How to Plan a Basement Remodel

How to Plan a Basement Remodel

If you want to give your family a place to retreat and unwind, consider adding a basement remodel bathroom. It’s a valuable upgrade and will boost your home’s value.

Be sure to obtain proper permits before you start construction. This includes plumbing, electrical and structural work. You may also need to replace ductwork.

Getting Started

A basement can be a valuable addition to the home. Families can turn them into everything from extra living quarters to high-end entertainment spaces that are sure to boost resale value. But it’s important to know where to start when it comes to a basement remodel.

The first step in a basement remodel is cleaning out all the stuff that’s been living there for years. That means enlisting the help of family members and hauling out the junk—which may include storage bins, boxes, and even furniture.

Once the mess is gone, you’re ready to get started on the actual construction of your basement. Start with framing, then add plumbing and electrical—it’s much easier to work on these aspects of the project before you hang the drywall. Make sure to add insulation, too—it’s far less expensive to do this during construction than afterward. It’s also crucial to obtain the proper permits before beginning your project. This is a good time to review safety protocols and invest in a tool belt, masks, gloves, and construction boots.


It’s important to understand the requirements and regulations that apply to basement remodeling. You’ll likely need to meet minimum floor-to-ceiling heights and provide a means of egress. This is where a licensed, local engineer comes in handy. They can help you plan your renovation and submit a design that meets all applicable codes and standards.

Once you have a general idea of what your basement renovation will look like, it’s time to start planning. Sketching out a rough layout with pen and paper can help you identify trouble spots and give your basement remodeling contractor an idea of what you’re envisioning.

A few upgrades can make a big difference in the usability of your basement. A home gym is a great addition that can add value to your property, while a bathroom will keep you and your guests from having to climb up to the main level to use the restroom. Adding a bathroom may require plumbing, electricity, and flooring updates.


The planning phase is where you define the scope of your project and determine how the space will be used. If you’re outfitting your basement for multiple purposes, choose materials that can handle a lot of wear and tear. That means flooring that can impress overnight guests, withstand typical tweenage horseplay and absorb the impact of your at-home gym—all while looking brand new.

Framing is the next step in a basement remodel. This involves building the frames of walls, typically with 2 by 4s. Be sure to add wall insulation and a vapor barrier before moving on to this stage.

This is a good time to address any water problems you’ve discovered in your basement, too. A thorough job now will save you money and hassle in the future.


Adding a basement bathroom or kitchen can be expensive. Waterproofing is usually the biggest expense. It involves improving drainage around the foundation, sealing the interior cinder block, and more. HomeAdvisor estimates that it costs $4,500 on average.

Framing walls is another major cost. Homeowners often want to separate the space into rooms for a home office, a gym, or a bedroom. The code requires each bedroom to have an egress window, which adds to the cost.

If your budget is tight, there are ways to save money while still improving the space. For example, painting exposed beams and ductwork can make the area feel like part of the house and keep the costs down.

Professional contractors advise homeowners to avoid DIY-ing the remodel, especially when it involves plumbing and electrical work. Doing so could void the warranty and lead to costly repairs. For example, Dollman says he’s seen homeowners tear out load-bearing walls and cause significant structural damage to their homes.


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