How Much Does It Cost to Frame a Basement? (2023) (2023)

How Much Does It Cost to Frame a Basement? (2023) (1)

Written by

Kristen Cramer

Fact-checked by

Tom Grupa

Cost to frame a basement

The cost to frame a basement is $18 to $24 per linear foot installed. Framing basement walls costs $2,300 to $6,000 on average for a 1,000-square-foot basement, depending on the layout. The cost to frame and drywall a basement is $3.70 to $6.50 per square foot of wall surface.

Cost to frame a basement
Square feet of wall surfaceAverage cost (framing only)Average cost (framing & drywall)
500$1,100 – $1,500$1,900 – $3,300
800$1,700 – $2,400$3,000 – $5,200
1,000$2,200 – $3,000$3,700 – $6,500
1,200$2,600 – $3,600$4,400 – $7,800
1,500$3,300 – $4,500$5,600 – $9,800
2,000$4,400 – $6,000$7,400 – $13,000
2,500$5,500 – $7,500$9,300 – $16,300
3,000$6,600 – $9,000$11,100 – $19,500

Cost to frame a basement

(Video) How much does it cost to finish a basement (Updated for 2022)

Basement framing costs $18 to $24 per linear foot installed, depending on the wall height, stud spacing, and number of doors or windows to frame around. Framing the walls and installing drywall costs $32 to $56 per linear foot.

Basement framing cost per linear foot
Factor Cost per linear foot installed*
Wall framing only $18 – $24
Wall framing and drywall $32 – $56

*For 9' tall basement walls.

Cost to frame and build basement walls

The cost to frame basement walls is $180 to $240 without drywall or $300 to $500 with drywall per each 10' wall length. In comparison, building a wall costs $1,000 to $5,000 in the home's main interior living space.

Cost to frame basement walls
Linear feet Framing only Framing & drywall*
10' $180 – $240 $300 – $550
20' $360 – $480 $600 – $1,100
30' $540 – $720 $900 – $1,650
40' $720 – $960 $1,200 – $2,200
50' $900 – $1,200 $1,500 – $2,750

*For 9' tall basement walls.

The following factors affect the cost to frame basement walls:

  • Open floorplan or multiple rooms – Framing a basement with multiple rooms costs more and takes longer than a basement with an open floorplan.

  • Windows and doors – Labor costs increase for basements with multiple windows and doors, which require horizontal studs that take additional time to measure, cut, and install.

  • Wall height – Material costs increase when framing walls taller than 8'. Labor costs often remain the same for 8' and 9' walls but may increase for walls taller than 10' due to the extra ladders and equipment required.

  • Lumber prices – 2" x 4" lumber is the standard for basement framing. Total material costs for the project fluctuate with the cost of lumber.

  • PermitsBuilding permits cost $100 to $500 to framing basement walls, depending on the location.

    (Video) Finished Basement cost in 2022 - What you need to know.

  • WaterproofingBasement waterproofing costs $3 to $9 per square foot. Consider waterproofing the exterior walls before framing or finishing the basement.

  • Foundation repairsFoundation repairs cost $250 to $800 per crack or $2,500 to $5,000 on average to fix leaks. Repair any leaks before framing basement walls or hanging drywall, as leaks will be more difficult to find after walls are installed.

How Much Does It Cost to Frame a Basement? (2023) (2)

Labor cost to frame a basement

The labor cost to frame a basement is $6 to $9 per linear foot or $0.70 to $1.30 per square foot of wall area. Labor makes up 40% to 50% of the total project cost.

Labor cost to frame a basement
Factor Cost per linear foot Cost per square foot of wall area
Framing labor $6 – $9 $0.70 – $1.30
Wood, supplies, and tools $12 – $15 $1.50 – $1.70
Total cost $18 – $24 $2.20 – $3.00

Cost to frame and drywall a basement

The cost to frame and drywall a basement is $3.70 to $6.50 per square foot of wall surface, including labor and materials. Framing alone makes up $2.20 to $3.00 per square foot of the cost.

