Basements can be one of the main selling points of a home. Continue reading to learn about the various structures and styles of basements. You will also learn the pros and cons of each of them.
Basements can be one of the main selling points of a home. They are a great asset as they can serve as extra storage space, laundry rooms, bedrooms, or offices. Finished basements can notably increase the property value of your home and provide you with a return of investment between 70 to 75 percent.
However, you may be wondering if there are different types of basements and if some are better than others?
As a general rule, there are various types of basements that range from unfinished crawl spaces to completely remodeled apartments. Basements can be entirely or partly underground and come in different sizes, layouts, and finishes.
Continue reading to learn about the various structures and styles of basements. You will also learn the pros and cons of each of them.
Table of Contents
- Types of Basements
- Types of Full Basements
- Types of Basement Construction
- Basement Design Ideas
- Unfinished vs. Finished Basement
- Why Do Some Homes Have No Basements?
Types of Basements
Basements come in a variety of structures that have different purposes. Some structures are unfinished spaces, while others have been completely remodeled to add extra rooms to a home. Here are five different types of basement structures.
A crawl space is a small, unfinished area beneath a house. A typical crawl space is one to three feet in height and only has enough room for a person to crawl, hence the name. It will usually contain your home’s plumbing, air conditioning, heater ductwork, or electrical wiring. A crawl space is also not a good place to store items as they are filled with mold and moisture.
Cellars are entirely below ground and have no windows. These rooms tend to be small, dark, and cold spaces. People typically use them to store wines, produce, and canned foods. Cellars are also used for shelter during storms, making them valuable to homes in areas where tornadoes are common.
A sub-basement is a space beneath the main basement of a home. These types of basements are usually only found in dry climates and are mainly used for storage, and they will sometimes be the location of a home’s boiler and furnace.
Partial basements are spaces half the size of the main floor level. These types of basements are not very common because they are expensive to complete and do not add any benefit to the price of a house. They are best for tiny homes like bungalows, split-level homes, or raised ranches.
Full basements are the same square footage as the main level of the house and are the type of space most people think of when looking for a finished basement. Depending on the area, these basements have ceiling levels between seven and nine feet high, with higher ceilings being more desirable and adding more value.
Types of Full Basements
A full basement is the most sought-after basement variety and is the most likely to add property value when finished. These basements also come in various styles and can be entirely or partly underground.
Daylight basements stretch under the entire home and are where half of the basement is underground, while the rest is above ground.
Some of these basements have windows that are above ground, while others are underground in a window well. The window well allows light in during the day and provides an exit in an emergency. You will usually find daylight basements in homes built on flat lots.
Walk Out Basement
A walk-out basement is designed differently from other basements as it has a door that leads out to the ground level. Homes built on a slope usually have these basements, and they are only partially underground. This basement style is also commonly used for partial basements. These basements are a great extra space, and many people rent them out as apartments for extra income.
Just like a walk-out basement, these basements have a door that you can use to enter or exit the home. The main difference is that to access a walk-up basement; you need to use stairs to access the room.
The walk-up basement door is also usually at the front of a home compared to a walkout basement, where the entrance is on the side or behind the house.
If you are handy, you may like the option of a garage basement. These structures are partly underground and are great places to store and protect your cars and tools.
Garage basements usually only take up half of a full basement, with the rest of the space used for additional rooms or storage.
Types of Basement Construction
Basements not only come in different styles and layouts; there are also various materials used to create these underground spaces.
Poured Concrete Walls
Poured concrete is the most common type of construction material used to build basements. Poured concrete walls are considered the sturdiest and most durable material available on the market and are also the most resistant to water leaks and cracks.
Concrete walls can also be poured into almost any shape or size, which is why most people choose to use them to construct their basements.
Concrete Block or Masonry Walls
Concrete block or masonry walls are a popular basement construction option when you are on a budget. These basement walls are made with cinder blocks, which can be found in any home appliance store.
While concrete blocks and masonry walls are a great way to build your basement quickly and for a low price, they are prone to water leaks which can be very expensive to fix.
Stone and Clay Tile Walls
Stone and clay tile walls are an outdated way to build basements. You will mostly find walls constructed from these materials in older homes since groundwater can easily seep through gaps and cracks that develop over time.
Precast panels are walls made of concrete that are built elsewhere and then brought to a new home to assemble a basement. While precast panels are not standard, they are fast to construct and save homeowners around 23 percent to build compared to poured concrete walls.
Basement Design Ideas
Now that you know about the many different types of basement layouts and constructions, you may wonder how you can design and renovate your basement. Finished basements offer endless possibilities to add extra living space and rooms to your home.
While washers and dryers are typically confined to a small area in many homes, basements are the perfect space for a full-sized laundry room. In addition to appliances, you can also add tables, storage shelves, and a drying rack to style the room.
Basement Wet Bar
If you like to entertain and have friends over for a cocktail, then consider adding a wet bar to your basement.
Large basements are the perfect space to turn into a home theater. This room is ideal for movie buffs and for having friends over.
A finished basement is a great area to turn into a playroom so that your kids have a dedicated space to play and have lots of fun.
If you want to exercise from the comfort of your home, why not add a home gym to your basement. Big full basements offer the perfect place to lift weights, store gym equipment like treadmills, or do yoga.
Want to pursue a new hobby or start an Etsy store? A large full basement is perfect to put a craft room and house all your supplies.
You can add a spare bedroom for guests or family members in your basement if you need extra space. If you have enough room, you can also add an additional bathroom.
As more people work from home, it can be easy to get distracted by pets and kids in an upstairs office. A basement home office is an excellent place to give you peace and quiet so you can focus on work.
A walk-up or walk-out basement gives you an excellent opportunity to turn your additional living space into an apartment. By renovating these types of larger basements, you can create a small living area, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom to rent out for extra money.
If you are a gamer, your basement is an ideal spot to turn into a gaming room. You can add a foosball table, a pool table, or even a large wooden table for board games to turn your basement into a fun space.
If you love to paint and have a smaller basement, a great way to use the space is to turn it into an art studio. This basement design is perfect for daylight basements and walk-out basements.
Unfinished vs. Finished Basement
Whether your basement is finished or unfinished will determine how much extra room your basement will add to your home. It will also influence how much value your basement will add to your home price.
An unfinished basement is not a proper living space. They typically have an incomplete or half-done ceiling with home appliances like water boilers, air conditioning, heating ductwork, and wiring out in the open. These basements also have poor insulation and concrete floors, making them cold and damp places.
A finished basement, meanwhile, has completed floors and ceilings with proper insulation and painted walls. A finished basement is perfect for adding extra living space to your home.
Why Do Some Homes Have No Basements?
While there are many different basements, it is important to note that not every home has one. Builders cannot build basements in areas with sandy soil or where the water table is high, as they will not be able to dig deep underground.
Building a basement in an area with a water table is also extremely costly, so it is not a common practice. In order for a basement to be possible and safe, contractors must build the structure with proper shoring and a waterproofing membrane. Even with these safeguards, cellars built in these conditions are known to be damp and prone to flooding.
In many parts of the United States, a basement structure is not common at all. Basements are most common in the Northeast and the Midwest, while they are scarce in the South and parts of the West Coast due to flooding and earthquakes.