Can You Add A Walkout Basement?

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Walkout basements serve many benefits in houses from their value to their utility. Some homes already have walkouts built-in, while for others, homeowners might plan to add one. If you are one of the latter in this example, we've researched whether you can add a walkout basement to your current home.

Yes, you can add a walkout basement to an existing home. Houses located on a natural slope make this project easier due to the walkout basement's structure. However, you can also add a walkout basement to a flat lot although, it might require more excavation at a greater expense.

It is exciting to have new add-ons to your house. It does not only give you a sense of accomplishment, but it makes the house more functional according to your preferences. If you're planning to add that walkout basement to your house, then you can read further to learn how to make this possible!

View of Framed Walkout Basement Walls at New Construction Site, Can You Add A Walkout Basement?

Adding a Walkout Basement: Things To Consider

An American home with a walkout basement

Cost

It is important to build your budget first before anything else for the reason that it can vary according to the level of your experience in renovation, the materials, and the experts needed in doing the job.

A DIY walkout basement can make a lot of difference when it comes to expenses. The lowest cost of this kind of project can make you spend at least $3,000 to $18,000 depending on the tools and equipment that you are going to invest in.

Also, be prepared for some additional costs in terms of the building permit, added taxes, and increased home values once you get your walkout basement done.

Forbes indicates that the highest cost of finishing a walkout basement can go upwards of $80,000 but then again, it can also depend on how you manage the flow of your budget, your team, and the materials.

It is highly advisable to consult the expertise of the following licensed professionals before undertaking this project:

  • Plumbers
  • Window Specialists
  • Insulation Installers
  • Electricians
  • Foundation Repair Specialists
  • Construction Company

Excavating & Building

Adding a walkout basement takes many steps. It is going to involve methods for earth grading to get the accurate slope needed for the walkout.

A construction company can best manage this job. They'll have appropriate heavy equipment and expertise to level and excavate the land in different kinds of regions. Aside from that, the construction team will pour concrete into the footers for the outline of the floor foundation and walls.

Hiring a construction company is highly recommended since the very first process involves a lot of heavy work. They can assure professional accuracy for the groundwork of the walkout basement. Doing this job all by yourself risks the quality of the foundation and your safety.

After the construction, the next steps will involve the following:

  • Waterproofing
  • Plumbing
  • Adding sump pumps
  • Adding egress windows and doors
  • Adding stairs and railings
  • Adding insulation
  • Electrical fixtures
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Flooring
  • Painting

Some of this work can absolutely be done by yourself, especially if you have the knowledge and capacity. However, some jobs will still require contractors specifically in adding the egress windows and doors because these are essential elements for the standout look of the walkout basement.

You can also check out the following article on our site for more details on the processes involved when adding walkout basements: "How Long Does It Take to Build A Basement?"

worker applies bitumen mastic on the foundation

Ongoing Maintenance

It is worthy to note the ongoing maintenance that comes before and after adding a walkout basement.

During the winter, frost can build up in the walkout's walls producing moisture that can make it rot. And in summer, the heat may cause the painted walls to crack.

R.W. West also shares some tips when it comes to checking basements during the autumn as leaves may possibly clog the gutters and the windy seasons can clog the downspouts. So it's important to check if the water in your basement is running properly.

This goes for checking your sump pumps as well. In case they are installed in your basement.

What's more, you also need to check the landscaping of your house and ensure that water does not build up in your foundation because this can give you additional headaches in the context of repairs. If necessary, take preventative measures to waterproof the foundation.

It's best to also insulate your walkout to avoid water damage since walkout basements are prone to a lot of moisture.

Am empty room interior in the basement with bare concrete walls and ladders

Can You Convert An Ordinary Basement Into A Walkout Basement?

Converting an ordinary basement into a walkout basement is absolutely possible. This can be an advantage as it may only need a few renovations instead of going all-out for new construction.

If the area does not need to be excavated, it will only be marked with stakes and a backhoe operator can clear the soil to help you start with the work, and then you can finish the rest.

However, there are some other factors that you need to consider before doing so. First, you must make sure to have an ample amount of land to dig your walkout area and add access.

Second, remodeling a walkout can affect the structural design of your home and so it is best to keep it intact by consulting a professional with the designs and construction plans.

Lastly, always remember to prioritize the quality and function of your basement. This means ensuring the completed walkout area will meet your needs while not being a detriment to the house structure.

Unfinished new build interior construction basement renovation ground floor Inside selected focus

Can You Build A Walkout Basement On Flat Land?

With a great team of excavators and the right soil type, a walkout basement on level land is possible.

It takes the same procedure as discussed above. Building a walkout basement on flat land is more likely going to involve a lot of excavation since you are going to need the right slope that will suit your walkout basement.

You can read the article "How Much Slope Do You Need For A Walkout Basement" for ideas and tips on digging the walkout basement.

Which Foundation Types Are Best For A Walkout Basement?

Slab

This is not only the best but the most well-known type of foundation for a walkout basement. A slab foundation is budget-friendly and cost-effective, this is why most homeowners go for this choice.

Oftentimes, slab foundations are poured directly on the ground and on the bed of gravel, which is why this is one of the fastest and easiest procedures for building a foundation.

It is also a smart choice for both warm and dry climates because a slab foundation minimizes the possibility of frost damage.

The slab is the perfect foundation for flatland because it matches the gradient.

Concrete slab and walls of basement ready for lumber.

Crawlspace

This foundation type is perfect for sloped areas because its footings create a level base in your home. Crawlspaces are also an advantage to flood-prone areas because the space of the ground floor can act as a block that protects the place from flooding.

It also provides you the advantage and access to other plumbing lines, which will surely be necessary when repairs are to be done in your house. A crawlspace provides your house with better structural integrity.

Spacious empty basement in american house

In Closing

Adding a walkout basement to your home is both an aesthetic and functional improvement. This project can be made possible in so many ways. Just always be prepared by first noting the considerations that come along with its construction, potential use, and ongoing maintenance.

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