Cost to frame and drywall a basement
Project type Average cost installed (per square foot of wall surface)
Framing only $2.20 to $3.00
Framing and drywall $3.70 to $6.50
Framing, drywall, and painting $4.70 to $9.50
  • Drywall installation costs $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot of wall surface, depending on the drywall type and finish level. Framing contractors recommend installing mold-resistant or moisture-resistant drywall in basements.

  • The cost to texture drywall is $0.80 to $2.00 per square foot of wall surface.

  • Interior painting costs $1 to $3 per square foot of wall surface.

Basement finishing

The cost to finish a basement is $30 to $50 per square foot or $15,000 to $75,000 on average. Finishing a basement typically includes framing, drywall, insulation, lighting, wiring, plumbing, flooring, an HVAC system, and egress windows. Basement finishing costs increase when adding a kitchen or bathroom.

How Much Does It Cost to Frame a Basement? (2023) (3)

DIY cost to frame a basement

The cost to frame a basement yourself is $12 to $15 per linear foot for materials and supplies. Framing a basement DIY requires 2 "x 4" lumber, framing nails and screws, and the following tools and equipment:

  • Tape measure

  • 6' level

  • Utility knife

    (Video) How much does it cost to finish a basement in 2023? (What you should know)

  • Chalk line

  • Caulk gun

  • Hammer

  • Hammer drill

  • Drill/driver with masonry bit

  • Circular saw

  • Safety equipment (glasses, dust mask, gloves, and ear protection)

  • Nail gun and air compressor (optional)

Frequently asked questions

Do you have to frame basement walls?

You do not have to frame basement walls for an unfinished basement. Walls in a finished basement require wood or metal framing before hanging drywall, paneling, or another wall covering.

Do I need a vapor barrier in my basement?

No, you do not need an interior vapor barrier in a finished basement. A vapor barrier installed on interior walls traps humidity between the foundation walls and the insulated drywall, resulting in mold and mildew. Waterproofing the exterior walls before framing is a better option for finished basements.

How long does it take to frame a basement?

Framing a basement takes 3 to 5 days on average, depending on if the floorplan is open or divided into multiple rooms requiring interior walls.

Can I frame my basement without a permit?

No, you cannot frame a basement without a permit. A basement remodeling project requires a building permit when adding new walls.

How much lumber to frame a basement?

Framing a basement requires enough 2 "x 4" studs to set one stud every 12" to 16", or roughly 8 to 10 studs for each 10-foot length of wall. Framing a basement with an open floorplan requires less lumber than framing a basement with a layout divided into multiple rooms.

  • The ideal stud length depends on the desired ceiling height. Before purchasing lumber, measure your basement from the floor to the underside of the ceiling joists. Reduce the length by 3" to account for the top and bottom plates.

  • Use pressure-treated wood to frame the bottom plate where the studs meet the floor.

Getting estimates and hiring basement framing contractors

Before hiring a basement framing contractor, be sure to:

(Video) DIY Basement Wall Framing (How to Finish a Basement Ep. 2)

  • Get three in-person estimates to compare.

  • Look for framing contractors who are members of the Residential Framing Contractors' Association (RFCA), National Framers Council (NCF), or the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC).

  • Read their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Select licensed, insured, bonded companies that have been in business 5+ years.

  • Ask for references and browse their portfolio of similar completed projects.

  • Get a detailed estimate, warranty, and contract in writing before the project begins.

  • Confirm whether the cost is quoted per linear foot or per square foot.

  • Avoid making large payments up front. Negotiate a payment schedule for work completed.

Questions to ask

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

  • How long have you been in business?

  • Are you a member of the RFCA, NFC, UBC, or other framing organizations?

  • Can you provide references?

  • Will you handle the project yourself or subcontract it?

  • What type of lumber does the estimate include?

  • Will you set the studs at 12" or 16", and why?

  • Does the estimate include drywall installation?

