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How to Fix and Budget for These 7 Common Basement Remodeling Problems

How to Fix and Budget for These 7 Common Basement Remodeling Problems

If you’re running low on space, you’ve likely considered the pros and cons of moving versus staying in your home. Of course, you can add a first-story or second-story addition to your home instead of moving away. However, many homeowners prefer to renovate a space that’s already available—the basement!

Perhaps your basement is currently where your furnace lives—along with your seasonal décor, old mementos, and an assortment of items you’ve collected over the years. Fortunately, with a bit of creativity and cleaning, you can convert your basement into a cozy movie room, functional guest bedroom, or in-home gym.

Before you get started, let’s take a look at these seven common problems you may run into during your basement remodel that you can conquer with the correct budget and a professional contractor!

Moisture Problems

Due to their below-ground location and poor ventilation, basements struggle with humidity, dampness, mold growth, and other moisture-related problems.

Your Pittsburgh contractor will know the best option to waterproof your basement. Rigid foam insulation, caulking, subflooring, or a combination of these options can make your newly renovated basement habitable and moisture-free!

Cost: According to HomeAdvisor, waterproofing a basement can cost anywhere from $2,247 to $7,059 with the help of a reliable contractor.


After installing waterproofing and steel studs, your contractor will install basement walls. Drywall is a popular option for basements because it’s light, affordable, and can attach easily to studs. 

Finished walls make your space warm and inviting. More importantly, they hide wiring and electrical outlets—and you’ll be required by building code to install a certain amount of outlets during your remodel.

However, despite their functional and aesthetic purposes, drywall contributes very little to the structural integrity of your basement and is prone to cracking as your basement settles. If your basement already has broken walls, you’ll need to fill them in immediately to prevent moisture from seeping into your basement remodel.

Cost: According to HomeAdvisor, installing drywall costs $1,745 on average, or about $2 per square foot.

Structural Columns

Most basements rely on posts or columns for structural support. Unfortunately, many of these posts are located in the center of your basement, which can be inconvenient when they’re not incorporated into your remodeling plan.

Although steel support beams can replace most posts, usually the pillars supporting main structural beams will need to be worked into your basement design. Fortunately, with a bit of creativity, you can convert these columns into functional, attractive features, like bookshelves, cabinets, or walls.

Cost: Most designers charge around $6,780 to convert your basement into a functional living space, including incorporating structural beams into your final design.

Ceiling Options

Ceilings can often be a challenge to install during your basement remodel since your basement will need to reach specific height requirements to adhere to building codes.

One popular option is a surface mount ceiling, which covers your ceiling with drywall or plaster to maximize the space in your basement. This option is great for low ceilings.

Another choice is a drop ceiling—fiberglass ceiling tiles hung on metal rail grids. This option offers easy access to ductwork, plumbing, electrical wires, and phone lines, so they are great in bathrooms, bedrooms, and living spaces with lots of overhead components. 

Usually, using a combination of both types of ceilings in different locations in your basement will offer the best value and benefits.

Cost: According to HomeAdvisor, a basic drywall ceiling costs about $1,610, and a drop ceiling costs about $2 to $6 per square foot.


Before you add hardwood flooring to your basement—think again. Wood flooring isn’t a great option due to the inevitable moisture in your basement.

Instead, consider installing a plywood subfloor on top of your concrete floor to level out your basement. It will provide a warm, cushioned base for carpet, laminate, or engineered hardwood floors. You can also install tile directly onto your concrete foundation in bathrooms or if your basement doesn’t have enough height to fit a subfloor.

Cost: According to HomeAdvisor, basement flooring costs about $1,500 to $4,500. Expect to pay $3 to $11 per square foot for laminate and carpet and $22 per square foot for engineered hardwood floors.

  • Check out a recent master bathroom update we completed in Sewickley

Natural Lighting

Considering your basement is underground, natural lighting can be a considerable problem when remodeling this room into a livable space. 

Adding plenty of light fixtures and lamps that mimic natural light is helpful. Ask your contractor what options are available that will comply with building codes. Adding a skylight, if possible, is a great way to add natural light to your basement. 

However, you can also make design decisions to transform your dark basement into a welcoming space, like painting your walls a bright, neutral color with glossy paint that effectively reflects light.

Cost: The cost varies, depending on the type of paint, light fixtures, and skylights you use.

Egress Window

Even though it may be a pain, installing an egress window in your basement is critical to protect your family. Egress windows look like regular windows, but they are large enough for you to climb out to escape from your basement during an emergency. 

Egress windows are not easy to install, so it’s best to hire a professional remodeler to help you do the job. Your contractor can also help you understand building codes in your area to verify your egress windows are installed correctly.

Cost: Depending on the size and style, egress window installation typically costs $2,512 to $5,261

  • Unsure of where to start with your basement remodel? Our “Homeowner’s Guide To Interior Remodeling & Renovations” can help.

Transform Your Basement with Pittsburgh’s Top Remodeler

Before you hire a contractor, read this helpful blog about planning and budgeting for a home addition. And when you’re ready to get started on your basement remodel—we’re here to help!  

When you work with an honest, reliable home remodeler, you can dodge the frustrating problems and hidden costs of improper basement renovation, and instead enjoy the benefits of a cozy, structurally sound basement!Learn how home remodeling with Action Builders can transform your basement into a beautiful, functional space!