Adding a Basement to an Existing Home
LESLIE: Gary in North Carolina has run out of space at his money pit and needs help looking for more. What can we do for you?
GARY: I was wondering about the ability – about putting a basement in on an existing home.
TOM: OK. So the house right now, is it on a crawlspace?
GARY: Yes, sort of.
TOM: You’re down in North Carolina. The first question I would have is what’s your water table; can you build a basement in the part of the country you are. But I will tell you this, Gary, straight off: gravity being what it is, it would have been a lot easier to build the basement and the house on top of it. Adding a basement now when the house is already built is a pretty major, major project.
LESLIE: That’s a big project.
TOM: I mean there’s two ways to do it: you can replace the entire foundation with one that has a basement; or you could do what we call in the north here a Yankee basement, which basically means you move in a couple of feet from the edge of the crawlspace and dig down there and pick up some space that way. So the crawlspace sits on a retaining wall and then the basement is below that. Those are the two ways to do it. Either way, major, major, major job. It frankly may be easier to go buy a house with a basement (Leslie chuckles) and sell the one you have than try to build one. It’s a big project.
GARY: OK. Well, that sounds like a good plan. I will take that into consideration.
TOM: Alright, Gary, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.