    (Video) How to Frame a Basement YOURSELF | Complete Guide

  • What additional costs should I expect?

  • How long will the project take?

  • Does my basement require waterproofing before you frame the walls?


How Much Does It Cost to Frame a Basement? (2023)? ›

It costs an average of $1,200 to frame a basement, which includes installing drywall and insulation. Most homeowners spend between $500 and $1,600 on the project.

How do you calculate basement framing? ›

Number of studs needed = (Wall Width / On-Center Spacing)+ 1

For example, if your wall is 10' wide and distance between your studs is 16", the formula would be (10/1.33)+1, or (120/16)+1. Since your width is in feet and your spacing is in inches, you'll need to convert one of them into the same measurement.

What is the most expensive part of finishing a basement? ›

Floors. Believe it or not, floors are often the most expensive thing that goes into your finished basement. Part of that stems from the fact that the poured concrete in most basements isn't installed with a finished basement in mind. That means that the current floor may require leveling before any other work gets done ...

How much did you spend to finish a basement? ›

Plus, while you own the home, you can use the finished basement as a living space. On average, you can expect to pay between $4,700 and $41,000 to finish a basement, for an average of $22,850.
How Much Does It Cost To Finish A Basement In 2023?
Average Cost to Finish a Basement
Average Cost$22,850
Highest Cost$41,000
Lowest Cost$4,700
Jan 30, 2023

How long does it take to frame a basement? ›

Framing typically takes anywhere from 3 to 5 days. Once the framing is complete, the rough work for electrical, plumbing and HVAC can begin. The electricians will rough in the lighting and other electrical components such as the outlet boxes and switches. They will also run electrical wire to the box locations.

How do I estimate the cost of framing? ›

Framing options for the plates and studs include wood and metal. Wood prices are about $1 to $5 per square foot while metal framing is about $2 to $4 per square foot.

What are the estimates for framing? ›

While residential framing costs range between $7 - $16 per square foot, commercial framing is more expensive. The average commercial framing job ranges from $12 to $40 per square foot.

Is finishing a basement worth the money? ›

Many people wonder if finishing their basement is worth the time, effort, and money to remodel their downstairs space. To answer that directly, yes, finishing your basement will almost always increase the value of your property. The standard return is around 70%, according to

How to finish basement super cheap? ›

Here are 11 project ideas that will make your basement livable on a budget:
  1. Improve part of the basement.
  2. Paint the ceiling and walls.
  3. Incorporate an accent wall or ceiling.
  4. Add new lighting.
  5. Include storage options.
  6. Customize your staircase.
  7. Get creative with flooring.
  8. Break up open areas with furniture or dividers.
Jan 9, 2023

Is a finished basement cheaper than a second story? ›

Generally speaking, building up tends to be less expensive than a basement. That said, not too long ago, lumber was at an all-time high and basements were the better option. Check with your builder and they can advise you on the pros, cons, and cost of each.

What type of insulation is best for basement walls? ›

Often, the best insulation for basement walls in terms of moisture resistance, cost, quality, and ease of installation is rigid foam board insulation. It comes in sheets that are easy to measure, cut, and install. The material is also water-resistant, so it's less likely to retain moisture.

Can you finish a basement yourself? ›

If you have extensive DIY experience and can do the job safely, it may be worth finishing the basement yourself. But if you have a packed schedule that leaves you with little time to break out the tools and hardware, hiring a pro is the way to go. It's also safer to hire a contractor to manage the project.

What is the difference between partially finished and unfinished basement? ›

The main difference between a partially finished basement and a finished and unfinished basement is that it is entirely unmodified. You may find furniture, gym equipment or recreational appliances in a partially finished basement.

What comes first when finishing a basement? ›

Many unfinished basements have simple concrete walls. To finish them, you'll need to first insulate, then frame, and then finish up with drywall.

What takes the longest when finishing a basement? ›

What takes the longest when finishing a basement? Adding the drywall is typically the part of a basement remodel that takes the longest. This part of the project will usually take around five days to complete.

