Cost of Converting a Basement

A guide of the process of hiring a tradesman to convert a basement, including the costs of labour and materials.

2-4 weeks
Avg price:


If you want to instantly increase your home’s value, convert the basement to usable/livable space. Make it a game-room, use it as a guest-room, or make it the man cave/bar you’ve always dreamt of having inside your home.

Okay, these projects are all fun in theory, but require a little more (financially/time) to complete. So, let’s take a look at what will go into converting a basement into usable space if it is simply collecting dust, or storing old coats that don’t fit anyone in your home anymore.

Initially, a survey of the basement has to be conducted. Is the ground level? Does it have running water, plumbing, lighting, etc., in place? Is it legal to be used as a room (zoning)?

Upon discussing these issues with a contractor, you are ready to start the development, design, and ultimately construction, when converting the basement area. So, decide how you will utilise the space.

What the job entails

A guest bedroom is a great idea; but, so is that dream bar/mancave, you’ve always wanted. Consider your family size, and whether or not you have guests visiting frequently. If you do, it might be time to design a guest bedroom space, which will be inviting for any visitor.

At this point you must also consider if the space requires heating and cooling, running water, plumbing, internet, cable, etc. Because the intended use of the space will dictate how much work is required, all of these aspects must be taken into consideration when designing, and ultimately building the basement, and converting it into a usable space.

Other Projects

Now is a good time to add a bathroom to the basement, or install washer and dryer hookups. Since construction is about to take place, you might as well do everything at once. You can typically finance the project, and when you do all of the work with one contractor, you will pay a lower price for the completion of the conversion as well.

If you need to do leveling/foundation work, fix the siding, fix the walls, or if there is a faint smell of mould in the area, take care of all of these tasks before you start any conversion/construction. Doing so will eliminate the need for tearing down and rebuilding in the future. It will take less time, cost less money, and will be far less of a headache for you in the future, since you know the space is safe for guests, regardless of the way you intend on using the converted basement space.

Painting, new décor, furniture, and other items you want to add to the converted basement, should be considered and purchased at this point in time as well. Why not do everything at once? It is easier, you can use the space immediately, and, there’s no looking back/room for regret, once you see the completed space, and realise just how much you’ve increased your home’s value by adding the converted space to it.

Potential Problems

Nothing in life ever goes by perfectly, right? So, why would this project? There are possible setbacks you should account for. If installing HVAC, water, gas, or another wiring, consider the potential for delays, and increased costs. If additional drilling, tearing down, or new installations are required, it will setback/delay the project, and will end up costing you more money.

If there are problems with the foundation/leveling, this is another major setback. This is a major concern in older homes. So, hope for the best, but brace yourself, as there might be the additional cost of having to level the home, or perform work to the base/foundation, prior to being able to commence the conversion project with the basement.

Licensing or permit issues might arise. If they are required for the project, cities/towns might delay the processing, or require additional costs, prior to the contractor being able to gain clearance to perform any conversion work. If you need this work done in a time-sensitive manner, make sure you begin early, and expect delays, as they typically occur with projects of this nature.

As a homeowner, you always have to account for additional budget concerns as well. If you don’t have enough set-aside, or if issues arise, this typically comes with higher costs. If you aren’t ready or don’t have the funds available, contractors will stop work, until you pay them. So, keep this additional financial implication in mind, with major conversion projects.