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Published July 26, 2023
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What Does It Cost to Finish a Basement in Canada? 

The cost of finishing a basement can add up quickly, but it could be worth it to gain usable space and add to your home’s value.

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The cost of finishing a basement can be significant, but it can be worth it to transform an underused space into a livable, potentially income-generating one. A remodel can also add to your home’s overall value, which will be important when it comes time to sell.

Whether you need an extra bedroom, home office, gym or self-contained suite you can rent out, here’s what you need to know about finishing your basement:

How much does it cost to finish a basement in Canada?

Remodeling costs can vary dramatically based on factors such as your location, materials and basement square footage. It’s a good idea to get quotes from a few contractors in your area to get a better idea of your potential project cost. That said, the table below will give you an idea of the average cost of work involved in a basement remodel:

ItemCost
Egress window$2,600 to $4,000.
Framing$5 to $10 per square foot.
Drywall$2 to $8 per square foot.
Electrical$2,500 to $10,000.
Plumbing$2,500 to $35,000.
Foundation pouring or repairing$5,000 to $25,000+.
Sealing and waterproofing$1,000 to $40,000.

Price ranges reflect estimates sourced from sites like Harmony Basements[1], Alpine Credits[2], Capable Group Inc.[3], and HomeStars[4]. Your basement finishing costs may vary.

Factors that affect the cost of finishing a basement

Simply put, the cost of your remodel will be determined by two things: what your basement looks like now and what you want it to look like in the future. 

Size and condition of basement

The size of your basement is a key factor when estimating the cost to finish it. Larger basements will require more materials, labour and time to complete. 

Additionally, the condition of your basement will affect your expenses. If your basement has issues like moisture, mould, structural impairments or poor insulation, you’ll likely need to increase your budget. Conversely, if your basement is partially finished or has existing framing, you may be able to save a bit on some aspects of the project. 

Level of finish

As with any project, the materials you pick will affect your budget. If you go with more basic finishes in your basement, such as standard lighting fixtures and a simple flooring option like poured concrete or carpet, you can save a significant amount of money. However, you may not get as much longevity out of those materials. On the other hand, things like custom cabinetry, engineered wood flooring and premium lighting may look better and last longer, but will be far more expensive.

Basement finishing costs to consider

Plumbing and electrical

Because plumbing and electrical work require the services of a licensed professional, they can be some of the most costly aspects of a basement remodel. But think twice before cutting corners. Mistakes could result in flooding, fires or other damage.

Building permits

Most municipalities in Canada require you to get a building permit when you undertake remodels or significant renovations on your home. Luckily, permits tend to be relatively affordable, typically ranging from $1,200 to $2,000. However, some municipalities base permit fees on the square footage of the basement or the value of the project.

Inspections

Municipalities typically require inspections at key stages of your basement-finishing project, such as after framing and plumbing rough-in, as well as at completion. These inspections ensure that the work meets building code standards. Work that doesn’t meet guidelines will need to be redone and then re-inspected, which will come with fees. Incomplete or low-quality work could also lead to damage that requires expensive repairs later on.

Access to the outdoors

The National Building Code of Canada has specific rules about means of egress from your basement, such as doors and windows, that allow people to escape in case of an emergency like a fire. Requirements vary based on whether your finished basement includes bedrooms, but you’ll need at least one window that meets specific criteria for size, opening mechanism and more. 

Benefits of finishing a basement

There are multiple reasons finishing your basement could be worth the cost and is worth considering.

More living space

While an unfinished basement might be useful for storage or as a workshop, finishing your basement may offer more functional square footage that better suits your needs. Possibilities for the space include an extra bedroom, a home office, a playroom for young children, a wet bar, a home gym or even an in-law suite for hosting friends and family. 

Potential income

If you create a self-contained apartment, you can rent it out. Over time, your rental suite could recoup the cost of finishing the basement or even bring in more than you put into remodeling the space. 

Increased home value

In addition to comfort and enjoyment, which are valuable in their own right, a finished basement may increase your home’s assessed value. Extra usable square footage may be appealing to prospective buyers when it’s time to sell. A self-contained suite in particular is attractive, as it means potential passive income for the buyer.

Energy efficiency

If your basement-finishing project includes upgrades like better insulation and energy-efficient appliances — such as water heaters, washers and dryers — you can increase your home’s overall energy efficiency. Not only does this mean a smaller carbon footprint, but it also means that you can save money on utilities — and you may be able to score a Greener Homes Grant to help cover the cost. 

Frequently asked questions about finishing a basement

Does finishing a basement add value to your house?

Although some housing experts say the additional usable square footage is an excellent way to add value, others point out that a lot depends on the specific basement in question — and your local real estate market. Finishing a basement with tall ceilings and lots of natural light may offer a much higher return on your investment than a dim basement in an older home with lower ceilings, smaller windows and poor temperature control. 

If you’re planning to stay in the home for a long time, it may make sense to finish the basement to meet your own needs. However, if you’re planning to sell in the near future, you may wish to consult with a local real estate agent or appraiser to get a better idea of how to finish the basement to maximize the added value.

What’s the most expensive part of finishing a basement?

Waterproofing and plumbing are often among the most expensive parts of a basement remodel. 

Waterproofing can be expensive because basements may have issues with moisture, and it takes a lot of work to prevent water seepage, leaks and dampness. This portion of the project can become even more expensive if exterior waterproofing is needed. For work like that, your contractor will typically need to use heavy machinery to excavate around the house’s foundation and apply waterproof coatings. They may also have to install drainage and water diversion systems. 

Plumbing is often expensive because it requires the work of a licensed and specialized professional. And as you may have seen on home renovation shows, the initial work to finish a basement can reveal plumbing issues like blocked drains or cross-connections that need to be addressed. If your home is older, it may also have galvanized pipes, which might need to be replaced. 

Article Sources

Works Cited
  1. Harmony Basements, “HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO RENOVATE A BASEMENT,” accessed July 26, 2023.
  2. Alpine Credits, “Basement renovation costs: A comprehensive look,” accessed July 26, 2023.
  3. Capable Group, “Average Cost Of Finished Basement,” accessed July 26, 2023.
  4. HomeStars, “Basement Renovation Cost Guide For Toronto,” accessed July 26, 2023.

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