How far apart should basement framing be? ›

The vast majority of walls are framed 16″ on center (O.C.), meaning that the center of each wall stud is spaced 16″ from the center of the adjacent stud. Some walls are framed 24″ O.C., but 16″ O.C is by far the most common. Walls are typically framed 16″ On Center (O.C.)

What is framing so expensive? ›

One of the key factors that contributes to the cost of framing is the use of high-quality materials. A quality frame requires top-notch materials such as solid wood, acid-free mat boards, and UV-resistant glass or acrylic to ensure that your artwork or photo is protected from damage over time.

How much should I charge to frame? ›

For context, framing an entire home costs between $7 and $16 per square foot, while framing an addition to a home ranges from $6 to $10 per square foot. Framing interior walls costs more than framing exterior walls and ranges from $7 to $12 per square foot.

What's the most expensive part of building a house? ›

Framing. Perhaps the most expensive part when it comes to building a home is the framing, which consists of wooden beams that make up the home's skeleton. Forbes states that high-quality lumber averages about $33,000 for a home in the United States. Metal stud framing systems begin around $20,000.

How much wood do I need for a 2000 square foot house? ›

To keep it simple and stick to a good average, say that 6.3 board feet are required for every square foot of house. So, a 1,000 square foot home would need 6,300 board feet to complete, while 12,600 board feet would be necessary for a 2,000 square foot home.

How do you estimate drywall and framing? ›

Multiply the length times the ceiling height to determine wall area.
  1. Measure the length of the wall.
  2. Make sure the length is in inches.
  3. Divide the length by the "on-center" spacing (in inches) and round to the next whole number.
  4. Add one.

How many 2x4 do I need for 1000 square feet? ›

1000 square foot, for a square house would have 4 walls 32 feet long. With studs Sixteen inches ion center it would take 24 studs plus the beginning stud. So 25 studs per wall times 4 is 100 studs.

Why are basements left unfinished? ›

New homeowners have their financial limits when it comes to adding any “nice-to-haves”. This may be a reason why basements are often left unfinished. Yet homebuyers have many reasons to extend that extra money to finish this often-neglected part of the home.

What is considered an unfinished basement? ›

If the walls are just painted concrete and there's no drywall, it's unfinished. Or if the ceiling has exposed beams or poles, then the basement is also deemed incomplete.

How do you plan a basement finish? ›

  1. Step 1 Decide How You Want to Use Your Basement. ...
  2. Step 2 Draft a Detailed Basement Floor Plan. ...
  3. Step 3 Look for Signs of Moisture in Your Basement. ...
  4. Step 4 Do a Basement Inspection. ...
  5. Step 5 Consider Your Electrical and Plumbing Needs. ...
  6. Step 6 Choose Your Basement Insulation. ...
  7. Step 7 Frame Walls & Choose Your Basement Drywall.

What is the cheapest material to finish a basement? ›

Ways to save on finished basement walls

If you're wondering if paneling or drywall is the cheaper finishing option, generally speaking, drywall is cheaper than paneling. This is because it requires less attention to detail and finish work during the installation process.

Which is the cheapest basement waterproofing method? ›

Acrylic waterproofing is usually the most affordable type of sealant and costs, on average, $2 per square foot. Silicate is another sealant option but can be more expensive, averaging $5 per square foot.

Is it cheaper to build up or out? ›

In general, building up tends to be less costly than building out. When you factor in things like digging and pouring a new foundation, building out typically carries a higher price tag (though this isn't always true, and certainly depends on the size of the room and its purpose).

Is it cheaper to dig down or build up? ›

Building up is always the least expensive option for increasing your home's square-footage because it requires less material and labor. For example, if you have 1,000 sq. feet on the main level and want to add 1,000 sq. feet as a second floor, all you have to do is add more wood and framing labor.

