Full basement or partial?

TammyTEJune 25, 2013

How much money will doing a partial basement save us? Is it worth it? We have to have the whole wall poured down the middle so I don't see how it would save much.

Thoughts?

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lsst

We did a partial basement and regret it.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:06PM
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TammyTE

Just not enough room or savings or...?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:07PM
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zone4newby

Our builder and architect told us it saves very little in our state-- apparently crawl spaces are required to have concrete floors now here, so there's not much savings-- just a little bit less concrete.

Even if gravel floors are permitted in crawlspaces where you are, I don't think I'd want to do that if radon is an issue in your area.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:13PM
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TammyTE

Gravel is allowed. I have heard of houses having radon issues. Not sure if it's a problem moreso than anywhere else but I have definitely heard of it here.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:15PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Go full basement and add the pipes in case radon proves to be an issue.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:21PM
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zone4newby

A solid concrete floor makes a HUGE difference in keeping radon out of your house.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:22PM
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TammyTE

Oh that's good to know. I had no idea.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 11:25PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Actually we went with a solid concrete floor with insulation underneath and it did NOT abate the radon. Radon is supposed to be no more than 4 and our reading was around 70. Fortunately we did install the pipes under the foundation in case it was an issue. So after testing, all we had to do was have them install the fan. Since then, our radon is below 2. The point of the pipes is to capture the radon below the foundation and exhaust it so it doesn't even enter the house.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 8:11AM
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virgilcarter

If you build a basement you might as well make sure that the desirable head height for a finished basement ceiling is possible. It you do finish the basement it will make a huge difference in the "livability" of the space.

Too often folks will let the builder either excavate or construct minimal height stem walls, resulting in a finished ceiling that may be barely 7' or so. It only takes another foot or so of excavation or height of the stem wall to accommodate a reasonable ceiling height.

Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 8:26AM
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TammyTE

Thanks. I'll check into the pipes. We plan on the ceiling height to be 9'. That would make it 8' finished right?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:32AM
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chicagoans

You have 5 kids, I think? I'd definitely go full basement. (Even with just 2 kids I'd say full!)

We use ours all the time. It's finished, not real fancy, but there's a fridge, second laundry room, guest room, full bath and fireplace. It is home to a treadmill, TV / video game stuff, drum set, amps/bass guitar, and myriad storage stuff (holiday decorations, camping gear, out of season coats, blah blah blah.)

My kids, esp. my son, hang out there all the time with friends, and it's great for overnight guests as they have their own space with bathroom.

It can always be finished later, but now is the right time to plan for ceiling height (as you are) and plumbing.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 12:34PM
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virgilcarter

If your planned ceiling height is 8'-0, then your floor to floor height will need to at least be 9'-0. That doesn't account for forced air duct horizontal distribution which may be 12" or so lower than the bottom of the floor joists or beams.

You will need to check the necessary structural framing required to support the floors above the basement, and how HVAC will be accomplished in the basement in order to verify how you will handle the basement vertical dimensions.

Just assuming that 9'-0 floor to floor will be sufficient is how low basement ceilings often result, since the framers and HVAC crews may not pay know or care about your preferred ceiling heights. They simply take the room they need for their trades and leave the owner with the result.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 12:37PM
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TammyTE

Okay thank you. All great info.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 12:55PM
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bdpeck-charlotte

I'd do at least 10' walls, some HVAC Return lines are huge. We had to build coffers (with HVAC lines in the dropped sections) so the ceiling wasn't super low... and it turned into a nice element instead of a flat ceiling.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 1:51PM
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Zoe52

We have a load bearing beam (?) held in place by a number of metal pipes in our current basement that runs through the middle of it. Otherwise the ceiling height even with our drop ceiling would have been fine. We clear the beam as we are all under 6 feet tall, but when anyone comes downstairs here who is 6 feet or over, I have to remind them to duck when they cross the middle of the room. So make sure you have a deep enough basement for head clearance if they have to install a load bearing beam as they did here.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 6:53PM
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TammyTE

Thank you all. :)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 7:02PM
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