Love them or hate them, basements are some of the most common parts of homes across North America. Alongside the likes of crawl spaces, homeowners use them for various purposes. From storage to additional living space, they’re pretty handy and versatile. Also, they’re popular in films and TV shows, which depict them as places for people to play tabletop games or simply hang out with friends and family.
Interestingly enough, the Census Bureau estimates that 42 million homeowners have a basement unit in their home. While basements may not be as popular or common in southern areas like North Carolina, they do have their place in some homes in the area. Let’s delve into everything there is to know about them. From different types to their pros and cons, we’ll cover all the necessary ground for you to keep them safe and secure.
What Are Basements?
Before we continue any further, it’s essential to explain what these areas are. Namely, a basement is an underground room, or a part of a room, that’s partially or entirely beneath ground level.
Their initial purpose was to store different things like food, wine, and even water. However, being underground as they are, they are a perfect place for mold and pests of all kinds to gather and cause different problems. Most homeowners have trouble with mildew and floods, but that’s something you can avoid. Nevertheless, we’ll talk about that a bit later on.
If you waterproof your basement, you can make it a comfortable and clean place for all sorts of different needs. It’s now pretty much standard for American families to use them as additional space for workouts, guest rooms, and hobbies.
- Cellars: Sitting beneath a small portion of a home, homeowners use cellars mainly for storing food and drinks (wine, craft beer, and water). They have plenty of standing room, which allows you to bring down food and beverages with little to no fuss. Their height also gives you an option to renovate them into additional space.
- Daylight: As we’ve said, some basements aren’t fully underground. Daylight types are half under and a half above the ground level. The part that’s above usually has windows that allow sunlight to come inside. These can span across your home, doubling your living space.
- Walkout: Traditional basements have stairs that lead you into the rest of the building. However, walkout types have doors that allow you to exit directly into your yard. They can be partially underground which means that homeowners will use stairs to reach the ground level. Also, they usually have windows that you can open and close freely. This also makes them suitable for renovating into a living space.
- Subbasements: Underneath daylight and walkout basements, some homes can have a subbasement level. These floors are completely underground with no doors or windows looking outside. Hence, homeowners enter them via a staircase.
Just like other parts of your home, you can build a basement from different materials. Here, we’ll list three of the most common design types.
- Basements with concrete block walls: Many homes have basements with concrete block walls. These types have numerous joints where the blocks intertwine, which makes them sensitive to water leakage. However, you can mend this problem with professional help. Repair crews can install waterproofing along your block walls, preventing any further water-related damage.
- Precast panel basements: Budget-friendly, precast panel basements are a perfect choice for homeowners looking to save their hard-earned money for other construction elements. Builders construct them off-site and lift them into place using a crane. They usually come in the form of high-strength, low-water concrete that helps prevent water damage.
- Basements with poured concrete walls: Unlike the previous two, poured concrete walls are the most popular choice in the U.S. Builders pour concrete into wooden forms and let it cure. The advantage of such walls is that they don’t have any joints that can let water in. They’re also fire-resistant, strong, and reliable, allowing heavier walls above them.
The Pros and Cons of Having a Basement
It’s important to be frank here. Like anything else out there, basements have both pros and cons.
Here’s a list of both:
- Extra space: Basements allow you additional space, maximizing the square footage of your home.
- Easily convertible: You don’t need to be an engineer to convert your basement into a new living space, as comfortable and cozy as any other room in your home. But you will need some professional help to ensure its safety.
- Retail value: Homes with basements have a higher value on the market. And if you’re looking to sell, you’ll have more serious buyers looking to contact you.
- Seasonal comfort: During a heatwave, you can find cool comfort inside your basement.
- Safe rooms: Your basement can offer you protection during a storm or some other dangerous environmental hazard since it’s fully or partially underground.
- Construction cost: Since building a basement means more work, it’s going to affect your budget more than going for a home without one. In other words, they require additional plans and deeper foundations that cost more money.
- Dampness and moisture: Basements are perfect for mold and mildew. The thing is, they’re underground where it’s likely to be damp and humid.
- Flooding: Floods are common problems for people who have basements. This is especially true if you don’t have a proper drainage system that includes a sump pump, for example.
Waterproofing Your Basement
Even if they’re great for numerous purposes, basements can be a major chore to keep in perfect condition. From flooding to mold and mildew, they’re prone to various issues. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. If you waterproof your basement properly, you will enjoy all its comforts and advantages.
If you are noticing problems in your basement, the expert team at Tar Heel Basement Systems has you covered. Don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free inspection and repair quote. After one of our inspectors evaluates your home and basement, they’ll offer you solutions that will help repair your basement walls and make your home safe for years to come.