What is a bump out addition? ›

A bump-out is a minor addition to a house that increases its total square footage but doesn't reach the scale of a full addition with multiple rooms. A bump-out can be as small as two or three feet that push out the side of the house, or as large as a single room.

What is the best basement insulation to prevent mold? ›

Spray foam creates an air barrier that will seal up your basement to stop the outside air from getting in. Basement Spray Foam Insulation Pros: Spray foam insulation doesn't retain water, so it also doesn't promote mold or mildew growth.

Should basement walls be insulated to the floor? ›

Basements should be insulated on their perimeters—they should not be insulated between floors.

Is it OK to not insulate basement walls? ›

Because of the risk of mold and other moisture problems, the insulation of interior basement walls is very challeng- ing to do properly. Unless basements have a very low risk of moisture potential, it is better to leave the walls unin- sulated on the interior to allow drying and reduce mold and mildew issues.

How long does it take for one person to finish a basement? ›

The first step you should take is finding a contractor. A contractor can help give you the most accurate timeline of your finished basement project. An average custom finished basement project usually ranges anywhere from 12-16 weeks. The plans for your specific basement remodel could be reflected in the timeline.

How can I cover my basement walls cheaply? ›

Fortunately, you can cover basement foundation walls quickly and inexpensively. Attach wood furring strips, Z-shape channels, or 2x4 studs to flat, dry masonry walls, then add insulation and cover the strips or studs with drywall.

Is it OK to live in an unfinished basement? ›

Assuming it's not rendered unlivable by conditions like mold-infestation or regular flooding, an unfinished basement can be turned into useful living space without the time and expense involved in actually finishing it. In fact basements are well-suited to much more than storage, and can be converted to: Home gyms.

Are unfinished basements cold? ›

Unfinished basements can often be quite cold spaces during the winter. A lack of insulation means heat escapes through the walls and floor.

How do you finish a basement without finishing it? ›

7 tricks to update an unfinished basement on a budget
  1. Instead of finishing the floor, paint it. ...
  2. Instead of finishing the walls, hang curtains or sheets to cover them. ...
  3. Instead of finishing the ceiling, spray-paint it. ...
  4. Instead of purchasing expensive light fixtures, buy a mix of plug-in floor and table lamps.
May 10, 2022

What is the hardest part of finishing a basement? ›

11 Basement Finishing Challenges and How to Overcome Them
  • Moisture Issues. It's a well-known fact that basements frequently have moisture problems and water issues. ...
  • Ceiling Heights/Low Ceilings. ...
  • Low-Hanging Pipes. ...
  • Egress Windows. ...
  • Support Columns. ...
  • Lighting. ...
  • Heating & Cooling. ...
  • Ugly Ducting.
Oct 18, 2022

What adds the most value when finishing a basement? ›

Create a Gathering Space for Families

A finished basement provides great space for a family room, game area, playroom, office, or hobby room. Simply creating dedicated space for families to be together can add value to your home with its increased square footage and perceived benefit.

What time of year is best to finish a basement? ›

Fall seems to be one of the best seasons to work on your finished basement. With fall comes amazing, cooler weather and rarely do you need to worry about, rain, snow, or extreme heat. Contractors are usually very busy in the summer months and tend to slow down during the fall.

How long does it take to frame basement? ›

Framing usually takes less than five days and is the first part of a basement remodeling project. A contractor will remove walls to reshape the room while also providing additional framing for necessary equipment, such as gas and water lines.

How do you tell if a basement can be finished? ›

But start by assessing your circumstances and making an action plan.
  1. Check the Foundation. Before starting any construction in your basement, assess the state of the foundation. ...
  2. Identify Code Violations. ...
  3. Eliminate Water Issues. ...
  4. Insulate Properly. ...
  5. Assess the Ceiling. ...
  6. Work Around the Essentials in Your Design.
Mar 20, 2017

How do I estimate framing a basement? ›

Most homeowners spend between $500 and $1,600 on the project. Basic framing without the drywall costs about $3 to $6 per linear foot typically, but you may need to add between $5 and $10 per linear foot to that price if you include the drywall.

