Do you need a permit to drywall a basement?

basement renovation permit

You can use the basement as a living room, playroom or use it as an extra room for guests after you drywall a basement. But, is it so easy and doesn’t require any permit? I have researched and pointed out some interesting facts about this type of project.

So, do you need a permit to drywall a basement?  The United States has several zoning and development laws. It is possible that you would require a permit for one state and do not require for another one. Having a permit would help you during insurance issues and against future home equity problems.

Most of us don’t feel like paying an extra permit fee to drywall our basement and therefore don’t take the permit. But You can have to go through a lot of problems in the future if you don’t take a permit and renovate your house.

Why do you need a building permit to drywall a basement?

A building permit is very necessary even if you are not building a new project. The building permit is a certification issued by the state government that approves the construction work according to the zonal or state building code.

You can start your construction work once you get the building permit. Before the construction work starts, a local government official will come for the inspection to check whether your project is as per the code and building standards.

If your project follows all the building standards, then you won’t have to worry about anything during the construction work and it will be completed without any hassle.

This building permit plays a crucial role when something bad happens like your building catches fire. If the construction of your building is as per building standards, then you will get the insurance claims very easily but if it is not as per the building standards then your claim would be rejected and you will have to suffer.

When you drywall your basement you must have a building permit. However, if you drywall a basement and don’t have a building permit for that and local authorities catch you then you will have to pay fine and even break down your basement. This can cost you much.

You will also have to show the construction permit that you would have done while selling. If you have done the construction of your basement and you don’t have the permit, then your property cost will go down and you will have to break down your basement before selling it to another owner.

Projects you definitely need a permit for:

  • Changing the wiring of the house
  • Changing the house structure layout
  • Doing the plumbing work
  • Constructing anything new
  • Renovation projects which would make changes in the house layout

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How much does a drywall permit costs?

The cost of a building permit varies from place to place and from project to project. If you are building a home, then you might have to pay $500 to $1500. However, for just making some changes, the permit will cost you $100 to $500.

The factor that mostly affects the building permit cost is the cost of the project renovation. The higher is the project cost the higher the permit cost you might be paying.

There is one more fee that you need to pay at the time of submitting the project for approval. This feel is known as the submission fee. You need to pay the permit only after your project gets approved.

When is a building permit required?

You would require a building permit for almost every renovations or changes. Even if you are fencing your property, you require a building permit.

However, there are some of the changes that do not require a building permit like painting and flooring home. Simply say, for cosmetic home projects you do not need any building permit.

For most of the projects, the contractor will get the permit approved. But, if you are doing the project renovations yourself then ask for a permit from the contractor before starting the project.

Check the details in the permit given to you and figure out whether you need another permit or not. If required get your new building permit approved before you start to drywall your basement.

How to obtain the permit?

The process of getting the permit seems very frightening if you are getting this done for the first time. However, if you are prepared well then you won’t have to go through many difficulties. I have researched this and therefore put some basic steps that you must follow to get the building permit.

It is better to call your local building authority for better understandings of steps required for submission of permit plan.

  1. The first thing is to plan the project and put the estimated cost of the project and the structural changes.
  2. Once you plan your project, call the local building office and take their feedback on your project. It will help you remove any issues with the project model. You can even visit the website for further project details.
  3. Go and get a building permit application from your local building office. You can also find it on the website, most of them have on their website for easy access.
  4. Complete the application and keep your building plan handy for the submission. The requirements may vary from zone to zine and county to county. Sometimes, you may also have to submit the rendered architectural plan from a licensed architecture.
  5. Submit the building permit application at the local building and pay the submission fee.

Now, wait for the approval of the project. Once the project gets approved you have to pay the permit fee. Begin the construction or renovation now i.e., you can drywall your basement without.

What happens after a building permit is issued?

After your building permit is issued and you start your renovation or construction work you are not done yet. A building inspector will come for inspection during the construction and renovation process to make sure your project is going according to the code.

You can schedule the inspection and make sure to this before you make any changes in the construction.

If any part of the project doesn’t comply with the building code for that area, then you may have to change or start the project work again from the beginning.

So, always stick to the codes and don’t change anything without approval. In the end, this will only benefit you and your construction, even if it is just putting drywall in the basement, will be according to all the zonal codes.

Once the project is completed, the building inspector will come again to check the finished project is according to the building codes and the permit provided to you. The moment the inspector passes the project you are free to enjoy the renovated space.

Related Questions

Do you need a permit to install a drywall? Yes, you must get a permit before starting any new construction or renovation work. Enquire at your local building department for the confirmation. Even if you want to install drywall, an approved permit will keep you away from any fines or issues.

Do basements need insulation? If you are building a basement, insulation is always required according to the building codes. However, check with your local building authority for further clearance.

How much does it cost to drywall a basement? The cost always depends on the locality to live but generally, it is around $2 per square feet. If you are hiring someone to install the drywall for you then you must consider the labor cost and the size of the place that is getting drywalled.


This is the site where I share all of the information about home security. I have been working in this industry from last 10 years and therefore, sharing all my experiences and learnings.

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