How to Finish a Basement From Floor to Ceiling

While concrete floors and walls may not scream potential right now, your basement offers a lot of space that can be used for more than just storage and can add a considerable amount of value to your home. If a finished basement is on your home wish list, take some time to learn about what goes into the project and find out if a DIY finished basement is right for you.

The basic steps to finish your basement include insulating walls, choosing flooring and adding a ceiling to transform your lower level into an additional living area.
Ready to get started? We advise reviewing all the steps and calculating your budget before beginning this project.

If you aren’t experienced at home renovations or if you have several obstructions in your basement, hire a professional for this project.

What to Do Before You Start Renovating Your Basement

Before you begin buying insulation and framing walls for your basement remodel, get your basement ready for the investment by cleaning it out and ensuring your basement doesn’t have any active leaks and that it is up to code.

Step 1: Clean Out Your Basement

Before you begin your DIY project, or bring in experts, you need to remove all the junk from your basement. Clear away all the boxes, bins, trash and appliances before getting started.

Step 2: Complete a Moisture Test in the Basement

It’s a great idea to perform a moisture test to find out if you need to waterproof your basement before

Step 3: Research Local Building Permits and Building Codes for Basements

You will need to apply for the appropriate building permits when you start working on your basement. Before you do that, research local building codes to find if there are rules about the ceiling height and the number of exits required for your basement. If your basement doesn’t meet these requirements, you may need to rethink a DIY approach to finishing your basement.

Steps to Finishing Your Basement

How to Finish the Basement Walls

If the walls of your basement are nothing more than bare concrete, you need to start here. Finished basement walls will not only make the space look complete, but also warm and inviting – especially once insulation is added and the drywall is painted.

Here are the steps to take to finish your basement walls:

Step 1: Install Insulation

One of the easiest and most effective ways to insulate a basement’s exterior walls is adding polystyrene foam insulation directly to your foundation walls.

Step 2: Frame Your Walls

Before you begin building your walls, cut all your two-by-fours to the correct length. For the vertical wall joists, subtract the thickness of the top and bottom plates as well as an additional 1/4 inch. This will give you enough space to fit the frames easily against the foundation.

Step 3: Install Drywall

After building your walls, you can begin hanging your drywall. Take into account any outlets or valves by measuring their placement and cutting access holes into the drywall sheet using a drywall knife. For windows, measure out the dimensions and cut the appropriate shape out of the drywall only after you’ve secured the sheet to the wall.

How to Finish the Basement Floor

Installing Basement Flooring

After the basement walls are finished, it’s time to turn your attention to finishing your basement floors. For flooring, it’s best to use waterproof materials to prevent damage from the inevitable flood or leak that may occur in any basement.

Step 1: Choose a New Flooring for Your Finished Basement

Step 2: Install Subflooring and Flooring

How to Finish Your Basement Ceiling

How to Install a Dropped Ceiling in the Basement

For a finished look in your basement, you’ll need to hide the wires, vents and pipes that are visible on your basement ceiling, while still allowing access to them as needed. Use the steps below to choose your materials and install the ceiling of your choice.

Step 1: Choose Your Ceiling Type

While you can simply paint your basement ceiling to help blend in pipes and utilities while leaving them accessible, installing a finished ceiling will give your renovated basement a more complete look.

Step 2: Install Your Ceiling

Next Step: A Finished Basement

Once you’ve finished transforming your concrete basement into a fully formed lower level, you simply need to decide how you’re going to use and decorate all your extra space.