How Long Does a Basement Renovation Take?

If you are planning to renovate your basement, it is crucial to have a clear timeline in mind.

The time it takes to renovate your basement is dependent on several factors, including the availability of contractors and the complexity of the changes you want to make.

In this article, we take you through the key steps and tasks of a basement renovation to help you determine how much time your renovation project will likely take. With the right level of planning and preparation, you can optimize your basement renovation in no time.

Keep reading to find out how long it takes to renovate a basement!

Basement Renovation Planning

The first step in any renovation project is planning. Proper planning and preparation are the key to creating a clear renovation timeline and can take anywhere from a week to a year to complete. It all comes down to when you want to begin the renovation and when you begin the planning process. 

Here are 5 important factors to plan for in the early stages of your basement renovation:

  • Start & End Date: As you begin planning your basement renovation, the first thing to determine is what your ideal start and end dates are — aka, when you want the project to begin and when you want it to be completed. You should give yourself a minimum of one month to complete your project planning, which can help you to determine the right start date. 
  • Hiring Contractors: Unless you are experienced with home renovations, you will likely need to hire contractors to help you complete your basement project. Quality work is vital to prioritize when choosing a contractor, so make sure to review a company’s work and customer reviews before bringing them on board. Additionally, contractors may have limited availability, so you may need to base your renovation timeline around their availability in some cases. 
  • Buying Supplies: Depending on what types of supplies you want to be used in your basement, you may need to plan additional time for obtaining those supplies. For instance, your local hardware store should have a wide range of basic paints and materials for you to purchase, meaning you can grab these supplies in a single day. However, if you want more unique or rare supplies (i.e. custom hardwood floors or specialty lighting fixtures), you may need to plan around the time it will take to obtain these supplies.
  • Final Inspections: After any new constructions are complete, you need to get in touch with your local inspector to verify that everything is up to code and safe. In some states, you may need to obtain a building permit before you even begin your renovation project. As such, you should always get in touch with a professional inspector as early in the process as possible to ensure that you are covering all of your bases.  
  • Finishing Touches: Lastly, make sure you include any finishing touches in your basement renovation plan. This can include buying furniture, painting the walls, installing optional light fixtures, and more. These finishing touches are what make your basement actually feel complete and ready to use, so make sure to include these essential final steps in your renovation plan. 

Initial Inspections & Building Permits

After you have completed the planning phase of your renovation project, your next key step is to contact a professional inspector. Building permit requirements can vary from state to state, and working with a professional inspector from the get-go can help you determine what legal requirements you need to meet.

Additionally, an initial inspection can help you identify any structural, electrical, or plumbing needs to address within your basement. This initial inspection can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. 

Basement Demolition and Structural Changes

Your initial inspection will go a long way in telling you what types of structural changes you may need.

In general, you can divide these into two categories:

  • Necessary Structural Changes: Necessary changes include anything that is required for your basement to pass a final inspection, such as the addition of new electrical outlets or the construction of wall framing. These types of tasks typically take between 2 to 3 days each.  
  • Optional Structural Changes: Optional structural changes refer to the addition of non-necessary structures, such as walls that do not serve a functional purpose beyond the aesthetics of your basement. Like necessary changes, these types of structural changes can take between 2 to 3 days. 

If you plan to fully demolish your basement, this may take extra time and planning — especially if your home is reliant on the structural integrity of your basement. 

Basement Electrical Wiring & Plumbing

Next up on your basement renovation to-do list is adding in any necessary electrical wiring and plumbing changes to your walls, ceilings, and floors.

Depending on the state you bought your house in, your basement may already have the electrical and plumbing fixtures you need. However, more than likely, you will need to add these yourself. 

New electrical wiring and plumbing in a basement can take up to 3 to 5 days to complete, depending on the availability of the contractors you work with. 

Basement Framing, Insulation, & Drywall

Once your new plumbing and electrical features are finished, you can begin re-finishing the walls with new framing, insulation, and drywall.

Framing refers to the structural components of your walls that act as pillars of support to keep the walls from buckling or caving in over time. After the framing is in place, adding insulation ensures your basement can be efficiently heated or cooled. Finally, drywall is the most common material used to cover up the insulated frames, giving you a smooth surface to later paint over. 

In total, the framing, insulation, and drywall processes can take the longest amount of time in your renovation, ranging from two weeks to two months to complete. 

Basement Painting & Flooring

With your structural changes made and your drywall in place, you can finally add the finishing touches to your basement — flooring and a fresh coat of paint.

Painting the walls can take varying amounts of time but typically no more than one week. 

As for flooring, it depends on the material used. For example, laminate flooring can be installed quickly, generally within one to two days. Meanwhile, hardwood flooring can take up to a week to be properly installed, sanded, and varnished. 

Post Renovation Cleaning & Inspection

Now that all of your construction tasks are finished, your basement is nearly ready to go — all that remains is the post-renovation cleaning and inspection.

Ideally, most cleaning tasks should happen as each step in the process is complete. Nonetheless, you may need to commit at least one to two days to get your floors swept, mopped, and spotless, as well as clear out any leftover materials and equipment. 

As for the final inspection, this can take around the same time as the initial inspection — between 30 minutes to two hours. Additionally, scheduling an inspection can sometimes take time, so give yourself at least one to two weeks to get an appointment scheduled. 

Final Thoughts

Renovating your basement can be an exciting time, as it adds both extra comfort and value to your home.

In total, a basement renovation can take anywhere from two weeks to two months to finish in full. The key is to communicate your ideal timeline to your chosen contractors and inspectors so that you can be correctly guided on how to best meet your goals.