Example picture of a refinished basement

The Cost to Finish a Basement in Wisconsin 2021

While many homes in Wisconsin have basements, many do not have finished basements featuring actual living space below ground. Finishing your basement can improve the value of your house while also giving your family additional living space for gathering, playing, spending time and entertaining. 

Every basement finishing project is different, but knowing the cost to finish a basement in Wisconsin can help you decide if this useful home improvement project is in your budget. 

Why Finish Your Wisconsin Basement?

When you're considering the cost to finish your Wisconsin basement, keep in mind the benefits that make this home improvement project worthwhile. 

  • Return on investment. Expect to enjoy about a 75% return on investment when you finish your basement. If you're planning to sell your home in the next few years, you'll be able to recover your costs and enjoy your home improvement in the meantime. 
  • More living space. Want to keep your kids close, but not too close? Once you finish your basement, you’ll be able to send them to the basement family room, where they’ll be out of sight but still home and safe.
  • No need to move. If you’re struggling to find space in your house and considering a relocation, finishing your basement can bypass the need to move. You can stay home and enjoy more space at the same time. 

Basement Finishing Costs

The costs listed below are a good starting point when trying to determine how much you’ll have to spend to finish your basement. If you’re serious about finishing your basement, get a quote from a qualified, reputable contractor.

Overall Cost to Finish a Basement

Expect to pay between $60 and $120 per square foot to finish your existing basement. The price will be totally dependent upon the scope of work, amenities and features being installed, and how dry your basement is before it's finished. Factors that will impact the cost of your project:

  • Bathroom or kitchenette installation. Plumbing fixture installation has a way of increasing costs.
  • Bedroom installation. Bedrooms have special code requirements that could require dramatic changes to your basement space - like installation of egress windows.
  • Existing home drainage.Does your basement flood regularly? If so, your contractor may need to make dramatic changes to your existing drainage system, which can increase costs.

Costs to Consider

Some costs are unavoidable when you’re finishing a basement. Below are some examples. Your contractor will go over the costs with you during the consultation, before you sign a contract.

Contractor fee – Expect to pay a fixed contractor fee for services, labor, design and overhead costs. Every contractor charges different rates.

Permits – Basement finishing projects require a permit. Permitting fees vary depending on the scope of the project, with some projects requiring more visits from the permitting officer. Getting a permit is important – don’t work with a contractor who is willing to bypass permitting requirements to do the work. Unpermitted work can devalue your home and make it difficult to sell. A typical permitting fee in Wisconsin is around $500.

HVAC – Climate control helps reduce humidity in the air and keep your basement comfortable year-round. Depending on the state of your basement and the type of heat in your home, your contractor may suggest installing baseboard heating and a built-in dehumidifier to reduce moisture in summer. 

Lighting – Most basements are naturally dark places with little exposure to natural light. Work with your contractor to install lighting that will make your basement a pleasant space to spend time. This might involve a combination of natural lighting from egress windows and artificial recessed lighting.

Allowances – The allowances on any contractor design project are the variable costs for fixtures like a vanity, sink, etc. Allowances start off as estimated costs, which allows you to estimate how much your home upgrade will cost. Once you’ve selected fixtures, you’ll have a firmer idea about the costs.

Lumber – The average cost to frame a basement is about $1 per square foot, but lumber prices are high in 2021. Expect to pay about $2.50 per square foot of wall space installed.

Ways to Save

If saving money is important to you, there are opportunities to save money in your basement finishing project. Overall, limiting the scope of your project can help - as long as you can still meet your remodeling goals by saving. These tips can help.

  • Know your goals. Make a list of goals for your upcoming basement finishing project, to help keep the scope of your project under control.
  • Know your must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Make a list of the things that your basement finishing project must include – and those things that don't need to be included to accomplish your goals.
  • Plan ahead. Last-minute plans are more expensive than well-laid plans. Among other things, planning ahead gives you time to shop around and price compare, and gives you time to choose the best materials and fixtures for your home improvement.
  • Avoid last-minute changes. Last-minute changes may require your contractor to undo work that has already been done, which could cost you more than if you had decided to include that fixture from the very beginning.

Basement Finishing Tips

These tips can help you make your basement finishing project a success.

Work with Contractor to Plan Layout

You might have an idea about the layout of your basement finishing project, but your contractor will have some pro-tips that can mean the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary finished basement.

  • Put living spaces in good areas with natural lighting. Install living spaces like a family room on the side of your home that gets the best exposure to natural lighting, then install one or more egress windows to ensure good lighting.
  • Install a bathroom for convenience and value. Adding a bathroom in your basement makes the space more convenient and also improves your home’s value – especially if your home only has one bathroom at this time.
  • Don’t forget storage. Basements provide valuable storage space – so don’t forget to build storage spaces into your finished basement. Your contractor can help you evaluate your storage needs and add storage space that’s functional and practical for your needs.

Hire the Right Contractor

As you’re vetting contractors, you may encounter low-cost contractors that underbid the competition. It can be tempting to hire a contractor that offers to do the work for a low cost, but often this results in shoddy work and may require repair shortly after the work is complete. Don’t let this happen to you!

For quality basement finishing and custom home building in Wisconsin, contact Sugar Creek Homes. With nearly 20 years in the business, we perform high-value home building and basement finishing in Verona, WI, and the surrounding area. 



Sugar Creek Homes, LLC

237 Ridge View Trail  Verona, WI 53593

608.658.1127   |   EMAIL ME

Hours: 6am – 9pm Mon-Fri; Weekends by Appt

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