Expert advice for your basement finishing project

If you are considering finishing your basement, take this opportunity to consult with Remodel-it Ralph, our expert design and installation specialist from TheBasicCompanies.com, for insight into planning your project.

We have provided hundreds of homeowners throughout New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania with a satisfying basement renovation experience. Our experts are available to share the expertise and knowledge we’ve gained with you.

Our design and installation specialists can provide you with insight into things you should consider for your project, including:

1. The best approach for planning your basement renovation project

2. Basement finishing design considerations

3. Finishing materials and enhancements you should consider, including trim, doors, flooring, electrical fixtures, egress entries, and waterproofing/water remediation systems

4. Successfully managing your basement finishing project

5. The basement build-out, including the process, obtaining permits, and scheduling inspections

To submit a question, complete the short form on the right side of this page and click Submit. One of our basement design/installation experts will respond to your question shortly.

Or, read below to view responses from Remodel-it Ralph to frequently asked basement finishing questions.

Question: I have a partially finished basement, i.e., sliding glass doors and two walls framed and insulated. the room is 23.5 X15.5. I am not putting in heat or air just electrical, dropped ceiling, flooring, and doors, etc. quotes are coming in @19 - 20K. that seems high to me. What should I expect to pay per sq. ft.?

Submitted on 01/13/17 - Pat Cowie - Bethel, CT

Response: Thank you for your submission. The cost of finishing a basement is dependent on many variables, including size of the area to be finished, the amount and type of materials to be used, special upgrades that you are including in the design, and region in which you live. For a basic design, an average cost per square foot, including the drop ceiling, would be $14/square foot, and a typical basement finishing cost would be $11,000 plus upgrades and flooring. The cost for flooring varies based on the type of flooring material and the condition of the basement floor.


Question: I'm thinking about starting a finishing basement project. It is not a walkout basement. Would an egress window/door be a good idea? I currently have 4 windows in the basement - 1 could be egress so to have outside access to bring things in/out. Pls advise.

Submitted on 08/22/16 - Izolina de Rezendes - Hillsdale, NJ

Response: Thank you for your submission. When finishing a basement, we believe it is always a good idea to have an egress exit. An egress window provides an additional entry point to your basement, and could be used as an emergency access point, if necessary. Most building departments require an egress window or door should you be including a bedroom in your basement finishing plan. You could also use an egress window for moving items in and out of your basement, but we suggest egress stairs for that purpose.


Question: What is an average cost to partially finish a basement?

Submitted on 07/22/16 - Kate Fullam - Collegeville, PA

Response: Thank you for your submission. The average cost for partially finishing a basement will primarily depend on the size of the area you are finishing and the design elements for your project. With our company, the cost for our basic basement finishing option is $9,999 for up to 800 square feet. For an average size basement (a basement for a 2,500-3,000 square foot house), the cost to finish a basement will range between $13,000-$14,000 for a project that does not include a bathroom, and $22,000-$24,000 for a project that includes a full bathroom.


Question: Should I allow a basement with low ceilings and ducts protruding from the ceiling deter me from finishing my basement?

Submitted on 07/14/16 - Philip Geppi - Haddon Township, NJ

Response: To maximize the available space for finishing your basement, you want to make sure that you optimize the ceiling height in your usable finished area. This can be accomplished by contacting an HVAC company and discussing relocating some or all of the ducts in your basement. Before finalizing your decision on whether to finish your basement, make sure that the final ceiling height is adequate for your use.


Question: I'd like to get a rough idea for how much it is to install an egress window in central NJ. I realize the price may vary but a range would help.

Submitted on 07/24/14 - Patricia Bradley - Matawan, NJ

Response: You are correct in that the cost will vary depending on the complexity of the installation. However, the approximate cost for the average installation is $4000, which includes the excavation, cutting the foundation wall, installation of an approved egress window, window well, cover for the window well, and back filling the excavation.


Question: My husband and I are considering finishing the basement in our circa 1950 cape cod. I had read that the ceiling clearance must be at least 7 feet in New Jersey. We measured the height to the support beams (I believe that is what they are called...) and it's just about 6 feet-8 to 9 inches. It's higher to the actual floor boards. Does this mean we can't finish the basement to code without lowering the floor in the basement (i.e., digging deeper)? Thanks!

Submitted on 05/28/14 - Katie Puniello - Metuchen, NJ

Response: Ceiling height for new construction has to be a minimum 82 inches. The permit for your basement will be written under the rehab code. There is no minimum ceiling height written under that code. Your Twp. could ask you to file for a variance. The paperwork is easy to fill out. The contractor you chose to have the work done with should be able to provide you with the information necessary to fill out the form.


Question: Will there be local Building Department filing and/or permits required for the basement finishing project and who would be responsible for providing this service?

Submitted on 07/16/13 - Winston Ailey - Howell, NJ

Response: All New Jersey townships require construction permits, which include building, electric, and fire, as well as plumbing if required. Certain townships may require a zoning permit as well. The Basic Basement Co. will assist you with completing all necessary forms to comply with your town's requirements.


Question: Hello. We are Angie's List members and found your company on their site. We are thinking about having our basement remodeled. Unfortunately, the previous owners of our townhouse thought that they would attempt to "finish" the basement, which only means more work since I would guess that all of their dreadful drywall will need to be removed, and the horrible dropped ceiling also. Really, it would be more efficient to have a bare, unfinished basement! My question is, will the "de-construction" add significantly to the cost of the project?

Submitted on 04/08/13 - Joni Seth - Willow Grove, PA

Response: It is always better to start a basement finishing project with a bare basement as the demolition of existing work will always increase costs. The demolition cost is based on the amount of demolition work required.


Question: How long on average does a basement finishing project take, from start to completion, for an area that is approximately 1,000 square feet?

Submitted on 05/15/12 - Glenn G. - Pittsburgh, PA

Response: On average, you should expect your project to last 4 to 5 weeks. Impacting the project timeline are the time of year and the town you live in - the scheduling of inspections/inspector approval, which are required before moving to the next stage of your project, impact the timeline. Also, the complexity of your project - a project with more