor levelling, window enlargements, custom this and that up to $180/SF, but they average around $125/SF. You won’t get a used Honda Civic for this price, nor will you get an ultra-rare Ferrari, but you’ll get a well built, well lit, comfortable and functionable basement.
With quality materials, professional subtrades and crew members, outstanding communication throughout the process, and a highly detailed fixed price contract, Adlyn Construction offers an exceptional experience and finished basement for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.