Homeowners with an unfinished basement are always dreaming on their next project. Soundproofed walls, wood or carpeted floors, or turning the space it into a rental are a few of the most common. Although many consider basement renovations to be a relatively cost-effective way to add livable square footage to your home, depending on the scope of the project, they can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. The good news is that there’s no need to tackle a full basement renovation all at once. Here are 6 smaller projects that will maximize your basement’s utility with minimal investment.
Return on Investment
While basement renovations can be expensive, it’s important to remember the high return on investments they yield. On average, you can expect a 70% return on investment (ROI). This means that for every $1000 you spend on your reno, you can expect about $700 back. Every renovation is different but you can feel confident knowing that updating your unfinished basement will only increase the overall value of your home.
Before you even consider investing in your basement, make sure it is fully waterproofed. If your home has a history of leaks, flooding, or burst pipes, your first step is to rectify these issues with the help of a waterproofing specialist. If you’ve lived in your home for less than a year and haven’t yet had a home inspector come by, do so as soon as possible to ensure you won’t run into issues with mold or moisture down the line.
Once you’re confident your basement won’t flood, hire a pro to frame, insulate and drywall your walls. It costs around $1 per square foot to have your basement framed, $1 per square foot to have it insulated, and an additional $1.50 per square foot to have it drywalled. Because these projects are priced by the square foot, many homeowners on a budget choose to embrace the industrial look by having concrete walls painted and drywall applied selectively. Altogether, you could insulate, frame, and drywall a 500 square-foot rec room, office, or entertainment space for around 2,000 dollars. Contact an experienced general contractor or drywall expert who can have your walls finished in a day or two.
During your drywall installation, have a licensed electrician come by to install outlets and a sub-panel. Because most of the room’s electrical work will be built into the walls, it’s a good idea to have these projects worked on at the same time. To stay on budget, make sure you determine the scope of your electrical needs before hiring. Depending on how you plan to use your basement, you may only need a couple of outlets installed, which will only cost $150-$250.
A lot of the main floor’s plumbing and electrical lives in the basement ceiling, which can make finishing the ceiling an extensive and expensive project. By regulation, basements also require a floor to ceiling height of at least seven feet. In light of these obstacles, homeowners need to be extra careful about how they choose to finish their ceilings and ensure they meet these standards.
One cost-effective solution is to leave the ceiling unfinished and paint it a solid colour instead. This option allows homeowners to maintain as much head clearance as possible, and also gives homeowners easy access to the pipes and electrical fixtures that run through the basement ceiling. Because this project requires a large amount of paint, renting a sprayer, and knowledge of how to protect outlets and electrical, we recommend hiring a professional painter. A pro can complete the project in a day and will cost you between 300 and 500 dollars.
When it comes to flooring, there are a number of options suited for a range of budgets. To learn more about these materials, check out this list of our favourite budget-friendly flooring options. Because basements are typically at least slightly damp, many homeowners choose to go with vinyl, laminate, linoleum, or even paint! Although it’s tempting to leave your floors bare, you’ll need to invest in carpets to insulate the space. Vinyl planks and laminate flooring, on the other hand, provide some insulation and a discerning buyer can find options that retail for only 300 to 500 dollars. A flooring specialist can help you select and install the right material for your basement.
Below are the average costs of Floor Laying & Refinishing services across different cities in Canada:
*Costs based on 4455 verified Canadian homeowner reviews as of March 2022
Furniture & Storage
For homeowners looking for a low-commitment way to improve the look of their basement, a comfortable couch or a well-placed built-in can make a world of difference. A built-in provides a huge amount of storage and can also be used to cover unfinished walls. This is also a great option for homeowners who don’t want to change the floor plan of their basement by creating a separate room for storage. Because basements are often oddly sized, we recommend hiring a pro who can create a unit with custom dimensions. If you’re looking a simple shelving unit, a handyman can handle the project. If you’re looking for more extensive cabinetry, consult a specialist.
You’d be amazed at what a large sectional or a well-placed carpet can do to a room. This is another low commitment option as you can bring furniture with you when you move. If you’re thinking of remodelling your main floor, consider moving old furniture downstairs, and instead invest in some new items for the main floor. If you already have a couple of dated couches down there, have them re-upholstered for a whole new look.
A partially finished basement is a great way to create a versatile space to play or work without the hassle – and price tag – of fully finishing and furnishing your basement. Any or all of these projects can be combined to create a livable basement without breaking the bank. Contract a pro now and start enjoying all that extra space!
Article Updated June 2022.