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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Construction & Renovation > Basement

Basement Cost


How Much Does a Basement Cost?

 
low costUnfinished Basement, New Construction: $10-$25+ a Square Footaverage costFinished Basement, New Construction: $30-$100+ a Square Foothigh costAdding Basement to Existing House: $30,000-$70,000+
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A basement can add additional storage, workshop or living space to a house, especially where it isn't possible to expand out or up. Although traditionally residents of tornado-prone areas have been told to take shelter in a basement if a storm shelter is not available, a basement does not necessarily function as a good tornado shelter unless the basement has been designed and reinforced for that purpose.

Typical costs:

  • Including a basement as part of new house construction can increase the cost of the house by $10-$25 or more a square foot for an unfinished basement, or about $10,000-$50,000 or more for an average house; and $30-$100 or more a square foot for a finished basement, or about $35,000-$175,000 or more for an average house; with costs depending on location, soil conditions, the size and shape of the basement area (unique shapes with more than four corners cost more), the materials/finishes used and additional features like a bathroom or laundry hook-ups.
  • Adding a basement to an existing house can cost $30,000-$70,000 or more, depending on the size of the existing crawlspace or half-basement or if the house is on a slab foundation, and how much of the work is do-it-yourself and how much is done by contractors. Many experts (like Bob Vila[1] ) estimate that it is less expensive and less risky to build an above-grade addition or an addition with a basement, next to the existing structure. However, house-moving companies like Klier Structural Movers[2] in Ohio assert that adding a basement to an existing house is a cost-effective addition.
  • A basement alone does not guarantee safety during a tornado. Building a structurally-reinforced safe room area inside a basement (whichit can double as a closet, bathroom or utility room) can add $6,660-$14,300 or more to the total cost, depending on size (the number of people expected to take shelter within it), materials used and location within the basement. Having a prefabricated safe room (a welded steel box, a steel skeleton with steel planks or a prefabricated unit that is bolted together on site) installed in a basement can cost $3,000-$20,000 or more, depending on materials and size.
Related articles: Basement Remodeling, Basement Waterproofing, Flooded Basement, Repairing and Sealing a Basement, Storm Shelter, Home Addition

What should be included:
  • Constructing an unfinished basement typically includes excavation, footings, walls, a concrete slab floor, utilities, waterproofing, drain tile, back fill and cleanup. A finished basement typically includes all of that plus flooring, walls, ceilings, drywall, windows, and additional waterproofing and more in order to provide the desired living space. Overall, a basement adds about 3-4 weeks to the new-house construction schedule. A video[3] illustrates the excavation process.
  • In some areas a basement is not feasible because of a high water table or unusual soil conditions (particularly in coastal or marshy areas, or in many parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas); the cost of excavating through solid rock; or because there is frequent earthquake activity.
  • In colder parts of the country, a home's foundation must be below the frost line, which can require digging down several feet (typically about 2.5'-5', depending on location). In those areas, adding a basement during new house construction may require only a few more feet of digging to create a usable basement area. In warmer climates where the foundation does not have to be as deep (typically 18"-20" for a crawlspace or a few inches for a slab foundation), including a basement adds more to the total cost of the house because it requires a lot more additional excavation, far beyond what would be done without a basement.
  • Adding a basement to an existing house requires: building permits and engineering plans; raising and supporting the house; excavating the basement space (and hauling away the dirt); re-grading and creating new drainage; and pouring concrete footers, floors and walls. A video[4] illustrates the process using a skid loader.
Shopping for a basement:
  • For new home construction, work with the architect to include a basement in the house design and blueprints.
  • For a remodeling project that includes adding a basement (either under the existing home or as part of an addition being built), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry offers tips for choosing a contractor[5] , as well as a searchable database[6] of its members.
  • If possible, get several estimates. Request and check references from previous customers. Verify that the company is properly insured, bonded and licensed[7] ; search for any complaints with the Better Business Bureau[8] . Request a written contract or agreement that specifies the work to be done and the rates to be charged.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.bobvila.com/posts/11076-cost-effective-to-add-basement?page=1
  2.  www.klierstructuralmovers.com/basementaddsunderhouse.html
  3.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcs2LK8oEhs
  4.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRkKqHRH43I
  5.  www.nari.org/pdf/selectremodpro.pdf
  6.  www.nari.org/search/address/
  7.  www.contractors-license.org/
  8.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
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