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Basement Grading

Posted by houses14 (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 13:54

One says it is $4000 cheaper for grading if I have a basement because my lot is slope to front road (back is hill). And this builder said 6 front door steps max.
Another said it does cost more to dig into a basement, with 3 front door steps.

My lot facing in lower left, from flat and gradually - to higher right 25FT.

Back of the house will be hill not that steeps (may be from 0 to 25FT, I think).

Who should I pick for grading?

Is topographic needed for getting accurate quote from builders? how much is it in Hickory, NC.

Much appreciated !

This post was edited by houses14 on Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 14:02


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Basement Grading

What you're saying doesn't make allot of sense.


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RE: Basement Grading

A topo survey with your home plans correctly fitted to the terrain is really the only way you can be sure of what you're going to end up with.

There was another post on here last year where someone posted saying their builder swore up and down they'd have no stairs in from their garage and they ended up 7.

If it's not shown on your plans, it's probably not part of your contract and thus you have no real way of guaranteeing you'll get what you want. This is the challenge when using internet plans developed by someone who has never even visited the site. A local architect should be able to do drawings for you that correctly show the elevation of the house as it relates to the terrain.


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RE: Basement Grading

Hello Caben,

I have my plan drawn from local architect without basement. Now, i would like to have a full walk-out basement. He will add to it once i decided.
Although, before doing that, i was trying to know what is the cost for grading of a basement. Two builders with two different gradings, which is worried me.
The expensive grading guy has big company and is first on list of many high end builders. This builder has 15 years experienced and work from home. He does the cost plus fixed fee
The less expensive grading one, who does not that heavy overhead. But this builder has over 30 years of building using his own hands from ground to roof, and currently just do the office work for his construction company. He uses fixed contract only


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RE: Basement Grading

If the architect hasn't drawn the basement plans yet, how can the builders know how many steps there will be to the front door? And since you said the hill is in the back, it sounds like your yard slopes down from the back to the front. If that is the case, the walkout part would be in the front, so it sounds like you would need a whole flight of stairs.


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RE: Basement Grading

dek, that was my first impression also is why it didn't make any sense. I have 'never' seen a house with a walkout basement in the 'front'. That would look really weird.


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RE: Basement Grading

Walk-out basement will be on lower left side


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RE: Basement Grading

ok, that makes more sense. We have a house in our neighborhood with a partial basement on the right side which is the garage. They have ALLOT of steps to walk to get to the front door! They have one landing half way up and then the stairs change dir. to go to the front door.


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RE: Basement Grading

houses, I'm about 80 miles from you, near Asheville.

In this part of the country, a walkout basement should reduce heating and cooling costs. (I don't know exactly how that works out: whether the basement pays for itself or not, and in how many years.)

30 years ago my parents built on a sloping lot several miles from here. The house was designed to have a partial walkout basement on one side and the back. The front yard was levelled with fill -- so the house is not below road level -- and the side with the basement garage was excavated. There are 2 steps up to the front porch. They built a high retaining wall between the level front yard and the side garage entrance, and a much shorter retaining wall was needed on the far side of the driveway. On the other side of the house, the slope is gradual.

Besides the driveway down to the garage, there is a circular driveway in front of the house, so shopping items can be unloaded at the first floor level, guests can park there, and deliveries can be made there.

My house (60 years old) was also built on a sloping lot; the first floor is a foot or two below street level. The lower part of the front lawn is a foot or so below what is ground level at the front door (ground level at the front door is two steps below the first floor). Much of the front yard was fill; it was carefully graded so that runoff from the street flows to either side of the house rather than toward it.

The basement is walkout on the back of the left side (a single garage door), and across most of the back. The back yard slopes down more gently to a tiny creek several hundred feet away.

Besides the single basement garage (which the previous owners hadn't used as a garage for many years), there is a single first-floor carport on the opposite side of the house, with a wide driveway (asphalt, west side of the house, very hot) which I have partly returned to lawn and a deeper foundation bed.


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RE: Basement Grading

Much appreciate all for your sharing!

My 3-car garage will be direct front load from the road and on Higher Right side.
It has circular driveway.

The basement will be on Lower Left side and it is not in back.

Back of the house is hill, and will have a patio from back door without deck. May be couple steps down to reach patio.

--The cheap grading guy says no need to dig into the dirt because my basement floor will be 1-2FT higher than the front road, that way it could not face with water drainage.

--The expensive grading guy said, more dirt to dig for basement. Therefore it will cost more. (this guy has big company with 12 employees, many high end builders like him)

The issue is, who should I trust? I want to do it right, and not spend more if unnecessarily.


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RE: Basement Grading

I would suggest getting 2-3 more bids and see what how the consensus comes out.


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