How much does it cost to frame a basement?
Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to frame a basement?

Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to frame a basement?

$18 ¬– $24 average cost per linear foot
$2,300 – $3,100average total cost (1,000 SF basement with open floorplan)
$3,900 – $6,000average total cost (1,000 SF basement with rooms)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$18 ¬– $24 average cost per linear foot

$2,300 – $3,100 average total cost (1,000 SF basement with open floorplan)

$3,900 – $6,000 average total cost (1,000 SF basement with rooms)


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Kristen Cramer
Written by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tom Grupa

Cost to frame a basement

The cost to frame a basement is $18 to $24 per linear foot installed. Framing basement walls costs $2,300 to $6,000 on average for a 1,000-square-foot basement, depending on the layout. The cost to frame and drywall a basement is $3.70 to $6.50 per square foot of wall surface.

Cost to frame a basement
Square feet of wall surface Average cost (framing only) Average cost (framing & drywall)
500 $1,100 – $1,500 $1,900 – $3,300
800 $1,700 – $2,400 $3,000 – $5,200
1,000 $2,200 – $3,000 $3,700 – $6,500
1,200 $2,600 – $3,600 $4,400 – $7,800
1,500 $3,300 – $4,500 $5,600 – $9,800
2,000 $4,400 – $6,000 $7,400 – $13,000
2,500 $5,500 – $7,500 $9,300 – $16,300
3,000 $6,600 – $9,000 $11,100 – $19,500

Cost to frame a basement

Basement framing costs $18 to $24 per linear foot installed, depending on the wall height, stud spacing, and number of doors or windows to frame around. Framing the walls and installing drywall costs $32 to $56 per linear foot.

Basement framing cost per linear foot
Factor Cost per linear foot installed*
Wall framing only $18 – $24
Wall framing and drywall $32 – $56

*For 9' tall basement walls.

Cost to frame and build basement walls

The cost to frame basement walls is $180 to $240 without drywall or $300 to $500 with drywall per each 10' wall length. In comparison, building a wall costs $1,000 to $5,000 in the home's main interior living space.

Cost to frame basement walls
Linear feet Framing only Framing & drywall*
10' $180 – $240 $300 – $550
20' $360 – $480 $600 – $1,100
30' $540 – $720 $900 – $1,650
40' $720 – $960 $1,200 – $2,200
50' $900 – $1,200 $1,500 – $2,750

*For 9' tall basement walls.

The following factors affect the cost to frame basement walls:

  • Open floorplan or multiple rooms – Framing a basement with multiple rooms costs more and takes longer than a basement with an open floorplan.

  • Windows and doors – Labor costs increase for basements with multiple windows and doors, which require horizontal studs that take additional time to measure, cut, and install.

  • Wall height – Material costs increase when framing walls taller than 8'. Labor costs often remain the same for 8' and 9' walls but may increase for walls taller than 10' due to the extra ladders and equipment required.

  • Lumber prices – 2" x 4" lumber is the standard for basement framing. Total material costs for the project fluctuate with the cost of lumber.

  • PermitsBuilding permits cost $100 to $500 to framing basement walls, depending on the location.

  • WaterproofingBasement waterproofing costs $3 to $9 per square foot. Consider waterproofing the exterior walls before framing or finishing the basement.

  • Foundation repairsFoundation repairs cost $250 to $800 per crack or $2,500 to $5,000 on average to fix leaks. Repair any leaks before framing basement walls or hanging drywall, as leaks will be more difficult to find after walls are installed.

Wood framing for walls in an unfinished basement.
Wood framing for walls in an unfinished basement.

Labor cost to frame a basement

The labor cost to frame a basement is $6 to $9 per linear foot or $0.70 to $1.30 per square foot of wall area. Labor makes up 40% to 50% of the total project cost.

