Partially Finished Basement (What It Is?)

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

Basements are usually an integral part of the building because of the extra space they add. However, a lot of people find basements scary and dark.

So they avoid the basement, and the space wastes away. However, you can adjust a few things in the basement to make it more inviting. You can even convert it into a living space.

A partially finished basement always contains a half living space and a half uninhabitable space, such as a crawl space.

It is relatively small compared to a fully finished basement, but it has enough space to create different functions.

For example, you can use a partial basement as a store, gym, recreational, and comfortable room.

A partially finished basement is a basement structure half the length of the floor above. It is a half-basement excavation that has a complete finishing structure. However, it also has an unfinished space that lacks basic livable features.

Partially Finished Basement Meaning  

Partially Finished Basement    

A partially finished basement, as the name implies, means a type of basement structure that is only half the width of the ground structure above it.

A partially finished basement which you can also refer to as a semi-finished basement, sometimes involves an excavation.

This excavation allows some part of the basement to be above the ground. Such parts could be above the ground fully or midway.

Furthermore, a partially finished basement mainly contains an unfinished and finished section, creating an impression of an excavation project than was intentionally abandoned midway.

The finished section would contain a small living space and standard flooring, making it an improvement of a bare basement. 

It would also have ceilings and a finished wall with all the necessary utilities. Additionally, the unfinished section would have walls, flooring, and ceilings that are not standard.

Although the finished basement room is inhabitable, it doesn’t look like the regular floors of the house.

It does not have all the full features that would make it comfortable for you to stay. You must upgrade it to your standard and taste if you intend to live in the basement.

Also, a semi-finished basement may have a dampness problem. There may be an increased moisture level, and you notice water patches on the wall and floor.

It would be too cold to stay in the basement, except you have a way of heating it. However, with the right upgrade and design, it is an excellent spot to set up a gym and recreation room.         

Does a Partially Finished Basement Add Value?      

A partially finished basement adds value to your home. Although, only the finished section of the basement adds value because it is probably insulated, painted, and floored.

Hence, the value a semi-finished basement adds is little. It will need an upgrade into a fully finished basement if you intend to get significant value from selling it.

However, it does not mean the unfinished section is worthless. Some homeowners would prefer the semi-finished basement because it allows them to design it as they wish.

It also means they would have to spend less on upgrading it. They may even prefer it because it means more storage space for them. You can decide to value the basement based on your decision.

Partially Finished Basement Permit          

It would be best if you had a permit to carry out any project in your basement. Since any basement project would require significant construction work, you would need a permit.

A basement permit secures the construction project for free future inspection. Suppose you do not get a permit before constructing your partially finished basement.

In that case, the local building department in your area has the right to penalize you and remove everything you did.

Plus, if you decide to sell your building, you must show the basement permits to the realtor. It assures that your basement structural projects have the proper code for your area.

The building will lose value if you do not have the necessary basement permits. Getting a permit for your basement could be stressful, but you need one to enjoy these benefits.

Furthermore, building permits could differ as construction codes change. Therefore you need to get permits every time to do a major construction project in a basement.

Your basement standards must follow your area’s building code. Your basement permit must include details about your electrical, plumbing, and other construction projects.

Partially Finished Basement Count as square footage?        

Only the finished section of your basement may count as square footage. For your basement to count as square footage, it must have the same quality and standards as the rest of the building.

It means that the structural appearance of the basement, such as the walls and floors, must have the same finishing as the other floors of the house.

Therefore, a fully finished basement counts more as square footage. Furthermore, square footage, a gross living area, refers to only the inhabitable parts of your building.

So, for example, for your partial basement to count as square footage, it has to have windows, doors, and height clearance like a standard livable space.

However, in some cases, the semi-finished and fully finished basements may not count because the gross living area includes above-grade square footage. 

Partially Finished Basement Cost      

The least cost to construct a partially finished basement is 40,000 dollars. It would help if you considered a lot of factors before drawing out your budget for the basement.

Your choice of design and features you want to include in the basement adds to this cost.

Plus, it would be best to consider the cost of getting a building permit and inspection for your construction project. 

There are other things you need to consider if you are drawing out an estimate for your basement. Such factors include;

LabourAbout 40 percent of your budget.You would need to hire a contractor to get the best quality result for your project. 
CeilingAbout $3 to $5 per square foot (depends on the type)It would be best if you had a ceiling that would make your electrical system and HVAC accessible.
WaterproofingAround $4, 500A waterproof system would protect your basement against hazards and mold growth.
DrywallAbout $2,000You need to change the concrete basement walls into drywalls with insulation underneath. It would protect the basement against moisture and keep it warm.
FoundationAbout $3,000You need waterproof basement flooring to protect your basement against moisture.

Partially Finished Basement Ideas      

Several semi-finished basement ideas can improve the appearance and comfort of your basement. Your partial basement can be livable with the right type of design and ideas.

However, before changing the basement, you must consider your location and soil type.

Here are some partially finished basement ideas.

#1. Rug

You can place a new rug in your basement to improve the floor. It adds color, beauty, and softness to your basement.

A rug also adds some warmth to your basement floors. You need a waterproof rug if your basement is damp.

A waterproof rug is resistant to moisture, mildew, and mold. If you don’t use a waterproof rug for a damp basement, it can result in a foul odor.

#2. Floor Epoxy

You can paint your basement floors with epoxy to beautify the concrete floor. There are many styles and colors to choose from that can brighten up your basement.

Epoxy is not expensive, and they are easily accessible in your hardware store.

#3. Ceiling Paint

It would help if you added some colors to your ceiling. You can use matching colors with your walls or floors to increase the effect on the basement appearance.

#4. Floating Floor

Floating floors have an insulating feature that can keep your basement floors warm. It does not crack or create gaps as the ground underneath contracts expands.

Also, you do not need to attach it to any walls or subfloor hence the name “floating floor.”

#5. Lighting Effect

You can add colorful lighting to your basement to improve its appearance. Light makes your partial basement feel personal, comfortable, warm, and cozy.

Of course, the perfect lighting and ceiling paints would increase your desired effect.

#6. Heat Panels

It is a rule of thumb that the basement is always cold and creepy. However, installing some heat panels can add some warmth to your basement.

It is essential to make your basement warm if you want to turn it into a living space. You should be able to feel comfortable in your basement every season, most especially during winter.

Furthermore, solar heat panels around the basement room are the best. It reduces the cost you spend on energy, and it can make the basement feel naturally warm, unlike forced air heat.


You can convert your semi-finished basement for any function you want. The reasonable expenses and designs should be enough comfort for you.

It would be best to seek professional help and get the correct permissions before starting any basement project.

Sharing is caring! Spread The Love!

Why Trust Our Information

At, we are dedicated to delivering precise and trustworthy information. Our content is meticulously developed and validated by a panel of Expert Contributors, adhering to strict Editorial Guidelines. Our commitment is to ensure that you receive thoroughly researched and expertly crafted information.