Adding a basement to a house is not the easiest task, but it is possible if your home meets certain conditions. More basement space is very handy for storage or for specific functions like having a home theater or an extra studio for renters. Before you arrange for installation, though, find out the answers to these questions.
How Much Existing Space Is There?
Is this going to be a completely new space? Is there a crawlspace already under the house? Is there a smaller basement that you want to expand? The amount of space that's already been excavated and shored up under the house is important. It's a lot easier to add to existing under-house space than to create entirely new space. Houses are built to stand on a certain type of foundation (i.e., there are many types of foundations, but the house structure itself is built specifically for the type of foundation it's on), and adding a completely new basement will change how the house has to be supported. In many cases, the house has to be lifted up a bit while the foundation and other supports are being modified or replaced.
What's the Ground Type?
Some ground types just aren't suitable for basements. If your soil is thick, hard clay; limestone; or another hard, difficult-to-dig material, a basement is likely to be a no-go for you. Softer soil is easier to dig into and thus is a better sign that adding a basement may be possible.
Are There Slopes? -- These Could Be Good
A house built on a slope may have an advantage because you can have a walk-in basement installed. This would be a lower level that has an entrance to the outside. Part of the slope would be excavated and the basement, or new ground floor if you want to look at it that way, added in place of the missing portion of the slope.
What Are Average Water Table Levels?
Water table levels make basement additions tricky. You'll need a sump pump and excellent drainage and waterproofing to prevent water from seeping into the basement. It's not impossible to do, but it does add a layer of complication to the construction and use of the basement.
In many cases, what seems like a negative can be worked around, so don't be too disappointed if you find your land isn't perfect for adding a basement. Talk to contractors and see what they've done for other homes in your area. Contact a company like Hanover Concrete Company to learn more.