The movies have always been unfair to basements. It is often portrayed as space where monsters lurk and over the years, basements have at some point given you scares – perhaps as a child, or even until now. But the good news is that you can always convert these basements into warm, beautiful, and functional living spaces. With a little fixing here and there, you can do away with the musty odor and the clatter, and turn the space into an extra room, an entertainment area, or even a gaming room.
But as a homeowner, you must have already known that transforming your basement into your preferred level of goodness comes with a cost. You should also be able to identify whether you want to do it yourself or if you want to hire somebody to do things for you.
Now, to start it off, a basement beautification project usually begins with the framing of the basement. This would then lead you to ask as to what the cost of framing a basement is. You would even want to know what framing means.
Average Cost of Basement Framing
Framing the basement simply refers to the installation of wood frames outlining the basement’s walls. The frames also put into place the openings of a room (if in case you decide to put one).
The cost to frame a basement depends on a lot of factors – it could be your location, the cost of labor in your area, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, the size of your basement, and a lot more. On the average, it would cost about $250 to $800. If you choose to minimize the cost of labor and do most of the framing yourself, it could be lower.
Most homeowners, though, report that in framing their basements, they usually spend at least $1 per square foot. And so if this is the case and you have about 250 square feet, you would likely spend about $250 as well. But if you take into consideration other price-influencing factors, your cost to frame a basement could be a hundred dollars more than this. These factors can be obstructions like windows, electrical plugs, and the likes.
What are Included
Labor Cost. If you finally decide on having somebody else do the framing of the basement for you, the cost of labor is something you need to consider. Labor costs vary depending on location. The amount that you pay when you are in New York may be more expensive than when you are in Mississippi.
Whatever the cost of labor is, it usually covers tasks like doing layouts, fabricating, and installing wood frames. The amount you pay for labor will also include planning, equipment and material purchases, setup, cleanup, and preparation of the basement. This could cost about $200 to $600 depending on where you are located.
Supplies. It is but natural that when framing your basement, you need to purchase supplies. Usually, this could cost you around $120 to $150. The amount would already cover fasteners, connectors, and the wood that is going to be used for framing.
Equipment. This refers to special tools that are used to ensure good-quality framing. This would be an added cost of about $30 to $50 which includes a framing nailer, a miter saw, and an electric planer. Of course, you can save a few dollars if you have these tools available at home.
Permit. When you have already decided to put install your basement frames, you need to have a permit for the project. It is actually for you to let the county know that you are going to be doing some work at home. Now, this is pretty important as a permit would give you access to free inspections of the frame, of the electrical wirings, and of stuff you may never be an expert of. Plus, if you decide to sell the house, the realtor is always going to ask you whether you have a permit for the works you did in your basement. A permit would have a starting cost of $50 and could go up to hundreds. You can easily get them from your local Building Department office.
Wet Basement. Before you even start working on your project, you have to make sure to get your basement dry. Moisture inside your basement is bad for the materials especially since you are using wood for framing. And as basements are known for being damp, something must be done to resolve this first. You can have the downspouts rerouted, you can also apply water-resistant paints to interior surfaces, or you can choose other methods of waterproofing your basement. Either way, you incur added costs with a wet basement ranging from $50 for vapor barriers to about $1,000 to $1,500 for a French drain. Also, make sure to get to the bottom of why the basement is damp in the first place. Either it’s a pipe or sewer leakage, a floor that’s cracked; whatever the source of the dampness is, that should be addressed first.
Electrician Cost. You would also need an electrician to make sure all electrical wirings are in their proper places. You should also remember that later on, your basement would be subject to regular inspections from the county and having an electrician fix the network of electrical wirings for you, make it secure and sure. An electrician’s services cost around $65 to $85 per hour.
Plumbing Works. If you also decide to put in a bathroom or even a sink in your basement, you would need a plumber to do the works for you. A plumber would cost you about $45 to $65 per hour.
Shopping for Basement Framing
- The most popular material that is being used for framing a basement is wood or timber. And the usual size is about 2in x 4in x 8ft which costs around $4 at Lowe’s. You can also get the same from Home Depot or any local store you prefer. Prices would differ depending on the store you get it from.
- ImproveNet by CraftJack has a listing of local basement contractors that you can look up by just providing your zip code. You would also be asked to specify the part of the house that needs fixing and enumerate all other requests you may have.
- Homewyse’s website has a basement wall framing calculator that gives you estimates of the cost you would likely incur in framing your basement. It would require you to type your zip code and the size of the area that needs working on, and it would give you a rough estimate of the cost of framing a basement.
Factors Affecting Cost of Basement Framing
Rooms and Obstructions. One of the factors affecting your basement framing cost is the number and size of rooms you would like to be built. More rooms mean more pieces of wood needed for the framing. A room’s size would also influence your total cost for the same reason.
Also, try to find if your basement has electrical panels and/or windows that could be considered as obstructions as these would also cause for your costs to go higher. The same is true if your ceiling has pipes and ducts which calls for special framing techniques.
Location. Your location’s cost of living also affects your total cost for basement wall framing. Using Homewyse’s cost calculator, the cost of a basement wall framing would amount to an estimated $310 in Mississippi. The basement framing cost in New York, however, could go up to $441.79. Bigger cities tend to have a higher cost of living and more expensive materials while those in the rural areas have a relatively low cost of labor.
DIY versus Hiring a Pro. If you think you have the carpentry skills to do all the basement framing, then, by all means, do everything yourself. But if you think that you cannot and will not be able to finish everything with your desired result, you can hire somebody else to do the framing for you.
Hiring a carpenter, however, can incur costs and it usually is about $70 per hour. And while doing it yourself would be way cheaper than hiring a pro, it would require you to spend a couple or so weekends down in the basement working on the project.