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Basement kit

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Many houses in the American south and west are without basements - houses rest on a poured slab. This is baffling to me. In California, real estate is expensive, and the extra storage space would be useful.

I propose a do it yourself basement kit. These basements would be accessed from outdoors. The kit would have struts to fortify the tunnel as you dug down under the slab, and further struts to augment the slab as you excavated beneath it. In addition, the kit would come with instructions on how to go about your excavation and how to finish the space once it was hollowed out. I would imagine this kit would be useful for do-it-yourselfers, or used by contractors hired for the job. In the end, you would have a fine space under your home.

bungston, Jun 17 2003

The London Basement Company http://www.tlbc.co.uk/newhome.html
These people are building a basement just round the corner from me at the moment. [hippo, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

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       I have been watching one of these being built under a house on my way home, every day. weird.
po, Jun 17 2003
  

       I take it this comes from a real-world dissatisfaction. What aisle would it go in at the home-improvement store?
kevindimie, Jun 17 2003
  

       [Burns] - that's why there are struts. Plenty of struts. [Dimie] - it would go under the hardware store, obviously.
bungston, Jun 17 2003
  

       surely, digging a basement is hardly deep enough to start an earthquake.   

       why so rare in Oz, UB?
po, Jun 17 2003
  

       hey [po] - do you mean to say you saw someone putting in an addon basement already? So if this baked let me know quick so I can keep curry/waugs from branding it so.
bungston, Jun 17 2003
  

       3 storey house on my route home is having a basement added. I wink at the contractor every day - I should know. take a pic if you like.
po, Jun 17 2003
  

       When you say 'basement', do you mean 'foundation'?
waugsqueke, Jun 17 2003
  

       I have seen this too, but it is usually only practical to do this in homes that were built with a "crawl space" under the first floor.   

       Most modern homes that are truly built on a slab don't have anything other than the slab to act as the first floor. Digging out from under that slab would cause various stability/structural issues with the house itself. (I'm not talking about the house falling into the hole, but the house itself remaining structurally stiff).   

       When there is a crawlspace already, the first floor is typically already constructed the way it would have been with a basement, and building one is simply an excavation issue.
krelnik, Jun 17 2003
  

       [Waugs] - my understanding is that foundations need not be hollow. They could just be poured concrete - ie a slab. By basement I mean a place where you can jam with the band, store sleds, brew beer, etc. I worried about the slab being sound with a hole underneath as well - thus the liberal use of struts. Strong struts.
bungston, Jun 17 2003
  

       a house built on 2 or 3 floors.   

       contractor now builds a floor beneath the ground floor.not a crawl space - a whole new floor. a little like putting in an attic space.   

       don't ask me - I am not an engineer.   

       shall I stop and ask - on my way home tomorrow?
po, Jun 17 2003
  

       no, I stopped that - poor jutta is tired of our awfuk silly in-jokes.
po, Jun 17 2003
  

       I've seen this done with the foundation/basement built at a different location, and the house then moved onto it.
waugsqueke, Jun 17 2003
  

       po - you've already laid the foundation with all your winking. Now proceed to the first story of this structure between you and this strapping, manly contractor. Bring a printout of this lame little discussion for his amusement (this paragraph omitted, of course). Bring a camera to take a photo for later linkage. Maybe get a tour of the new basement. Who knows what the second story might hold?
bungston, Jun 17 2003
  

       ;)
po, Jun 17 2003
  

       In a small town in Idaho, I saw a sight that seemed awfully odd. It was a normal looking neighborhood with fairly small houses. The odd part was that every now and then you'd just see a roof. No house, just roof. The roof was at ground level, and there would be stairs down to a door - a basement door. My best guess is that people saved up for a basement to live in and would later on afford to build a house on top, then maybe a second floor. Kind of the opposite of the current idea.
Worldgineer, Jun 17 2003
  

       Basements (or cellars) are a good idea in regions with extreme climates, as they tend to stay at a reasonably constant (15 C-ish) temperature all year round, and are good for keeping wine in. (+)
8th of 7, Jun 17 2003
  

       I lived in a house that had a basement added last. Actually, it had everything added last: it started out as a 2-room house in 1905, later acquired a back porch, sun room, living room, indoor plumbing, county assessor's office, electricity (bare wires embedded in plaster), four upstairs bedrooms, and finally, a basement. Since the ground under the basement hadn't been properly compacted, the house had to be raised with jacks about every six months to keep the upstairs level.
lurch, Jun 17 2003
  

       Basements are very popular in Michigan (northern USA) but almost unheard of here in southeastern Virgina primarily due to the level of the water table. I have one, but only because my house used to burn coal (c. 1920) and that's where it was stored.   

       That said, I think it's fairly well established that it's possible to retofit a house with a basement, regardless of the original foundation.
phoenix, Jun 17 2003
  

       Properly installed with drain tiles & sump pumps, an add-on basement would be relatively easy to do... my father put a basement under his camp nearly entirely by himself (I helped when the footing needed pouring) by stringing it up with straps & ropes tied to trees. Blocking was done with railway ties and voilà! A completed basement! You can e-mail me for further instructions, and also DON'T DO THIS BY YOURSELF! We were very angry with my father for doing this on his own, but in the end, since he's the ultimate DIYer, it was finished the way HE wanted without his getting upset for anyone else's mistakes.
Cr0esus47, Jun 20 2003
  

       ah, so desu (as Star might say) the one I have been watching, although its a large house, it is part of a terrace and so is being held up by the houses on each side. its such fun watching the men popping in and out of a little hole under the front bay window like little moles. the foreman is so cute! <g>
po, Jun 20 2003
  

       Basements are good. More people should be able to have basements. +
angel, Jun 20 2003
  

       po: have you noticed any unusual odors? If not - bags of lime being wheelbarrowed in? If they go in, do they come out? By chance, would the homeowner's name be "Gacy"?
thumbwax, Jun 20 2003
  

       the dog found a funny bone, is that a coincidence?
po, Jun 20 2003
  

       This topic doesn't seem to be very active - but this is something that I am considering doing. I have a crawlspace with sand floor. Seems I should be able to dig down and pour some concrete walls.   

       I started digging last night - got a hole 2 feet down - 4 feet wide - 2 feet long in about 45 minutes. Just might be possible!!
dsugar100, Oct 08 2003
  
      
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