How Long Does It Take To Finish A Basement?

Basement Renovation

How Long Does It Take To Finish A Basement?

One of the most common questions asked is how long does it take to finish a basement? In this article we will outline a typical basement finish timeline, so you are aware of what to expect for your upcoming project.

Basement Finish Timeline

There are several factors that come in to play when determining how long a basement will take to complete. However, it normally ranges from 4-6 weeks from the start of the project. Use the outline below to get an idea of timing for a basic basement finish.

  • Framing: 4-5 days
  • Electrical and Plumbing Rough Ins: 1-2 days
  • Rough In Inspection: 1 day
  • Insulation & Vapour Barrier: 1 day
  • Drywall: 5-7 days (includes dry time)
  • Trim: 2-3 days
  • Painting: 3-4 days
  • Flooring Install: 1-2 days
  • Final Touch-ups: 1-2 days
  • Final Inspection: 1 day

Many factors will come in to play but the above durations will give you a general idea of what to expect. Note that the larger the basement or the more customization going into the project, the time frames may be extended. For more details on what goes into each construction stage see below.


During this time the basement walls begin to be constructed and the rooms begin to take shape. Your contractor will also frame any bulkheads needed in the basement. Bulkheads are the framing which go around pre-existing conditions on your basement ceilings. Typically, this would be HVAC runs, gas lines, water lines, etc. Petta Construction ensures to minimize the size and number of bulkheads so they may re-locate water lines, drains and HVAC as required. In the end this will be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and overall design.

Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC Rough Ins

Once framing is complete the Electricians and Plumbers can begin their work.

  • Run/re-route supply lines as required.


  • Run water lines and drains to bathroom toilet, vanity and shower
  • Run water lines and drain to wet bar, if applicable.
  • Break up concrete as needed to run toilet and shower drain lines as required.
  • Install acrylic shower base, if applicable.


  • Install receptacle and switch boxes as required. Generally, a receptacle is installed every 12 linear feet. Note that depending on the layout and size of the room, slight modifications of placement will be made.
  • Install recessed light plates throughout basement and adding vanity and/or closet lights.
  • Run electrical wires to receptacles, switches, recessed lights and light fixture locations.

Once the rough ins have been completed a City Inspector will be called to inspect the work.
Electrical Safety Authority will also be called in to inspect the electrical rough in.


Insulating the stud cavities can begin after the rough ins have been passed by the City Inspector.
Typically, batt insulation is used to insulate all exterior walls followed by the installation of a vapour barrier.


Once the drywall is hung, the mudding and taping process will begin. During this phase the drywallers will tape and mud all the seams that exist in the drywall. Generally, they will apply 3 coats of mud to the seams. Each coat typically takes a day to dry before they can sand and put the following coat of mud on. After 2 coats the drywall is ready for the finish coat followed by sanding all surfaces once the finish coat has fully dried.

Note that drying time will vary depending on the season ie. It may take the mud a day or two longer to dry in the summer months with the homes air conditioning running.
It is best practice for the contractor to schedule the painter to prime the new drywall after it had been sanded. This will consolidate the dust from the sanding process leaving the basement cleaner as this may be the messiest stage of the entire project.


Once drywall is complete and the primer has been applied, Trim Carpenters will come in to begin their work. The first step is to install all of the doors and door casing as well as trim around any basement windows. Once complete the baseboards will be installed.


The basement will really come to life once you start to see some colour on the walls. Normal coat applications are listed below.
Ceiling – 1 coat prime, 1 coat finish (white)
Trim (that does not come primed) – 1 coat prime, 2 coat finish (white)
Trim (that comes primed) – 2 coat finish (white)
Doors (that come primed) – 2 coats per side (white)
Walls – 1 coat prime, 2 coat finish

Flooring Installation

After painting is completed, we are in the home stretch of the basement finish. Floor installers will be brought in to install the floor covering. Generally, the most popular floor covering for a basement is laminate throughout and ceramic tile in bathroom (if applicable).

Part of Petta Construction’s scope of work is installing an innovative sub-floor system for the laminate flooring. This will protect moisture sensitive materials by creating a capillary break. The air-gap allows water vapour pressure above and below the concrete slab to equalize preventing moisture to migrate further in the living space. This membrane also acts as a thermal break and will make the basement floor feel warmer.

Finishing Touch-ups

In the final stages of a basement finish a number of tradespeople previously brought in will all come together to finish their individual pieces of the project.
The electrician will install all the outlet and switch plates along with recessed lights, light fixtures and carbon monoxide/smoke detectors.
Trim carpenters will come back to touch-up any remaining odds and ends like installing door handles, closet shelving and shoe mold as well the bathroom vanity.
The Plumber will install faucets, shower fixtures and the toilet.

Install shower door and panels as well as bathroom accessories.

The most cost-effective way to finish a basement staircase is with carpet and pad with painting the stair stringers. During the final stages of the project carpet installers will install the carpet and pad on the staircase.

Final inspection takes place. Both the City Inspection and Electrical Safety Authority will return.

Typical Basement Finish Timeline Extenders

Some typical features we see in basements that extend timelines are the following:

  • Bar & Bar Countertop
  • Tile showers
  • Staircase: Removal and replacement of your basement staircase with solid oak is also an option if your overall budget permits. This option can really give your basement a custom look as you can have the stairs stained to match your laminate flooring.
  • Customization: Our tradespeople love to do customized work but with it comes additional labour and time to complete. Whenever projects add customized features such as built in cabinets, wine cellars, etc. you can expect the project to take longer. The customized features may be the focal point of your basement so don’t cross them off your wish list but do be aware your Contractor will likely need additional time to complete the work.

This timeline should give you a starting point to determine how long it may take to finish your basement.

A basement finish relies on skilled tradespeople to accomplish a quality job. With that being said, hiring the right Contractor is key to a successful project.

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