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When you are buying a home, or even if you own one, having a finished basement is a definite asset. It can double the square footage of useable space in your house. We recently finished our basement, and when talking to a friend overseas they asked “What is a finished basement?”  Here is everything you need to know about finished basements.

The definition of a finished basement

What is the meaning of a “finished basement”? What constitutes a finished basement? It’s when the entire basement is completed in a manner that resembles the upstairs living space. This means that the wiring, flooring, plumbing, finishing work (such as doors, window casings, cabinets and trim work) have all been completed. For a basement to be considered finished it needs to be a livable space and have the same qualities as the finished space in the rest of the house.


Can you finish an unfinished basement?

Yes! You can transform a basement space into a whole new area of your house. There are steps to finishing a basement that you will need to follow but it’s a great way to add space and make your home feel like a new place without having to move.


Is it worth finishing a basement?

Finishing a basement can be a great way to add living space to a growing household and relieve the tight quarters you currently live in. If you are wanting more space and don’t want to move. If you are selling your home finishing your basement can be a value added to prospective buyers and be a key selling point in a deal.


How much would it cost to finish a 1000 sq ft basement?

Depending on your needs and how much you want done finishing a basement could cost anywhere from $25,000 to $200,000 or more. It depends on the area you live in and what you want to do with the space. The average cost per square foot to finish a basement is $25-$50 however you will still need to furnish the space and turn it into something that is livable. Which will increase the cost.

What Qualifies a Basement as Living Space?

A basement qualifies as a living space when it is finished and matches the living conditions of the rest of the home (i.e main floor and above).


Is a Basement Square Footage Included in My Home’s Square Footage?

Depending on where you are and the house you live in it can be considered part of your square footage. A basement that is a walkout and has no substantial amount of home in the actual ground can be taken into account when totaling square footage. In most cases, the basement square footage is not considered part of the square footage when buying a house.


Does a Finished Basement Raise Your Taxes?

Yes, a finished basement does raise your taxes. In many cases finishing a basement will be adding more living space to your home, which means that when your house is assessed it will increase in value. Which in turn raises your taxes.


Does a basement count as a floor?

No, a basement doesn’t count as a floor. It is in it’s own class when it comes to floors of a home, it can still host several rooms in your house, but it’s not considered a floor. To be considered a floor it needs to be above grade (ie ground level).

What is an Unfinished Basement?

An unfinished basement is a basement that has not had any upgrades or work done to it since it was built. Typically you will find the furnace, hot water tank, washer, dryer, freezer and perhaps a second cold fridge in the area. All of the ceiling is exposed so that you can see the ductwork and wiring and the floor is cement or wood floor if the builder decided to do a raised wood floor.


Finished Basement vs Unfinished Basement

A finished basement is when the lower area has been completed to look like a livable space similar or comparable to the main floor of a house. An unfinished basement is when the basement is missing the key components of a finished space such as walls, electricity, plumbing, flooring, ceiling and heating.


What is a Partially Finished Basement?

A partially finished basement is a basement that has a portion of the square footage complete. This can be from one room to a larger area depending on the size of the basement. A partially finished basement can also be a basement that has been take to a certain stage (say framing, wiring, plumbing and drywall) but does not have other things that would make the basement in a livable state, such as no flooring, ceiling or millwork.
These are great if you are wanting extra space for a home gym, extra bedroom and/or bathroom or an office.

What is a semi finished basement?

A semi-finished basement is a basement that has partial area that is completely finished and another part that is unfinished. It is a much more affordable option if you are wanting to have extra space but don’t want to finish your basement in it’s entirety.

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