build basement or not

firelossNovember 25, 2010

i have to rebuild my s house lost in a fire. so now the dilema is do i build a basement or not? i previously had a slab foundation and i am perfectly fine with that. i do want ceramic tile in new house wonder if a basement will help keep the main floor tiles warmer or if it would be better to stick with a slab and go for radiant floor heating. i need some advice

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Sorry for your loss. Possessions can be replaced, hopefully no one was injured.

Where do you live? Ground temperature is going to be a big factor.

Typically a basement will be at least warmed to upper 50's even if not finished. Probably warmer than ground temperature upon which a slab rests. Under tile though, radiant heat might still be very comforting on either option.

Where I reside, basements are common because the frost-line is deep and by the time footings are poured it is fairly inexpensive to have a basement. Then, furnace, water heater and other mechanicals are installed there giving additional living space and less noise to the house.

Hope that helps your decision.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 11:03AM
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Also sorry for your loss. My brother in law went back and forth when he built his house (we are also in an area where basements are the norm, slabs are not)...and he decided to save some money and put the house on a slab. He is regretting it greatly. Just in the added space for either living or storage a basement would provide, he wished he would have done a basement. But if you simply won't use the extra space, and don't see yourself ever doing so...might be better saving the extra cost... I myself love my basement and would never go without one.

But even with the wintertime, you won't see me walking barefoot on my kitchen's cold to me...but then I'm cold anyway! My mom has tile floors, and her floors (with a basement) are FREEZING...I was just there today for Thanksgiving...but they keep their house quite cool. We are in's pretty cold here today.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 7:31PM
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thanks, i am leaning toward basement, i was hoping it would help warm upper floors but i didn't even think of the sound damping of laundry and such, that a good point too.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 11:26PM
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I would find it difficult not having one. We store seasonal things there and have finished ours for entertaining.

Here are additional thoughts to discuss with your builder:

Have a deep basement so that the ducts, etc are sufficiently high to enable a finished space with a standard ceiling.

Consider a larger structural beam to minimize or eliminate the support posts.

Have rough-in installed for a bathroom and laundry

Consider a doorway from the basement to the garage or outside for easier transport of items into/out of the basement.

Have quality windows installed rather than the builder standard single-pane ones.

I'm great at spending other peoples $$$'s, but these are things we do not have and wish we did.

Here's a link to our finished space. Good luck with your build.

Here is a link that might be useful: Basement Photos

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 9:46AM
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good thoughts i will have to discuss, love the photos make having a basement look like better idea

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 10:01PM
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I second (third? Fourth?) the votes for a basement. You've got to put the furnace, water heater, laundry, gardening tools, seasonal outdoor furniture etc. somewhere and it might as well be out of the way. It might also give you a place to have a workshop, if that's something you're interested in. Also, I agree that it's super convenient to have direct access from the basement to the outside--it makes it very easy to USE the basement storage; you can just bring your gardening stuff right out to the garden, for example. Having a half-bath down there is also nice; you can come in from gardening or working on the car or whatever and use the bathroom right there, instead of having to get dirt everywhere by going into the main part of the house.

If your house is built on a hill, so much the better: you could build into the hill, putting three sides of the basement underground and the fourth side on the downslope, at ground level, so the basement entrance could be there. That way you don't have stairs to deal with when you're trying to bring the patio furniture or whatever inside. If the topography of your property permits it, you could also have the garage (or at least a one-car garage) in the basement. It's very convenient to drive groceries, kids etc. right into the house when the weather is bad.

As for windows, glass block is a time-honored solution. Leave a small space in it for ventilation (little louvers are popular) and to vent the dryer, and that's all you need; it gives you plenty of light, and great security and energy efficiency relative to regular windows.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 10:54AM
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