Installing trim is not hard to do and will transform the look of your finished basement from "under construction" to "I like to party... with class". By doing it yourself you can save big on labor and it's actually kind of fun.
In this post I'll show you exactly what I paid for my basement trim. Plus, I'll break down each component and tell you why you need it and what to look for when you buy it.
Let's start with this detailed break-down of the trim cost for my basement. Keep in mind this was for a 1200 square foot basement with 5 doors and 3 windows. Your cost may be more or less depending on your situation.
Finished Basement Trim Cost Breakdown
|Base Trim||207||1.35||$279.45||quantity is in linear feet|
|Shoe Molding||207||1.25||$258.75||quantity is in linear feet|
|Door Trim||120||1.50||$180.00||5 doors, 2 reg., 2 extra wide, 1 double|
|Window Trim||48||1.50||$72.00||3 windows at 16 lf per window|
|Decorative Trim||70||1.50||$105.00||chaulk board, art niche, built-in shelfs|
|Trim Blade||1||30.00||$30.00||for a 10" blade|
|Brad Nailer||1||60.00||$60.00||price is for reconditioned (new is $120)|
|18 Gauge Brad Nails||2||7.50||$15.00||2 boxes of 1000|
|Custom Trim||2||14.00||$28.00||8 foot 6 x 1 pine board|
|Plinthe Blocks||2||4.50||$9.00||for walk out doors|
|Trim Paint||1||23.00||$23.00||gallon of Behr semi-gloss|
|Total Basement Trim Cost||$1,077.70|
Here's what you'll need to buy when you're ready to trim your basement:
#1 A Brad Nailer
This will save you a ton, ton, ton of time and frustration. Nailing and countersinking tiny nails by hand would be like eating soup with chop-sticks.
If you split or damage a 16 foot trim piece you'll be throwing about $20 out the window.
I'm assuming you already have an air compressor from the framing portion of the project, if not you'll need one.
#2 Brad Nails
I like to use 1 1/2 inch nails. They hold the trim tight to the wall even if you have to force it at certain points.
You don't have to buy "Rigid" brand nails (I'm not even sure if they make them) any brand will work.
#3 A Trim Blade
More than likely your miter saw came with a rough cut blade. This is great for cutting 2 x 4s and other larger lumber pieces. It is not so great for trim.
A trim blade will give you a much cleaner cut because it won't "pull" at the wood like a larger tooth blade.
It's worth the time and money to swap the blade out. Trust me.
#4 Caulk for Trim
I used about 5 tubes of caulk if I include the windows, doors and base trim.
I recommend DAP Alex Plus caulk (White). I tried about 3 different brands and varieties. DAP was the easiest to work with and gave me the cleanest lines.
#5 Basement Trim
Trim at Home Depot is sold by the linear foot. The fiberboard trim runs about 1.25 to 1.50 per foot.
You can estimate the rough cost by measuring the perimeter of your basement walls and multiplying by the cost per foot.
Don't forget to include doors and windows. I've broken out the trim costs into logical sections in the table at the top.
#6 Trim Paint
You should buy pre-primed trim but you'll still want to put a finish coat or two on it. I went with an off-white color called "Glow" by Behr Paint.
I used a semi-gloss sheen for the trim and eggshell for the walls.
If I recall, I only needed a gallon and still had some left over. I even painted the pegboard in my workroom with the same color - really dressed it up!
#7 Plinth Blocks
I used two plinth blocks when I was framing out my double basement entrance door. I thought the regular trim would look a bit small compared to the "big-ness" (if I may use that word) of the doors. Plinth blocks run about $4 depending on the size.
#8 Custom Trim for your Finished Basement
For my basement bathroom I really wanted to create a custom look with some big oversized base trim. So I bought some 8 foot long, 6 inch by 1 inch boards and then painted them a dark brown to match the door (which I had also painted brown).
#9 Shoe Molding
This one is sort of optional. When you install your base trim you want to leave a gap (about the width of the trim) between the concrete floor and the bottom of the trim. Shoe molding covers this gap if you have install engineered hardwood or laminate flooring . If you install carpet then the gap will be filled with (you guessed it) "carpet" and you won't need shoe molding.
Most people don't seem to notice that it's not there. And by most people I mean the kids, who could care less if I have trim at all!
If you're just starting your basement project hopefully this helps you with figuring out the cost of finishing your basement. If you're already at the trim stage, congrats, you're almost finished!
If you'd like a free copy of my basement cost estimating spreadsheet (including the trim spreadsheet in this post) just sign-up for the newsletter below and I'll email you a copy.
Cheers - Jason
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