Labor cost to frame a basement
Factor Cost per linear foot Cost per square foot of wall area
Framing labor $6 – $9 $0.70 – $1.30
Wood, supplies, and tools $12 – $15 $1.50 – $1.70
Total cost $18 – $24 $2.20 – $3.00

Cost to frame and drywall a basement

The cost to frame and drywall a basement is $3.70 to $6.50 per square foot of wall surface, including labor and materials. Framing alone makes up $2.20 to $3.00 per square foot of the cost.

Cost to frame and drywall a basement
Project type Average cost installed (per square foot of wall surface)
Framing only $2.20 to $3.00
Framing and drywall $3.70 to $6.50
Framing, drywall, and painting $4.70 to $9.50

Basement finishing

The cost to finish a basement is $30 to $50 per square foot or $15,000 to $75,000 on average. Finishing a basement typically includes framing, drywall, insulation, lighting, wiring, plumbing, flooring, an HVAC system, and egress windows. Basement finishing costs increase when adding a kitchen or bathroom.

Basement finishing living room
Basement finishing living room

DIY cost to frame a basement

The cost to frame a basement yourself is $12 to $15 per linear foot for materials and supplies. Framing a basement DIY requires 2 "x 4" lumber, framing nails and screws, and the following tools and equipment:

  • Tape measure

  • 6' level

  • Utility knife

  • Chalk line

  • Caulk gun

  • Hammer

  • Hammer drill

  • Drill/driver with masonry bit

  • Circular saw

  • Safety equipment (glasses, dust mask, gloves, and ear protection)

  • Nail gun and air compressor (optional)

Frequently asked questions

Do you have to frame basement walls?

You do not have to frame basement walls for an unfinished basement. Walls in a finished basement require wood or metal framing before hanging drywall, paneling, or another wall covering.

Do I need a vapor barrier in my basement?

No, you do not need an interior vapor barrier in a finished basement. A vapor barrier installed on interior walls traps humidity between the foundation walls and the insulated drywall, resulting in mold and mildew. Waterproofing the exterior walls before framing is a better option for finished basements.

How long does it take to frame a basement?

Framing a basement takes 3 to 5 days on average, depending on if the floorplan is open or divided into multiple rooms requiring interior walls.

Can I frame my basement without a permit?

No, you cannot frame a basement without a permit. A basement remodeling project requires a building permit when adding new walls.

How much lumber to frame a basement?

Framing a basement requires enough 2 "x 4" studs to set one stud every 12" to 16", or roughly 8 to 10 studs for each 10-foot length of wall. Framing a basement with an open floorplan requires less lumber than framing a basement with a layout divided into multiple rooms.

  • The ideal stud length depends on the desired ceiling height. Before purchasing lumber, measure your basement from the floor to the underside of the ceiling joists. Reduce the length by 3" to account for the top and bottom plates.

  • Use pressure-treated wood to frame the bottom plate where the studs meet the floor.

Getting estimates and hiring basement framing contractors

Before hiring a basement framing contractor, be sure to:

  • Get three in-person estimates to compare.

  • Look for framing contractors who are members of the Residential Framing Contractors' Association (RFCA), National Framers Council (NCF), or the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC).

  • Read their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Select licensed, insured, bonded companies that have been in business 5+ years.

  • Ask for references and browse their portfolio of similar completed projects.

  • Get a detailed estimate, warranty, and contract in writing before the project begins.

  • Confirm whether the cost is quoted per linear foot or per square foot.

  • Avoid making large payments up front. Negotiate a payment schedule for work completed.

Questions to ask

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

  • How long have you been in business?

  • Are you a member of the RFCA, NFC, UBC, or other framing organizations?

  • Can you provide references?

  • Will you handle the project yourself or subcontract it?

  • What type of lumber does the estimate include?

  • Will you set the studs at 12" or 16", and why?

  • Does the estimate include drywall installation?

  • What additional costs should I expect?

  • How long will the project take?

  • Does my basement require waterproofing before you frame the walls?