Great question! Luckily, with dozens of basements completed in recent years we can help provide some answers.

These 3 topics will be discussed:

1) Finished basement pricing around the nation.

2) What to consider when finishing your basement.

3) Two real examples of basements that were finished, with real numbers!


While national averages are between $25-50 per square foot, there are areas in the country as high $150 per square foot to finish a basement! Long Island averages would fall somewhere between the $50 and $150 costs. So, a 1000 square foot basement would be somewhere between $50,000 and $150,000. The natural question to such a statement would be “why is there such a big variable?” I’m glad you asked. Let’s go through a couple of real examples and learn. Before this happens let’s discuss some key points that need to be considered when finishing your basement.


First, you need to ask yourself, “Why do I want to finish my basement?”. Do you need more space for the kids to play? Are you looking for the man cave that you saw on Instagram? Or maybe you are looking for a place to put your in-laws when they come and visit. The next question is, “Is my space to “code”? When you add living space in a basement, it must meet egress requirements. Egress simply means, the action of getting out of or leaving a place. Creating an egress entrance can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $12,000 to do!


Example #1: 1,510 square feet, complete gut and remodel included the following:

  • Room set up for future bedroom (they already had egress!)
  • Hi-hat lighting throughout
  • All tile floors
  • Fixed cracks in foundation
  • Full bathroom with shower
  • Kitchenette
  • Game room area
  • Closets for storage
  • Living room area with wall mounted television

The $ per square foot number for this project came in at $72 (this number includes profit and overhead). Just to be clear, this total includes all aspects of construction except the following:

  • Tile material
  • Purchase of plumbing fixtures (toilet, sink)

Note that to gut the existing partially finished basement (~$4,000) and fix cracks in the foundation (~$3,000) are part of this number. A cost savings option is to do vinyl or laminate flooring instead of tile. Tile can cost $8-$12 per square foot to install (homeowner supplied) whereas vinyl flooring cost between $4-$6 to install and material is typically less than tile too. That can save thousands of dollars!

Just to make the project “All-in”, I will put rough allowance numbers to the items above. If we allow $5 sqft for tile (approximately 1,400 sqft = $7,000) and $3,000 for all plumbing fixtures the “all-in” number is about $78 per square foot. If you are unclear on how to calculate the total cost using the square foot numbers provided, see our How Much Will It Cost to Dormer And Put An Addition On My House In Long Island blog post.

Example #2: A 3,675 square foot luxury basement finished with extensive millwork and ample amenities including:

  • Home theater with movie lobby
  • Gym
  • Entertainment room with bar
  • Arcade/recreation room
  • Wine room with separate tasting table
  • Large walk-in closet
  • Pool/changing room
  • Full bathroom with shower
  • Laundry room
  • Solid wood doors
  • Ample storage

The $ per square foot number for this project came in at $95 (this number includes profit and overhead). Just to be clear, this total includes all aspects of construction except the following:

  • Tile material
  • Purchase of plumbing fixtures (toilet, sink)
  • Custom bar

While there are ways to save in this basement, you need to consider the level of luxury in the house when doing a project like this. This house is finished with beautiful trim details, high end cabinetry in the kitchen/bathrooms, and a landscape that looks like it’s from a magazine. In this case, going all out in the basement fit the house. Even so, there are areas to save. Reducing custom Interior trim work is one area where homeowners can save thousands! The cost in this example included ship lap on the walls, solid wood doors, and custom interior trim details. And of course, cutting out amenities that you can live without. Adding a golf simulator may require digging down to make the ceiling height higher, and can add thousands (in some cases tens of thousands) to the bill!


It is important to be transparent with you architect and contractor of choice so there are no surprises. Be upfront with your budget! To finish a basement on Long Island typically will cost you somewhere between $50 and $150 a square foot. So, be prepared to spend somewhere between $50,000 and $150,000 on a 1,000 square foot basement. Consider your home décor and if you want to carry that look downstairs. When it comes to savings, look for options that won’t jeopardize what you need, such as substituting vinyl or laminate for tile on the floor or reducing the interior trim details. And if you’re splurging, but still looking to save a little, consider the amenities you can live without.

© My Boys Contracting.