New Addition vs Basement Renovation

Basement Renovation vs A New Addition

A basement renovation is less expensive than a new addition

Need more living space? More commonly people think about adding a new addition to their home. But it can often be cheaper and just as effective to extend below too, making better use of your basement space. A basement renovation project is an ideal choice.

There is no definitive answer. Each home and living situation is different. What’s better for one family may not be better for another. So lets look at some of the different reasons you may decide a basement remodel or a new addition:

You can jump to the different sections below:


Setting Your Budget

A basement renovation project will almost always be cheaper than a home addition.

A new addition will almost always cost more than a basement remodel. However you can sometimes recuperate these costs if you sell the home. The additional square footage gained will increase the living space and add value to your home.

The average return on investment can vary from one addition to the next. There is no definitive figure as to the amount you can expect. Your best bet is to speak to your renovation company when discussing the plans to get a typical idea.

On average people in the industry will say a basement renovation can provide a 75% return on investment.

If budget constraints are an important factor you may decide to go with a basement renovation over an addition.


Decide What You Need

Think about what you need from your extra space, vs what would be “nice to have”. If you can, place your needs and desires in priority order.

Is it essential to have larger windows you can look out of? Is it a priority to keep heating and cooling costs down? Is it a priority to add another bathroom or can you live with the one you have? Where should certain elements be? How accessible would they be from different areas of the house?

Putting your needs and desires in priority order will allow you to determine the scale of the renovation, and whether the basement or a new addition would be more appropriate.


Do you have room to expand?

For an addition you’ll need plenty of space outside your home. You need a new foundation, space for the walls, windows and roof.

Typically a home addition will create more additional living space than a finished basement. You’ll have more space to play with. You can do more. Though this can come at a premium cost of course.

On the other hand finishing your basement makes use of existing space, and is lower in cost.

The home addition will give you more flexibility than a basement renovation as you can create an entirely new space. With a basement remodel you are limited to the space you already have. Though this isn’t always a dealbreaker. You can still do a great deal with a basement space.


Condition of the basement

Basements aren’t typically designed to be living spaces. They have problems with mold and moisture, even flooding.

In some cases you may need to repair cracks and leaks, damage or decay. You may also want to consider plumbing and lighting; though these can increase costs if they need moving/altering/adding.

Equally a home addition requires costly demolition, moving decks, fences and stonework.

Carefully assess the condition of your property and landscape. Bring in an expert contractor to help you determine the best cause of action.

Meeting local building codes

You should also check your basement will meet local building codes and regulations. Typically these are:

  • Floor to ceiling height of 7ft / 6ft in bathrooms
  • Concrete foundation walls in finished rooms/areas need to be furred out and insulated with a minimum of R-8 insulation
  • Adequate escape route – Stairways should meet local building codes.

Additions also have their own building codes to consider, typically more than basement finishing.

Disruption and time required

A basement renovation can be completed despite what the weather is doing. Summer, winter, fall, it makes no difference. A basement remodel can be completed with minimal effect on your daily life. The main floor and living space is left largely unaffected.

An addition can be more disruptive. You may be more limited to spring/summer, and you might have to move out of the way while the work takes place. Though it’s rare, some home additions require you to move out for a time.

Think about how much disruption you can put up with. If you can have the work completed in the warmer months and don’t mind staying out of the way, or moving out, an addition can work.


In summary, deciding between a basement renovation and a home addition involves:

  • Deciding what’s important to you
  • Setting a budget
  • Assessing the property
  • Setting a schedule

If all the conditions are right, you may even decide to do both.


Want more advice about basement finishing or a home addition in Shelton, CT or the surrounding towns/villages?

Call CT Home Construction. Your local 5 star rated home renovation company:
(203) 954-6484

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *