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What are the Best Tips for Adding a Basement?

Alex Tree
Alex Tree

Before adding a basement, it is best to start with an estimate on how much the project will cost. Other important factors are finding reliable contractors to complete part or all of the work and testing the soil the basement will be dug in. In fact, testing the soil is usually crucial to finding out if adding a basement is a viable option. Adding a basement to a home has many advantages, but it can have just as many problems, both foreseen and unforeseen. Either way, creating a basement is a project that the vast majority of people cannot safely complete without a professional’s help and a lot of planning.

Speaking with a contractor can help estimate the potential costs, but it is usually wise to speak with multiple contractors to get more than one quote, especially with large projects. Sometimes adding a basement is just as expensive if not more than adding a second story to a building. Adding additional rooms on the ground floor may also be cheaper than digging a basement. After getting quotes, the home owner can compare the prices of each of these projects and then decide if he or she wants to move on with the basement plans.

A man installing a basement floor.
A man installing a basement floor.

In most cases, a house must be lifted to create a basement; a house moving company should typically be called in for this step. Depending on how the house was built, lifting the house can be both complicated and expensive. Some possible complications include disturbing or accidentally breaking pipes, a lot of creaking as the house resettles, and cracked walls. It is prudent to have the house thoroughly inspected before lifting it because the contractors may find that the foundation is not stable enough to go through with the project.

The kind of soil under the house is usually a deciding factor in whether the local authority will permit the home owner to build a basement. Some soils are sturdy and can take on a significant amount of weight without compressing too much. Other soils are particularly weak, and building a basement on weak soil is rarely a good idea. While knowing the cost and shaping plans are vital to adding a basement, none of it matters if the soil under the home is not fit for adding a basement. Finding out if neighboring houses have basements can be beneficial, but having the soil tested is a more reliable way to determine the soil’s strengths and weaknesses.

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    • A man installing a basement floor.
      By: Lilyana Vynogradova
      A man installing a basement floor.