How Tall Is A 12-Course Basement Ceiling?

Adequate height in the basement helps make it useful when completed. If you're wondering about the height of a 12-course basement ceiling, you're in the right place. We did the research to enlighten you with a precise answer.

A 12-course basement ceiling should be 96 inches, or 8 feet high, according to most standard building specifications. The height is of an unfinished basement. It's ideal as it has enough headroom from vents, ducts, and plumbing. Once the basement is completed and everything is hidden away, the height can be a little less than 8 feet.

Many homes come with basements of different heights. Thus the different names of these basements such as crawl space, walkout, or daylight. Continue reading to comprehend how the height of a basement is derived and why it is recommended in building specifications.

A huge and classic themed basement with gorgeous rustic tiles and mid century themed chairs, How Tall Is A 12-Course Basement Ceiling?

How To Add Height To A Basement

This isn't a DIY project but a serious time-consuming one. It's advisable to hire professionals to do the necessary maneuvers to avoid your house from collapsing. Before any construction work commences, the house must be reinforced.

To calculate the height of a 12-course basement we must consider the concrete block and mortar. Concrete blocks can be customized for any construction. Standard concrete blocks are 15 5/8 inches by 7 5/8. The mortar is usually 3/8 inch thick on both sides. It is safe to round off to 16 inches by 8.

The height of the concrete block (8 inches) is then multiplied by the number of rows (in this case, 12), and this gives a product (96 inches) that is equivalent to 8 feet.

Properly laid brock for the basement walls

If you aren't contented with the height of your basement, you can have it deepened. To add height to your basement, you can do the following methods to make the ceiling in your basement higher:


Basement benching is also known as bench footing. This is altering the basement foundation by building a bench around the perimeter of the house before lowering the foundation.

The perimeter is built on the inside of the existing walls, then the basement is lowered within these markings. You'll be able to pour concrete without tampering with the walls. The new basement level will be lower than before.

Lifting The House

This might sound weird, but the house is literally lifted off its foundation, consecutively adding extra headroom. The house is detached at the sill plate and raised as needed.

Building experts endorse this method for wooden houses. For masonry homes, the procedure might be too expensive a procedure. Lifting a house isn't an over-the-weekend job. It'll take time and proper planning by professionals.

Raise The Basement Ceiling

To make your basement ceiling higher, you can raise it! This is done by lifting the joists gradually. The recommended height is 3 millimeters a day till you achieve the desired height. Experts claim that this is by far the cheapest way of raising the height of your basement.

Note: Never raise the joists too high or too quickly, it could cause the house to collapse.


Underpinning is the excavation of the soil beneath the house, making the basement ceiling higher. The bottom of the house is reinforced with new materials after soil excavation.

Underpinning can be done on old properties that need their foundation repaired or reconstructed. It will also raise the value of your property.

How Tall Is A Course Of Block?

The height of a block course is determined by the height of the concrete block plus the mortar used. The standard block height is 7 5/8 inches plus 3/8 inches of mortar. The total height will be 8 inches, which is the height of the course.

To calculate the length of any wall you'll have to consider the length of the concrete block and how many they are. The length of a concrete block is usually 15 5/8 inches plus 3/8 inches of mortar, which sums up to 16 inches.

A worker properly laying cinder block for the walls of the house

Divide the length of the wall by the length of the block to get the number of blocks needed. For example, 1,300 feet multiplied by 12 to convert to inches that should equal 15,600 inches.

Divide the 15,600 inches with the length of the block plus the mortar of 16 inches. This will give you a quotient of 975 blocks to be laid in one course.

How Tall Is The Average Basement Ceiling?

A basement ceiling height ranges from 7 to 9 feet. Code recommendations for ceiling heights suggest these standard heights to allow enough headroom for vents, ducts, pipes for plumbing, and wiring.

Newer homes boast a 9 feet ceiling, whilst older homes have 7 to 8 feet ceilings.

Can You Finish A Basement With A Low Ceiling?

Yes, you can. It doesn't mean that if you have a low ceiling in your basement, you can't complete it. To avoid complications, hire professionals to help in making the basement habitable.

If you want to renovate a low ceiling basement, you might need to be more creative with this space. Plumbing, wiring, and vents might have to occupy the wall space rather than the ceiling.

Do these techniques to make your low basement ceiling look spacious and more open:

  • Use solid colors to make the basement area feel open and less busy. Paint your walls solid white, cream, or a solid light blue color.
  • Ensure that the accents and the rest of the furniture don't crowd the basement.
  • Use furniture that is smaller and shorter than usual to create an illusion of a taller ceiling.
  • Use light fixtures that don't hang from the wall to avoid making the ceiling look even lower.
  • Use vertical decor on the wall to visually elongate them and the ceiling.

Note: An unfinished basement will make the rest of the house very cold. The basement is an additional living space that will go to waste if not finished and utilized.

How Thick Should Basement Walls Be?

Basement walls carry the entire house. Therefore, they need to be thick enough.

If you have 7 feet of soil pressing onto an 8 feet tall wall, the thickness of the wall should be at least 8 inches. Any wall taller than 8 feet with more than 7 feet must have a basement wall between 10-12 inches.

The soil pressing on the basement makes it mandatory to have a thick wall to avoid the house from collapsing in. The walls can be thicker than the above-quoted inches after insulation and plastering.

In Closing

We've learned that a 12-course basement ceiling should be 8 feet tall. The height is derived from the concrete block plus the mortar. This height gives you enough headroom and space to hide away ducts, pipes, wires, and sometimes a heating system.

No matter how low or high your basement ceiling is, decorate the basement accordingly. Be creative and work with colors and shades to bring out the character of this space. It'd be a pity to let such living space go to waste.

With the help of professionals and a deep pocket (in most cases), you can add height to your basement. Do not try any maneuvers on your own. Add height to your basement in accordance with the building and construction codes of any given vicinity.

Read the following posts for additional information:

Can You Convert A Crawl Space Into A Basement?

Can You Build A Basement Under A Garage?

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