Can You Build A Daylight/Walkout Basement On Flat Land?

Homes with a view are great for entertaining and hanging out. A home on a hill or slope is what comes to mind when you think of walkout or daylight basements. What if there's no slope or hill in sight to build your house on? Can you build a daylight or walkout basement on flat land? Don't worry! We did the research to bring you the answer.

Yes, you can build a daylight or walkout basement on flat land with the help of professional landscapers. Depending on the type of soil that your house is on, an artificial slope can be created.

Prior to the commencement of any work, experts will have to survey the construction site for your house and the surrounding areas. In this post, we'll further discuss the considerations for building a walkout or daylight basement. Let's get into it!

Beautifully designed home with brick as the exterior cladding, Can You Build A Daylight/Walkout Basement On Flat Land?

What Do Walkout/Daylight Basements On Flat Land Require?

Before embarking on such a major project, you'll need the expertise of land surveyors, landscapers, and expert builders and contractors. Whether you want to add a daylight or walkout basement to an existing home or incorporate one into a home under construction, you'll need to consider the following:

  • Slope
  • Elevation
  • Cost
  • Type of soil
  • Practicality
  • Functionality


The slope, which in turn becomes the height of the basement, should not be less than 6 feet. This grade elevation must be from the front to the back of the house. For a rather flat piece of land, professional landscapers are best suited to create such a slope.

For this to work for pre-existing homes, they need to have a lifted foundation (off the ground). For new construction, the soil could be added to create the needed slope for a walkout or daylight basement.


An elevation of 7' to 8' drop with an average depth of 35' and an average width of 65' is necessary. This is ideal for water drainage from the foundation and not toward it.

Architectural plans will clearly show the drop on vertical elevation plans. The key elevation points in buildings include the basement, the garage, and the front entrance.


Building a basement can be costly, especially walkout and daylight basements. A walkout basement will cost from $47,000 to around $100,000. The added cost is due to the excavation and creation of the necessary slope.

A daylight basement will cost about $20,000. In comparison to a walkout basement, a daylight basement is cheaper because it doesn't need an exit. The cost will include materials, labor, and project management.

Type Of Soil

Before embarking on the construction of a daylight or walkout basement, have a land surveyor tell you if the type of soil on the flat lot is suitable. The soil will be checked to see how well it drains water.

Proper water drainage in homes that have a basement is key. If the soil retains a lot of water, you might be advised to bring in soil that drains better to create the needed slope.


You shouldn't overlook the viability of a walkout or daylight basement in your home. Its practicality is as important as the cost of construction.

Depending on where you live, a daylight or walkout basement might or might not be realistic. Areas prone to floods or heavy rains aren't ideal for such basements. Water drainage and high humidity might become a major issue. Keeping the basement dry and moisture-free wight be challenging and costly.


Basements are utilized according to the needs of the family. Large families might want to have a basement that can be used as an extra bedroom, family room, or dining area.

Therefore, have a clear understanding of whether or not the walkout or daylight basement will be put to use. It will be a total waste of money and time to construct such a costly structure that won't be of no use to you.

What Is The Difference Between A Daylight Basement And A Walkout Basement?

A walkout basement differs slightly from a daylight basement although they both have ample natural light.

A daylight basement, as the name suggests, is well lit but can only be accessed on the inside of the house. It is partially above the ground with full-size windows. It doesn't have an egress directly to the outside, and at least one wall is exposed to direct natural light.

A walkout basement has an exit to the outdoors directly, hence its name. It also has full-size windows and most walls are exposed to natural light.

It is important to note that all walkout basements are seen as daylight basements, whilst daylight basements aren't walkout basements.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Walkout/Daylight Basements

Walkout and daylight basements are not the musty scary basements you may have in mind. They are airy, bright, and spacious living quarters. Here are some benefits and drawbacks of walkout and daylight basements.


  • Ample natural light is available due to the large windows and doors. This makes them airy and bright.
  • Extension of living space in the home. A walkout or daylight basement can serve as a game room, extra bedroom, home office, dining room, entertainment space, or a rental apartment.
  • If you buy sloped land, it will cost less because the land doesn't have a lot of yard space.
  • The beauty of the home will be highlighted by the large windows at the rear elevation.


  • The extra cost in building and constructing such basements is very high. This is mostly due to the custom excavation to fit the required slope and the house plans.
  • Sometimes flat sites aren't feasible for walkout or daylight basement construction. The type of soil and water drainage might make the area unsuitable.
  • Moisture issues might occur in the basement area if not properly waterproofed.
A Walkout Basement
A Daylight Basement

How Much Slope Do You Need For A Daylight Basement?

A daylight basement's slope is the height of the basement generally. The recommended elevation is 6 feet and above which goes from the front to the back of the house.

As 6 feet is the average height of a grown person, it makes it convenient to walk around the basement without hitting your head.

Is A Daylight Basement Considered A Story?

A daylight basement is not considered a story by realtors regardless of how far above the ground the basement is. Since a daylight basement is mostly in the ground, it isn't considered a floor.

Although in building and construction terms, any above-grade basement is considered a story. Also, in multi-level houses, any floor above the ground partially or completely is considered a story.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Daylight Basement?

A daylight basement will cost between $10,000 to $30,000 on average. The cost will include excavation to make a slope and the labor and time it takes to construct the daylight basement.

The cost might be higher or lower depending on any extra features you might want to be added in the daylight basement.

In Closing

Walkout and daylight basements can be built on flat land, but it will be at a cost. The cost will go into giving you a fabulous view and a fantastic rear elevation.

The main difference between a walkout and daylight basements is reflected in their cost. Your choice of the basement will depend on how much money you are prepared to spend.

The beauty and added space of walkout and daylight basements outweigh the drawbacks that come with them. Before starting any building or construction of a walkout or daylight basement, get the help of professional surveyors and landscapers.

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