How far off basement floor should drywall be hung? ›

Always leave a 1/2-inch gap at the floor. This allows for floor and wall expansion without cracking the drywall. It also helps prevents moisture wicking if the floor floods. Wear work gloves, safety goggles and a dust mask when hanging drywall.

How do I calculate studs for my basement? ›

Determine the number of studs needed by starting with a quick calculation for the general studs and adding studs for specific elements:
  1. Multiply the total wall length (in feet) by 0.75 (for 16-inch on-center stud spacing).
  2. Add three studs for each 90-degree corner.
  3. Add four studs for each 45-degree corner.
Nov 2, 2021

Do you calculate a finished basement in square footage? ›

If you have a finished basement, it should be considered part of the square footage of your home. The key word is “finished”. An unfinished basement is not ever going to be considered when calculating square footage.

Are basements factored into square footage? ›

To Fannie Mae and appraisers, a basement, even if finished with high-quality materials, cannot count as square footage. It doesn't matter how good your basement looks. This is important because it leads to a specific outcome: the basement will have less value to your home than your gross living area.

How far apart are studs in basement? ›

They're always spaced either 16 or 24 inches on center (measured from center to center) along the wall and run between the floor and ceiling. Drywall or lath (for plaster walls) attaches to the edge of the studs.

How do you estimate framing materials? ›

Calculating the studs

You can quickly calculate the number of studs you need by multiplying the wall's total length by 0.75, which is the accurate spacing for on-center studs. Add an additional three studs for every 90-degree corner, four for every 45-degree corner, and two for every intersecting wall.

Should I use 16 or 24 inch stud spacing for basement? ›

It takes minimal extra time to frame a wall with 16 inch centres, rather than 24, and would be much more time consuming and difficult to add extra framing later on.

How far apart are studs in old construction? ›

Studs in older homes are generally 16 to 24 inches apart. Check which side of your outlet is attached to the stud and measure off the next 16-24 inches to find the next one. You can use any of the above methods to ensure you've found the next stud on your wall.

What makes a basement considered finished? ›

A basement is finished when the entire level is complete and similar to the upstairs living areas. It generally includes an electrical system, heat, finished floors, an accessible entrance/stairway, level ceilings, and finished walls.

What is a good size finished basement? ›

The average size of a basement is usually between 500-1500 square feet with of 8 foot ceilings. The footprint of the basement can vary depending on the square footage of the main house.

Can I put a bedroom in my basement? ›

So, can you use your basement as a bedroom? In short, yes. You can use your basement as a bedroom, but you have to ensure that it complies with the proper building codes. Basement living spaces require an emergency exit and rescue openings, also known as an egress code.

Is it safe to live in a finished basement? ›

Many homes have basements that are finished and used as a living space. However, it is important to be aware that there are many hazards in basements. From dangerous gases to fire safety, asbestos risks, and issues with your furnace, you can put your loved ones in danger if you do not check these regularly.

What is a partially finished basement? ›

The main difference between a partially finished basement and a finished and unfinished basement is that it is entirely unmodified. You may find furniture, gym equipment or recreational appliances in a partially finished basement.

Is the basement always the same size as house? ›

A lot of people use their full basement for separate living quarters, a family room or rec room, a home gym, or in other ways that help them get more value from their home. Unlike a partial basement, a full basement foundation is always the same size as the main floor of the house and shares that footprint.

Can basement wall studs be 24 inches apart? ›

To summarize, studs at 24-inch spacing will save money and resources, and are safe. With 2x6s, it's a no-brainer for most residential construction—they're plenty strong in nearly any configuration. With 2x4 studs you can also get by with 24-inch spacing, but walls should be 9 feet tall or less and the loads modest.

How deep are walls between studs? ›

16-inch stud spacing is the industry standard for residential wall framing. The reason for this is structural but also because materials are made in 8ft and 16ft lengths.


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