The short answer is 3-4 months. However, there are many different factors and many steps to finishing your basement. If you do a DIY basement finish or remodel, it would probably take about 6 months. If your basement is unfinished, but has already been waterproofed, it could be finished in less than 3 months, depending on the details. There are so many different things to consider for your finished basement, we are breaking it all down in this article so you can know what to expect for your own unique basement finishing timeline. 

Unfinished Basement Clutter

Unfinished Basement Clutter

Do You Already Have a Reputable Contractor?

This is the first step for any home renovation. Vetting contractors, and choosing the right one for your needs is more important than any of the steps that follow. Look for a company that specializes in remodeling basements, check their reviews, call their references, and have a look at a portfolio of their work. You’ll know the right basement finishing company when you find it. Once you’ve hammered out the details of the renovation with them, their first step will be to pull permits with your local government. Then order materials. After that, the process goes something like this:

Basement In Progress

  • Initial Material Delivery – 1+ days.
  • Framing – 7 days or less. If you’re turning your basement into a wide open space, this will take much less time. 
  • HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical Systems “Rough-In” Installation – 7 days or less. Once again. If you aren’t creating several small rooms, there will be less work for all 3 of these trades, and this will take less time.
  • Inspections – 5 days or less. 
  • Insulation – 1 day.
  • Drywall – 1-2 Weeks
  • Drywall Finishing – 2-3 Days. If your contractor is good, they will order your doors and trim during this process so that they are delivered right when the drywall is finished.
  • Trim and Doors – 7 days or less
  • Cabinets – 1+ days, depending on the extent of your storage and basement design.
  • Countertops – Countertops must be templated after cabinets are installed. Once the company receives the template, it takes about 2 weeks before the actual installation.
  • Drop Ceiling – 2-4 days
  • First Coat of Paint – 1-4 days
  • Tile- 7-14 days. Please note that if a bathroom is being built in your basement, and a tile shower is being installed and/or the walls are being tiled, this could extend the timeline of this process.
  •  Other Flooring – 3-7 days
  • Finishing HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical – 3-5 days
  • Second Coat of Paint – 1-4 days
  • Touch Up – 1-5 days
  • Final Inspections – 2-5 days
  • Punch List Repairs – 1-3 Days
  • Cleaning – 1 Day 

These are all rough estimates, and every project contains surprises and roadblocks, but please feel free to use this list to know what to expect, and help manage your project and your time. Each one of these steps can be much shorter, or much longer, depending on the details of your basement finishing design, and the quirks of your home. The longest part of the process is waterproofing. Be sure to have that underway before you contact a contractor to schedule the renovation. 

Unfinished Basement StairsFinished Basement Stairs

DIY Versus Professionally Finished Basement

If you’re handy, and you love building things, by all means, finish your basement yourself. However, you’re going to be sacrificing your nights and weekends for month on the phone ordering materials, moving materials in, cleaning, framing, cleaning again, carrying sheets of drywall down narrow stairs by yourself, on your knees spreading mortar, et cetera. Some homeowners are like us here at Flooring Masters, and love physical, hands on work. We love seeing something being built and brought into the world. However, before you DIY, consider how much time you are losing. Family functions, relaxation, et cetera. It is often not worth the cost to DIY. 

The benefits of a professionally finished basement are many. First, reputable contractors offer guarantees on their work. If something is installed incorrectly, or malfunctions, they come back and take care of it. This reduces worry about your finished basement. Second, a contractor takes care of all of the logistics. Ordering materials, pulling permits, contacting inspectors, et cetera. In addition to the very physical work, they are taking care of dozens of phone calls for you. Third, contractors that finish basements know what to expect, and when to expect it. The entire process runs much smoother with an expert taking care of it. The scheduling of the different steps is done to maximize efficiency, and your basement is finished much sooner than a DIY job. Most homeowners outsource their renovations for these reasons. 

About The Author

John Raisor is a well traveled carpentry and food writer.


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