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How to calculate cost of a basement conversion

Updated February 21, 2017

When trying to calculate the cost of a basement conversion, the most important information that you must determine before you even consider going forward is water in the basement. If the basement is dry, there is no issue. However, if there is moisture in the basement, you must determine the extent that it is wet, such as whether it is wet or damp all year, wet only during storms, or just damp from humidity. More serious water infiltration issues can cost quite a lot of money to fix, far beyond what you may decide to budget for a basement conversion. Humidity may be simpler to fix, such as improving air flow and ventilation, or installing dehumidifiers. Once you have determined the state of your basement, you can move on to calculate the cost for the conversion.

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Calculate the headroom in the basement. If it is low, this will impact how you will finish the ceiling-a consideration when calculating the cost of the basement.

Consider whether the headroom is too low-to the point where you have to duck your head to walk around in the basement. If this is the case, then the cost to rectify the situation would greatly add to the cost of the calculation to convert your basement.

Look for natural light in the basement. If windows are present, they need to be inspected. The windows could possible need to be refinished or replaced, which will add to the cost when you calculate the cost of a basement conversion.

Determine if there is an alternate egress. Often the doors in the basement that are used to access the outside are not finished. If you are converting the basement, consider adding the cost of replacing these doors to your calculation of the cost to convert the basement.

Inspect the concrete slab of the basement itself. If the concrete is level and not pitched, then you should have no added cost beyond whatever finish you choose for the floor. If however it is pitched or cracked, the repair of the floor can add to the cost of the basement conversion.

Examine whether the stairs are built according to code.

Determine the rise and run of the stairs. If the stairs are uneven, they will have to be replaced so as not to present a safety issue. Replacement of the stairs can add to your cost when you attempt to calculate the cost for a basement conversion.

Look for a handrail. Code requires that one be present. If it is not, it will have to be added, and the handrail you decide to add could impact your cost when you calculate the cost for a basement conversion.

Check out the width of the staircase. If the staircase is too narrow, it becomes a code issue, for the width, or lack thereof, could impact safety and comfort. In order to achieve the width of the stairs to accommodate the necessary handrails, as well as the space needed for a person to pass comfortably down the stairs and perhaps carry something, the staircase may have to be rebuilt. This can greatly add to the cost when calculating the cost of a basement conversion.

Figure out how the basement will be used as this will greatly impact the cost when trying to calculate the cost of a basement conversion.

Find out whether the basement will become one large room, or will be divided into more than one room. This could impact your calculations as you try to determine the cost of a basement conversion.

Learn if part of the basement will be used as an office. Calculating the cost of a basement conversion will have to include more wiring, Internet and phone if this is so.

Consider if the basement conversion will include a bedroom. If so, you will have to add GFI protectors (outlets) and smoke detectors, which can add to the cost when calculating the cost of a basement conversion.

Examine the pipes in the ceiling. If the placement of the pipes in the ceiling is not too low, then perhaps the pipes could be covered by an acoustical ceiling. This can add to the cost when calculating the cost of a basement conversion. If the pipes are too low, then perhaps they will have to be rerouted, which could add quite a lot to the cost of the basement conversion.

Consider the placement of the furnace. Perhaps a room can be built to enclose the furnace, thus adding to the cost of the basement's conversion. However, you must install an air intake for the furnace so it draws air from outside the basement at all time, rather from the basement itself (as it existed before the conversion).

Check out the placement of the electrical panel. Code dictates that the panel be a certain height from the ceiling and the floor. If by finishing the floor and the ceiling the panel ends up being too close to either, then the panel will have to be relocated, which can add to the cost when you consider the cost of a basement conversion.

Choose the finish for the basement. This can add to the cost when you attempt to calculate the cost of a basement conversion.

Pick out how you wish to finish the floor. The various floor finishes which range from carpeting, wood, composite wood, tile and more can add to the cost of your basement conversion.

Look at various light fixtures and add this to your calculations as you attempt to determine the cost of a basement conversion.

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About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.

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