How Much Slope Do You Need For A Walkout Basement?

Whether you are residing in hilly or flat land, a walkout basement might be your desire. If you are residing on flat terrain, and want to build a house with a walkout basement, how much slope would you need? We asked building and construction experts, and they gave us exact answers.

You'll need a drop of 7' to 8' in elevation for about 36' to 65'. That is the average depth and width of the house. The length and width could be more, but don't decrease the drop in elevation. These particular measurements of the drop help take away water from the house's foundation and not towards it.

Ensure that the basement walls exposed above the frost line are thoroughly insulated. The information might be too much to digest. Continue reading as we explain everything in detail.

House with walkout basement porch and garage, How Much Slope Do You Need For A Walkout Basement

Excavating For A Walkout Basement

You could use hand tools or machinery to create the necessary slope. Using your hands to dig a slope for a walkout basement can be done where there's a relatively good slope. Use machinery on flat or sloped land to accelerate the excavation process.

View of Framed Walkout Basement Walls at New Construction Site

Manual Excavation

  1. Stake out the area of your house in preparation for the excavation. Put the stake matching your house plans.
  2. Use a pick and shovel to remove the dirt.
  3. Once you have removed the dirt from the hole, countercheck the measurements. Ensure that you have retained enough space for the foundation walls and footers.
  4. Use the loose dirt to backfill the slope once you have finished the basement area for more support.

Machinery Excavation

  1. Be very careful when using machinery to dig out the dirt. Dig out the dirt in the marked area according to your house plans.
  2. You could install an egress window and the door at this juncture.
  3. Reinforce the foundation walls and add footings.
  4. At this point, you should build a proper entryway and a sunken patio (if included in the plan) for the ambiance.
  5. Put back the dirt and level the area out. Have a look at this time-lapse video for the visual concept.

Stepped Footing For Walkout Basements

Stepped footing works well on sloped ground. Stepped footings are commonly found in buildings that don't have a full foundation. The footing has different levels used to create a basement and a crawl space.

A stepped footing can be used for a walkout basement as it's already slanted. Primarily, you must ensure that the foundation wall on the walkout basement wall will be deep below the frost line.

It will cost some money to make the changes, but the slope works to the advantage of a walkout basement.

How Much Does It Cost To Create A Walkout Basement

American architecture. House with walkout basement and deck

You could install a walkout basement by excavating and adding to an existing house. Or, have your house built from the foundation up with a walkout basement.

The cost for either option will differ. Construction companies will give you quotations according to the number of materials used, and the labor involved.

A walkout basement can cost from $47,000 to $100,500. The cost will depend on the size of the house and the amount of excavation required. Grading the walkout basement will also be included in the cost.

Walkout basements cost about $20,000 more than a regular basement. Use the services of a professional to get the exact cost quotations.

Why You Should Create a Walkout Basement

a wide angle view of a beautiful American house

Walkout basements vary in style, and you can upgrade your regular basement with a few alterations. It might be costly, but it is worth it. Here's why:

  • Increased Home Value: There are lots of homes in the real estate market. Therefore, consider the option of adding a walkout basement, if you want to sell your home. It will make your home stand out from the other properties available on the market.
  • Escape Option: When you construct a walkout basement, the local building codes and laws require additional windows and a door. An extra egress window and door make it convenient to escape in case of an emergency. The walkout basement exit or door leads directly outdoors.
  • Extra Living Square Footage: The space that comes with adding a walkout basement is worth all the hastle. Whether you want to use it as a bedroom, family room, or apartment, the extra space will accommodate your needs.
  • Access and Privacy: Walkout basements are a perfect way to access you home when entertaining outdoors. A walkout basement leading to a sunken patio is a full package. If the basement doubles as an apartment, the tenant has privacy. The separate entrance to the basement is convenient, and the tenant may come and go as he pleases.
  • Ample Light: The experience of a well-lit room is what walkout basements are known for. The ambiance will make the walkout basement a favorite spot all year round. Therefore, don't skim on the insulation that will allow you to use the basement even in cold months.

Walkout Vs. Daylight Basement

A walkout basement differs from a daylight basement by one key feature, the door. Both basements have lots of natural light, but only in a walkout basement, you'll find a door to the outside.

Daylight basements can only be accessed via the house. You can easily turn a daylight basement into a walkout by adding a door. Daylight basements may have small or large windows which let in light, but there is no available door to the outside.

It's possible to convert a daylight basement into a walkout basement, but a walkout can't be turned into a daylight basement.

Pros & Cons Of A Walkout Basement

American architecture. House with walkout basement and deck

Walkout basements are a fantastic idea when remodeling your home, but you'll need to know their pluses and minuses before erecting one. You should know the disadvantages and advantages of a walkout basement beforehand. This knowledge is important to help you comprehend walkout basements before building them.


  • Ample natural light.
  • More living space.
  • Potential income if the basement is used as an office or apartment.
  • Accessibility to the house.
  • Additional emergency exit.


  • Walkout basements are costly.
  • Not all areas are suitable for walkout basements. They could start flooding if the vicinity is prone to flooding.
  • Added property taxes for the extra square footage.
  • Although it's more square footage, it still counts as a basement and not a house floor in real estate listings.

Note: Consult the local building authorities to find out whether or not you can have a walkout basement. Otherwise, you might be penalized for erecting or reconstructing your house without the necessary permits.


Red house exterior with walkout basement. Backyard view

Ensure that you have the perfect slope for your walkout basement. The basement walls of the walkout must be below the frost line. It might be costly, but the beauty and added living space in the home will be worth it.

Before you start any alterations, survey the vicinity thoroughly to ensure that it's suitable. Adhere to the local building codes and laws by hiring a professional to assist with the paperwork.

Here are some interesting posts on other topics concerning basements:

What Is The Difference Between FoundationAnd Basement

How Cold Is A Basement? [And 8 Ways To Warm It Up]

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