Basements have a knack for being that eerie place in the house where old toys and outdated hand-me-downs live. However, basements have the potential to become anything you want them to be. A spare bedroom, a laundry room, or perhaps even a wine cellar — the options are almost endless.
Perhaps you’ve been considering a basement remodel and wondering if its worth the investment. According to a statement from Home Advisor, the average basement remodel could have a return on investment of up to 70%. That should come as welcome news to any homeowner. But that doesn’t mean you’ll want to spend an arm and a leg when doing your basement finishing.
The good news is you can still do a basement remodeling and save on costs. Here’s how you can do it.
Go for an Open Ceiling
Some people doing their basement revamps prefer the option of a suspended ceiling with tiles or drywall. A simpler and cheaper solution is to leave the ceiling open and paint it black. Don’t worry; this option wont compromise on the quality of the finish. Suspended ceilings could set you back anywhere between $2000 to $3000 depending on the size of the basement and the type of tile. They also require you to deal with beams and figure out how to install low HVAC trunk lines. Painted open ceilings provide easier access to mechanical fixtures while also increasing the basements headroom.
Consider Concrete For the Floor
When doing your flooring, concrete is undoubtedly a cost-friendly option. For a basic concrete finish, expect to pay $2 to $12 per square foot. Stained concrete costs $2 to $4 per square foot with concrete overlay setting you back anywhere between $3 and $7 per square foot. The pricier option is often polished concrete that comes in at $3 to $12 per square foot.
A concrete floor fully cures 28 days after pouring and can be a durable and affordable option for your basement renovation. Other inexpensive flooring options include laminate, sheet vinyl, builders grade hardwood, and ceramic tiles. These options will shave a significant amount off your basement remodeling budgeting while still giving an aesthetic finish.
Increase Your Wall Spacing
New framed basement walls are non-structural or non-load bearing, which means they only support features like wiring, drywall, or trim. Since they don’t have to support loads from above, that gives you the luxury increasing the spacing between the studs to 24 inches rather than the usual 16 inches.
Studs typically cost $2 to $3 per stud. By increasing the spacing, you’ll use fewer studs and consequently save more money. Take a 12-foot wall, for instance. If you spaced your studs at 16 inches apart, you’ll end up using a total of 25 studs, which comes to a maximum of $75. Space the studs at 24 inches and you’ll end up using about 17 studs, which comes to a total of $51. In the long run, the savings add up.
Double Down on Doors
Doors are pretty pricey. Depending on the size, type, location, and framing needs, the average cost of door installation could set you back a fair amount. On average, door installation costs around $970, with some homeowners spending anywhere between $472 and $1476. When finishing your basement, eliminating any duplicate doors is essential if you want to save on costs. Getting rid of an extra door means you spend less on the actual door, doorknobs, trim, prep, casing, and labor.
Try to Exclude a Bathroom
Even though bathrooms take up a small amount of square footage, most people will need a professional plumber, electrician, drywall installer, painter, and flooring installer to come in and do the job — which means you could end up spending a lot more in wages than you planned.
Even if it’s a half-bath, you might end up spending thousands of dollars on getting the installation done. According to HomeGuide, the average cost of installing a new bathroom is, on average, $7600, with a lot of homeowners spending between $4500 to $12,400.
However, if your basement remodel must include a bathroom, sticking to less expensive materials to keep costs low and include plumbing fixtures will save money. Given that flushing accounts for 38% of a households water use, a low-flow toilet — coupled with other water-saving mechanisms — can curb your water bill in the long run.
Check Your Local Building Codes
Yes, you could save a lot of money by doing several things not bound by building codes; stuff like painting walls or installing flooring. However, most local areas building codes require a permit and inspection by the local municipality. Projects that re done incorrectly have to be torn down — meaning you’ll have to start again and foot the bill. Before beginning any DIY project on your basement remodel, look up your localities building codes to get an idea of what you can and can’t do.
Basement remodeling is a great way to spruce up a dull space and turn it into a functional one. Remodeling can be costly and require a fair bit of prudence if you’re working on a budget. However, you can still achieve your dream basement and have a little change to spare.
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