By Gene and Katie Hamilton
A dry basement used primarily for storage can become a bonus room in a house for a relatively small investment. The area is already heated, or can be easily because the furnace is already down there. With the addition of insulation and wallboard, a basement becomes additional finished living space. The job involves furring out the walls with 2x4 stud frames, filling the cavities with wrapped fiberglass insulation and installing wallboard.
A carpenter will charge $1,675 to insulate and finish basement walls in a 600-square foot space. This includes framing out the walls, filling the wall cavities with insulation and installing wallboard. You can do the job for $490, the cost of the materials, and save 70 percent. Use your ZIP Code to adjust the cost to where you live. It helps to have some basic rough carpentry experience. You'll need a saw, measuring tape, carpenter's square, level, screw gun and wood screws for the framing. To install the insulation, you'll need a stapler and a pair of heavy-duty scissors to cut it to size. And to install wallboard panels to the framing, you'll need wallboard tools.
Depending on their location and weather conditions, different parts of the country require specific R-value or heating power. Check with your local building department to find out what type of insulation is needed where you live.
To calculate rolled insulation go to Lowe's Rolled Insulation calculator.
Sound too complicated and time consuming? Here's a link to Home Advisor, a free referral service that matches homeowners with local contractors.
The average price to insulate and finish basement walls noted above is cost data to compare a contractor’s estimate with doing it yourself. Tweak the data by adding your ZIP Code to find a local cost.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020