The Benefits of a Basement

We all know that a good, well-built house begins with a good foundation. But what if you could gain some added value out of that foundation?

You can! It’s called a “basement.”

Yes, the basement … For some of us, the basement was the epicenter of our teen years; for others, it’s the designated home office space. For homes of high style and fashion, it’s where family and friends gather in the home theatre.

When I talk with future homeowners about building their house, the subject of a basement is often part of the conversation. And here’s what I advise: The basement is the most cost-effective addition of living space you can achieve.

Every house must have a foundation with which there is a minimum amount of associated cost. With a comparatively minimal additional investment (an average of $15 a square foot depending on basement layout, grade, etc.) you gain additional living space as well as a substantial increase in property value. An added perk: according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a well-insulated basement can gain the average homeowner between $200 and $400 a year in heating and cooling costs.

Other perks, according to the Concrete Foundations Association of North America:

A basement provides a safe haven from Mother Nature’s woes that can plague homeowners. It’s the “go-to-place” during a tornado warning and prevents ground water from penetrating your living space. Cast-in-place concrete is also a great way to protect your home from rodents and other pests.

You gain a warm, dry area for storage, freeing up your upstairs space for other uses. In addition, there’s easy access to heating, plumbing, electrical, gas and other services with a full basement.

Your basement can even be a source of income … ever think about turning your basement into a rental unit?

Obviously, the basement has come a long way since it was deemed the “rec room” back in the day. In the last few years, we have created basements that contained basketball courts, bowling alleys and wine tasting rooms complete with walk-in wine cellars. Today’s basements, created from poured concrete foundations, are no longer “dark and dank;” they can do just about everything that upstairs space can accomplish.