Digging Out Your Basement: Benefits, and Cost Breakdown

Digging out a basement can be a great way to add living space and value to your home. This project turns the basement into a versatile space for extra bedrooms, a home office, or a game room, enhancing your home’s comfort and market value. Here, we delve into the benefits of basement excavation, the process, and the cost.

Benefits of Digging Out A Basement

Benefits of Digging Out A Basement

Basement excavation involves removing soil or rock to create a new space below the home’s ground level. This project can transform a crawl space into a full basement or expand an existing basement area. The main benefits include:

  • More living space in your home
  • Cheaper and less invasive than other home additions
  • Added living space suitable for expansion
  • Improved property structure
  • Better basement waterproofing
  • Raises the basement ceiling height

Basement Excavation Cost Breakdown

Digging out a basement costs approximately $50 per cubic foot. Most homeowners will pay between $22,500 to $45,000 to dig out a new basement. However, if you have some existing crawl space, the space expansion costs are between $10,000 to $30,000.

Factors that affect the total cost of the project:

  • Permits: Permits correspond to around 2% of the final cost.
  • Size of Excavation: The larger the space, the more labor you’ll need, and the more the project will cost.
  • Raising or Bracing the House: Raising or bracing the house corresponds to around 15% of the final cost, but it varies depending on the method. Drainage System and Plumbing: Plumbing corresponds to about 2% of the final cost, while the drainage system costs about 4% of the final bill.
  • Foundation: Pouring the foundation (floor, footing, and walls) is another major expense, corresponding to around 22% of the final cost.
  • Finishing the Basement (optional): Finishing the basement is the third major expense at 22% of the final cost. While a significant expense, finishing the basement is part of the process that increases your home’s value the most.
  • Insurance: Coverage for digging out your basement depends on the terms of your current homeowner’s insurance


Since this is a major construction project, you will need building permits no matter where you live. The actual cost of permits will vary based on your city and state—budget around 2% of the project’s final permit cost ($1,000 – $2,000).

Size of Excavation

The excavation is the project’s most expensive and labor-intensive part, costing anywhere between $22,500 to $45,000. The average cost is between $75 and $150 per cubic foot of excavated soil.

Raising or Bracing the House

Raising your house using hydraulic jacks can cost between $3,000 to $9,000. While this is the fastest and cheapest option, it subjects the house’s structure to substantial stress, potentially causing cracks or other damage to floors and walls.

Another method is bracing the home, or underpinning, to brace your home at each foundation footing while the digging takes place. This can cost up to $20,000, but it preserves the structural integrity of your house so that you won’t risk damage.

Drainage and Plumbing Systems

To make your new basement livable, you’ll need to install plumbing. This includes drainage and basement waterproofing to keep your basement dry and secure. Plumbing costs about $1,000 to $3,000, while a new drainage system can cost up to $5,500.


Your home will need a new foundation. Pouring the foundation, including floor, footing, and walls, is usually around $10,000 – $30,000, depending on the size of your new basement.

Cost Category Cost Range Percentage of Total Cost
Permits $1,200 – $2,000 2%
Size of Excavation $22,500 – $45,000 33%
Raising or Bracing the House $3,000 – $20,000 15%
Drainage System and Plumbing $3,000 – $8,500 6%
Foundation $10,000 – $30,000 22%
Finishing the Basement $10,000 – $30,000 22%

Basement Excavation Process

Digging out a basement is a complex project that requires professional expertise. Although it’s not a DIY project, it is important to understand the process to make informed decisions about your home renovation.

  • Preparing for the Digout: Involves acquiring all legal permits, ensuring local safety standards, and setting up a separate access area to your house. This stage may take 2-3 months.
  • Installing Scaffolding to Support Your Home: To prevent your home from collapsing, your contractor will install beams to support it. This step is vital to protect your home’s structural integrity.
  • Digging Out the Basement: The crew will start digging until they reach the desired basement height, typically around 8 ft.
  • Finishing the Basement: The team will remove excess dirt, erect footers and walls, and pour the concrete for the floor. The basement finishing may include drywall, painting, ceiling, flooring, carpeting, plumbing and electrical wiring.

Digging Out Your Basement Can Improve Your Home

Basement excavation is an excellent way to enhance your home’s comfort, functionality and market value. Despite being a significant investment, it provides ample benefits, from additional living space to potential rental income, making it a worthwhile home improvement project to consider.

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Written by Murat

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