Step-By-Step Guide To Finishing A Basement


Ah where to begin your basement finishing or remodel project? That’s the real question, and it haunted me for months.  This was the hardest part for me, and it took a lot of Googling, researching, and reading to realize the best plan of attack.  Every basement finishing project will be a little different, but in my experience it follows these basic steps:

  1. Find some inspiration
  2. Design and plan your basement
  3. Permits and inspections
  4. Preparation, waterproofing, and repair
  5. Frame basement walls
  6. Plumbing and bathroom prep
  7. Electrical wiring
  8. Drywall
  9. Finish woodwork
  10. Painting, staining, and flooring
  11. Finalize your basement finishing project

basement finishing forums

As I said, the steps to basement finishing can be different for everyone.  For me, starting in a newly constructed home meant I didn’t have to worry about basement waterproofing, mold removal, or repairing cracks.  But don’t worry, I’ve created this site so that you can find all the resources you need in one place!  One of the most important steps can be preparing your basement properly, and if you don’t follow the steps to waterproofing your basement or removing mold it can mean more money out of your pocket later. Through each step I’ll do my best to post videos that I’ve made and pictures I’ve taken.  If I haven’t gone through it myself, I’ll post some great resources I’ve found on the topic.

So it’s as easy as that. If only I had it this easy… you owe me.


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  1. Ryan says:

    Hi there, great guide, love it. I just had my drywall finished. what should I do next…hang doors? or paint?

    also with doors, should I paint the doors before I install them?

    1. Tony says:

      Hey Ryan,

      Thanks for the question. When hanging doors you’ll end up trimming around the jambs after you’ve hung them, so painting before you do the trim would be ideal.

      If it was me I would paint the walls/doors, hang the doors, finish trim. To me that would be easiest, save the most time, and avoid any possible paint on the newly hung and painted doors.

      Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions!

  2. Brian says:

    We just had our basement framed in using metal studs. The channels are screwed into the concrete on the floor and the ceiling joist. Unfortunately, the guy who did it just realized we have a floating slab floor. How big of an issue do we have and what do you recommend for fixing it? Thanks.

    1. Tony says:

      Hey Brian,

      Thanks for the question! So this is interesting. I think my first question would be how old is the house? You were obviously able to frame it out alright, so I’m assuming you didn’t have any previous heaving in the floor either?


      1. Brian says:

        The house is 9 years old. We’ve had some minor heaving years ago on side we aren’t finishing. It was maybe 1/4 inch of movement. The framing that was just put in all went in pretty flush. If the floor does move, I can’t imagine the studs have enough strength to cause structural issues upstairs.

        1. Tony says:

          Hey Brian,

          Yeah I heard a couple stories from my inspector of granite countertops cracking in the kitchen from heaving in the basement, it can be a real issue. It’s probably required by code in your area to have floating walls as well right?

          I hesitate to tell you you’ll be fine, but most people I’ve talked to said heaving will happen initially and than subside over time. That being said, it can obviously happen again from bad drainage, lots of rainfall, or other factors. If it was required by code I would probably try and find another solution.

          Would it be possible instead of anchoring to the floor to anchor it to the exterior concrete wall somehow? That would be a lot of work, but if you’ve got a permit they’ll probably require you to do that anyways.

  3. Brian says:

    Thanks for the responses Tony. You confirmed what we thought all along.

    It doesn’t appear to be required by code, which is partly why it got missed in the beginning. I’ll start looking for a plan B. Take care.

    1. Tony says:

      Ah gotcha. Yeah that kind of puts you in a tough spot. But I think you’d be doing the right thing to look for a Plan B, always better safe than sorry!

      Best of luck and always feel free to reach out with any other questions.

  4. We’ve had our basement unfinished for several years, and I’m thinking that this year should be the year that we remodel it. I think I’ve been trying to do the “design and plan” stage without spending enough time finding inspiration, so I feel a little lost. What resources would you suggest for inspiration in my basement design?

    1. Tony says:

      Hey Noel,

      I would definitely suggest Pinterest as your way to go. There are so many ideas and examples of DIY work on that website that you may be overwhelmed with ideas and inspiration 🙂

      You will have to create an account to browse the posts, but just do a simple search for “basement ideas” or “diy basement finish” and you will be set!

      Let me know if you have any other questions as you get started on your basement finishing project!

  5. Bill says:

    When are floors installed in the basement construction? Before or after the framing?

    1. Tony says:

      Hey Bill!

      Flooring would typically be installed towards the end of your project. It would come after framing and drywall, but before you finish your space with the trim. Some different builders will paint before or after flooring, but I would prefer to paint before flooring in installed, that way you don’t have to worry about getting messy with paint. Let me know if you have any other questions and good luck on your basement finish!

  6. Gordon says:

    Hi. I have a floating slab floor in my basement and have issues with spiders and moisture in the gap between slab and cinder block walls.. Is it ok to put backer and self leveling expandable caulk in that gap? Thanks

    1. Tony says:

      Hello Gordon! That is a great question. I’m not exactly sure, but a great resource would be to call your local city building department and ask them!

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