Popular Types of Basement Options for Homes

Construction Options for Home BasementsNot every Palisades of Summerlin home has a basement, but those that do typically have one of three construction materials present: poured concrete, block/masonry or precast panels. Amid these categories, a basement can also be one of many styles depending on the location of the dwelling and the type of foundation it rests upon. Here's the scoop on home basement construction.

The Wide Appeal of Concrete Basements

Basements encased in concrete are by far the most typical type found on homesteads. Poured concrete basement walls are very resilient and resistant to cave-ins due to the natural pressure from the earth, water and wind. Concrete blocks are also fire resistant and water resistant, but solid walls create joint-free basements with smaller voids to boost those properties.

Potential drawbacks to concrete include that they can bow a bit easier than other types as pressure weakens mortar joints. Over time, excessive hydrostatic pressure beyond the basement's walls can allow water to permeate—particularly in concrete block designs.

Masonry Basements

This basement style consists of masonry or cinder-block units connected to each other to ensure the walls are waterproof. Masonry is generally the least expensive basement material option and is highly resilient. They are much easier to install, so owners reap financial savings on labor and materials. These walls are very durable, especially when reinforced with steel rebar.

Precast Panel Basement Constructions

Precast panel basements are the culmination of pre-poured concrete panels that are molded off-site and then lifted into their final resting place with a crane. As with traditionally poured concrete walls, pre-cast panels are amazingly strong and resilient. While they offer superior waterproof qualities, precast basements can have moisture issues if proper sealing to the joists is neglected. These panels also require treatment with boric acid to prevent attracting pests.

Specific Styles of Basements Home Buyers May Encounter

Beyond the materials they are made of, basements also have a variety of terms that accompany the various layouts and styles. Style may be a matter of preference or it may be dictated by where the home is located geographically—or a combination of those and other factors. Here are some common types of basement constructions encountered in homes.

  • Full Basement: This is ideal for many homeowners who want storage equal to the size of the home or want a fully habitable space for an occupant or for an entertainment room. Full basements are often turned into man caves, teenager hangouts, and offices.
  • Partial Basement: As the name suggests, these don't reside underneath the entire home, but only are present under the home partially. These are common in split-level homes, older homes and on dwellings that have made new additions specifically to include a partial basement.
  • Crawlspaces: These under-the-home zones can be small or large, but they generally don't allow one to stand up. A crawlspace often serves as a storage space for rarely used items and as an access point for plumbing and utility lines.
  • Walkout Basement: Also called walk-in basements, these spaces can be literally walked out of, and walkout basements are most often built into a hill or slope.
  • Walk-up Basement: Similar to walkout basements with the exception that there will be an outside entry to the basement, typically in the front or rear of the home.

Regardless of the type of basement you're interested in, be sure that if it is to be a new-construction basement, that you inquire about any permit requirements and/or natural phenomenon that may affect the integrity of a basement in your region.

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