Understanding Basement Design when Meeting with an Architect

Posted September 11, 2019

There are three different types of foundations commonly used during the construction of a home - slab foundations, crawlspace foundations, and basements.

With a slab foundation, the home is built extremely close to the ground, which prevents the homeowner from gaining access to the piping and wiring. Crawlspace foundations, on the other hand, provide an access point to these areas because the home is built several feet off of the ground. Finally, basements are made with at least 8 foot ceilings, allowing the homeowner to not only use the area to access plumbing or piping but also use the basement for living space.  

Basements offer many advantages that should be considered when speaking with an architect.    

Storage - First, basements provide an extra level for storing items that you need infrequently. This area can also be used as a place for food storage. Some individuals create media rooms, playrooms, or game rooms in the basement of their homes.   

Deeper Footings - If you live in a cold area of the country, a basement allows for structural footings below the frost line. Building below the frost line prevents freezing and thawing of the footings, which can cause cracking and structural degradation.    

Cooler Location - Basements are located under the ground, which helps them remain cooler on even the hottest days of summer. If you live in an area of the country that is hot, you may want to consider having a basement included in your design.   

Safe Rooms - Basements are built entirely underground. If you live in an area of the country that is prone to bad weather like tornadoes, a basement can provide you a place of shelter during these dangerous storms.   

A Compact Design - A basement creates more living space and is the perfect option for smaller lots, allowing you to have a larger living space without taking away from valuable lawn space.    

As you can see, there are many advantages that basements offer. In addition to this, basements provide several disadvantages that should be considered.    

Stairs - To reach the basement area of your home, you will need to use stairs. Although this is not a problem for most people, it can be an issue if you have mobility issues.   

Poor Lighting - Because a basement is underground and will only have small windows, the natural lighting in a basement will be minimal. You will need to add a variety of ceiling lights as well as lamps to illuminate the basement.   

Humidity - Because basements are located underground, the risk of mildew and mold growth is increased. In addition to this, flooding can be problematic if the area around your home is not adequately sloped, so the moisture drains properly.     

A basement is an area that is at least 8 feet deep. At the bottom of the hole is a concrete slab which the basement walls are built on top of. There are two options for the walls of a basement. Basement walls can be built using cinder blocks, or the walls of the basement can be made with poured concrete.    

Although the cost of the construction of a basement is more than the cost of a slab foundation or crawlspace, the advantages may outweigh the cost.


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