Basements should have enough space for comfortable living. But then, not all existing basement spaces meet the required dimensions. You might need to excavate the ground below the basement. If you plan to dig a basement deeper, we have researched how much it can cost you to do so.
Digging your basement deeper will cost you around $10,000 to $100,000. This amount will vary due to the following:
- Present conditions of the structural foundations
- Soil type
- Desired basement depth
- Related professional services
No matter why you want to make the basement deeper, you can only get the benefits when you follow the correct process of digging. Take note that this is not an easy DIY project. You might damage the structural integrity of the foundation if done wrong. Read further on how you can dig a basement.
Is Digging A Basement Expensive?
Most homeowners want to dig down their basements to upgrade their homes. If your basement is shallow, excavating can help. Some might want to have an extra crawlspace or a higher ceiling. Digging deeper can be the best option for those homes that are impossible to lift.
Underpinning is one way of lowering a basement to create more space. This process helps strengthen the existing foundations by repairing them. There will also be new supports for the footings, beams, and posts. Aside from these, you will need new plumbing and drainage systems, as well as waterproofing.
Due to the complex processes involved in the project, you will surely incur more expenses. It will cost you around $10,000 to $100,000 or $30 to $75 per square footage.
Find out below the several factors that affect the costs of digging.
What Are The Factors To Consider When Digging A Basement?
Before you can dig the basement, you have to check its current conditions. You will need to assess the following:
- Soil type - The level of difficulty when digging will depend on the type of soil. Loose soil like sand, silt, and loam are easy to excavate. In contrast, basements on large boulders or hardpan are challenging to dig out. In that case, the more difficult it is to excavate, the higher the costs.
- Fill removal - If you need to haul the fill and rent a dump truck, your costs will increase. If you only refill the area after digging, there will be no additional costs.
- Grading - If your basement is in a sloped or elevated area, you can incur more costs.
- Basement depth - Even if you comply with the minimum basement height, you can still add more height to fit windows or other features. You will spend more for extra cubic feet of earth to dig out.
- Basement size - For homes with larger basements, you will spend more on excavation.
You will also take into account the costs of professional services and equipment for this type of project. It might make you hesitate to dig the basement because of the amount you will be spending.
Is It Worth Digging Out A Basement?
Indeed, it is expensive to dig out a basement. Yet if you decide to do so, the benefits must always exceed costs. The common benefits of excavating a deeper basement are the following:
1. Extra Living Space
Converting your basement into a living space is the foremost reason why homeowners want to add space by digging. Besides adding value to the house, you can use it for extra storage, recreation, or hobby room. You can finish the basement by adding features that your family needs.
2. New And Waterproofed Foundation
By digging, you can repair damaged foundations and make them watertight. The new supports can help you get a stronger foundation. Also, adding waterproofing features help avoid water leaks and damage inside the basement.
3. Walkout Basement
If you want to create a walkout basement, digging deeper is necessary. You can have easy access to and from the basement without passing through the main floor level. By doing so, you allow occupants to exit and enter the basement in times of emergency or rescue.
4. Additional Value
Overall, adding extra space and features in your basement can entice property buyers to buy your home. Buyers will not need to incur expenses to make the basement meet their needs. Hence, it would make their stay much more comfortable.
You can proceed with digging if you think that these benefits are attainable regardless of the cost.
How Deep Can You Dig Out A Basement?
The next thing to decide is the depth you need to dig out. For full basements, the foundation should be below the frost depth where the groundwater freezes. You can avoid structural damages when you dig below this line. The depths will range between 0 to 8 feet and will vary on the frost zone of your home.
At the minimum, you can install the supporting features to the foundations at least 2 feet below the frost depth. You will also need to accommodate the plumbing and drainage systems for the basement. So, there is a need for careful planning for these features.
After all, it is up to you how deep you want to dig out for the basement. You can dig up to 25 feet below the ground legally. If you are planning to dig deeper, you should refer to your state building codes to avoid legal issues in the future.
Read more from a related post if you can dig a basement deeper to lower the floor.
How Long Does It Take To Dig A Basement?
It will take around 3 days to 3 weeks to dig up a basement. The digging time depends on the obstacles encountered, like the soil conditions. It is best to assess the type of soil before digging.
Clay soil is difficult to unearth. This soil feels like concrete when you use a shovel or excavator. When clay soil dries, the particles can become hard like a rock. Even if clay soil is wet, it becomes dense and sticky when digging.
What Kind Of Flooring Is Good For A Basement?
After digging for the basement, your next concern is the flooring. It is crucial to choose suitable flooring that creates a habitable basement. You need to maintain the basement conducive to your family activities. Nobody wants to stay in a musty and moldy basement.
It will also help to check the condition of the original concrete floor. You might need to repair or repour new concrete to prevent water or gas from leaking in the basement. If there are cracks or uneven areas, you should address these problems to avoid further damages.
By taking into account the possible issues, you can now choose the flooring for the basement.
Basement Flooring Options
There are different kinds of flooring available to suit your needs. Listed below are some of the best flooring choices for basements:
- Roll-out covering - This option is durable, non-slip, cost- and environment-friendly. It is also easy to install and clean. You can also depend on this flooring for insulation.
- Floor tiles with vapor barrier - Moisture is a big problem in basements. By choosing this flooring, you can prevent mold and mildew growth. Some tiles have drainage planes to help get rid of water. You can also use these tiles on uneven floors.
- Floating floor - This type is not nailed to the subfloor, which allows you to add a moisture barrier below it. When choosing the material for this type, as much as possible, it should be waterproof. As long as you properly seal this flooring, there will be fewer problems.
- Glazed ceramic tile - This type is highly durable and water-resistant. The downside is that molds might grow on the grout. Thus it is best to add a water barrier sealant once a year.
- Epoxy-sealed - You can choose epoxy if you want low-maintenance basement flooring. It protects not only the floor but also resists water that causes molds. But on the downside, this type is labor-intensive.
You can directly install the chosen flooring options. However, adding subflooring over the concrete is one best practice. Adding some insulation helps keep the floor warm. Also, a special subfloor with drainage prevents moisture build-up that causes molds in the basement.
It is expensive to dig a basement deeper. You have to consider factors such as soil type and current foundation conditions. Although costly, you can reap benefits from digging deeper for the basement. Some reasons include meeting building codes or making a more comfortable living space.
The costs also depend on how deep you need to dig out for the basement. It will take as early as 3 days to 3 weeks for the excavation. After digging, you also need to choose a suitable flooring for the basement. After considering all things, digging can help you create a liveable basement.