How Much Does It Cost To Add A Walkout Basement?

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf
Walkout basements add value to any home and make the house feel more expansive. However, walkout basements are an expensive addition, and you can expect to spend $6,250 on average. Between labor and materials, let’s take a look at how much it costs to add a walkout basement.

Depending on the layout of your property, there may be a slope at the rear of the property. In designs like these, there is usually space that offers additional means to get the most out of your home’s floor plan.

The average cost to add a walkout basement is $6,250 for materials and labor. Homeowners spend an average of $550 on framing, $2,500 on labor, and $3,250 to add a patio. Insulation costs an average of $1,6250 and the average cost of flooring for a walkout basement is $2,000.

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What is a Walkout Basement?

A walkout basement is exactly as it sounds: a basement that you can walk outside from. The average basement, finished or unfinished, is completely sealed. The only way to get out is to walk up the stairs to the first floor.

When a property has sloping on one side, it is possible to make the basement a walkout-style basement. That would entail adding a door and perhaps even some windows depending on personal choice. It is also possible to take an existing finished basement and turn it into a walkout basement.

How Much Does it Cost to Add a Walkout Basement?

There are two ways to approach the situation. You either have nothing to work with and need to have the basement installed from scratch or add a walkout door to an existing finished basement. One costs substantially more than the other.

Let’s take a deeper look at what it will cost for each scenario. There are benefits if you don’t have a finished basement that may offset the costs at the end of the day. But keep in mind that installing a walkout basement is anywhere from 50% to 200% more expensive than installing a typical finished basement.

Cost of Installing a Walkout Basement Door

Should your basement already be finished, the good news is that it will cost substantially less to have a walkout door installed. Prices can vary greatly, ranging anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 to perform the installation.

There are a number of factors that go into the installation cost and process. It is advised that you get multiple quotes to gauge the total costs that you can expect to cover.

Digging and cuttingFor any walkout, the exterior has to be level with the bottom of the basement. Not only that, but the concrete wall will have to be cut to the appropriate size.
FramingFraming comes to anywhere from $350 to $800, the header included. Talk with the contractor; most municipalities will require you to have a permit to make these changes.
Materials & LaborThe most common walkout is a double patio style. Labor can range wildly depending on the professional you choose, from $500 to $4,500.
Patio InstallationYou aren’t going to have the walkout go straight into the grass. A patio will need to be installed, ranging anywhere from $1,750 to $4,750.

As you can see, those costs can escalate quickly. Because of the complexity of the job, it costs nearly as much to install the door and patio in some instances as it does to have a basement completely finished.

Complete Walkout Basement Installation

Let’s say that your basement is not finished. This is where the costs can escalate substantially. Whatever you are quoted for a finished basement, ramp up anywhere from 50% to 200% for a walkout basement.

Costs are ratcheted up because a remodel is basically needed, just with a walkout door and patio on top of everything else. Even on the low end, you are looking at $40,000. Depending on who you hire and what kind of additions that you make, the costs can escalate close to $100,000.

Walkout Basement Installation Costs

Here are some of the costs that you can expect when adding a walkout basement. The most difficult and complex the job is, the more it will ultimately cost at the end of the day.

Slab FoundationIf your basement is completely unfinished, then a new slab foundation will need pouring. That can run from $5,000 to $21,000 depending on whether you go with a stem wall or monolithic slab.
PermitA permit is generally required to perform this kind of work. Failure to do so will result in a fine and tear down. Depending on the municipality, it can cost $1,000 to $1,200.
WaterproofingWaterproofing is necessary for many reasons, especially if this is going to be a livable space. Typically, waterproofing averages about $4,500.
Sump pump installThe basement is more susceptible to flooding. That means a need for a sump pump. Having a new one installed will run $500 to $600.
FramingThe basement will need to be framed so that drywall can be hung and eventually painted. Drywall can range from under $1,000 to closer to $2,000.
DrywallAfter the framing is complete, the drywall goes up. Expect $1,250 to $2,000 to install.
InsulationSince the basement is now a livable space, it must be properly insulated. $1,500 to $1,700 here.
ElectricalElectrical will have to be run throughout the basement, costing $1,000 to $1,500 on average.
Lighting/OutletsLighting can be one of the most expensive parts of this kind of install. Expect $2,500 to $3,000 plus another $1,000 for outlets.
FlooringThis can vary depending on whether you go with carpet or hardwood flooring. Average is about $2,000 to $3,000 depending on the material chose.

And that’s not even getting to the installation of the egress door, bringing costs up further.

Why Add a Walkout Basement?

Given the steep costs of having one installed – or at least having an egress door and windows installed – it may seem to make little sense to have one installed. But there are several benefits to be had from installing a walkout basement in your home.

We will cover each in greater detail, but there are more than a few reasons. It is more living space, turning a smaller upstairs space into more room. It can also add a lot of value to your home. Or, if you plan on renting it out, it can be turned into an apartment space that can supplement those costs with rental income.

Increased Living Space

Whether you have a finished or walkout basement, it is the potential for more living space. If the main and upper floors are somewhat limited in space, adding a walkout is a great way to free up more living space.

Walkout basements can be transformed into a second living room or an enlarged bedroom. It can be used as a playroom for the kids or it can even make for a wonderful home office or studio. The possibilities are really limitless when it comes to what to do with the additional space.

This is a particularly valuable feature for smaller ranch homes. Main floor square footage can be limited. Below ground, there is a lot more space available. It can make even the smallest of homes feel so much bigger.

Adds Value to the Home

While the costs can be more than enough to scare away those interested in making the addition, those are not all sunken costs. Walkout basements are part of the livable square footage of the home. By adding a livable space below, you can add value to your home.

Homes that have a walkout basement typically appreciate in value far faster than a home that has a standard basement. That is because a walkout provides increased living space and greater flexibility, making it a design that is in high demand.

Not only that, but many walkout basement lots sit near small ravines. That means increased privacy, which also helps to increase the value of the home.

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Outdoor Access

Generally speaking, there are two points of entry in most houses: a front and back door. But walkout basements help to create a seamless sense of fluidity between your home and the outdoors. For those who enjoy nature, it can help bring your surroundings into your living room – in a figurative sense.

Even if you aren’t the most outdoorsy of people, there are plenty of benefits to enjoying the outdoors. There are benefits of improved cognitive function, greater psychological well-being, and even benefits to physical health. That makes a walkout basement a beautiful and healthy addition to your existing home.

More Natural Light

More and more, we as a society are looking to limit our energy use. When you add windows and a door to your basement, it can make the room feel less like a basement and more like a part of the rest of the house.

If you plan to make the space into an additional bedroom or living area, natural light makes things feel bright and airy. Ultimately, you need to have a space that is enjoyable all year long without that dank, dark feeling.

Rental Space

The costs are definitely substantial, there is no mistake about that. But it might not all be heavy costs with no immediate returns. Creating a walkout basement presents the opportunity for rental possibilities.

With the private door, a walkout basement can function as a standalone apartment. Whether that means having older family members live with you or using it to supplement your income is entirely up to you.

Turning the walkout into a rental apartment can help to offset the costs of the installation. Keeping a tenant can help you pay down the costs of the installation over time and even put a little bit of money in your pocket.

Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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