Basement, crawl space or slab foundation?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Joy in Eastern WA, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. Joy in Eastern WA

    Joy in Eastern WA Well-Known Member

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    Well, DH wants a basement when it comes time to build the house this spring, but I don't want one. Why? I personally think it's wasted space, plus added cost of excavating, and as we age, going up and down steps is going to be something to keep to a minimum. I would much prefer a slab or a crawl space. Actually, I'm leaning towards a slab, just because animals couldn't crawl under the house and die or start making a mess under there.

    We live in a region of the country where most homes either have a full of half basement. And I'm not too sure why everybody has one!

    The house we are building is 1 1/2 story with the kid's bedrooms up on the second floor. As they get older and move out, the upstairs can be closed off and not used except for storage.

    Could anyone explain to me the pros and cons of each type of foundation?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    A full basement is the cheapest square footage you can build! Crawlspace might be 20% less. I know a slab might be the cheapest all round but I prefer my house is anchored a little better than a shed. A full basement gives you plenty of room for the utilities like a furnace AC water heater etc, and who knows maybe you'll want room for that huge battery bank charged off the solar panels! If electricity keeps going up, you never know!
     

  3. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    The reason why people have basements is simple.....storage & space. Most people put their electrical service boxes, water heaters, pressure tanks, furnaces & heating duct work in their basements. Some have storage rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, rec rooms & laundry rooms as well.

    Everyone needs storage space.....and a basement is economical storage space.

    A slab is the least expensive thing to build a house on. With a slab, you'll have to install your water heater, pressure tank, furnace, washer/dryer, etc on the main floor of the house.

    You may be against the basement.....but consider the possibility you'll someday sell the house. If you live in an area where basements are the norm.....its quite likely your house will sell much quicker and command a more attractive price with a basement.
     
  4. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Think about resale value--are houses selling without basements?

    You might put an exterior door at ground level to the basement so that you can go in and out that way without steps. Depends on the lay of the land.

    I would choose a basement or a slab but not a crawl space. From what I hear from others about their crawl spaces: pipes freeze under there in out of the way places, repairs to anything underneath are tedious, animals arrive and make it their home or die there. I just don't see the same negatives with the other two choices.
     
  5. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you ever had to work on plumbing or heating in a crawl space you would see how wonderful a basement is.. Some people pour a concrete slab on the ground where they set modular homes. That is better than nothing under there. You can get around in the crawl space on an automotive creeper. I feel you are talking about having concrete floors in the house which is a slab also. If you are going for cheaper I guess that would be it.
     
  6. george darby

    george darby Well-Known Member

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    i will second uncle wills comment about being easyer to work on the water and electric from a basement ...... than a crawl space and the best reason is you are less likely to need to work on the plumbing .......... frozen pipes are common in crawl spaces.........basements are great space highly usable ......... mabey even design a root celler in one corner............ tornado shelter ...........just design it for good foundation drainage that will prevent a lot of heaving /cracking problems..........
     
  7. Joy in Eastern WA

    Joy in Eastern WA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for the responses. I appreciate your input. I guess the reason behind me not wanting a basement is the cost and the lack of use. If it were on a hillside, I could understand having one that could be a daylight basement.

    I grew up in a home that had a basement. We had the washer and dryer down there as well as a deep freezer and the furnace. It was a great place for collecting junk as well as water from time to time when the rain wouldn't stop for days. The trip up and down those steps with loads of laundry were a pain in the you-know-where!

    Now, there's a fella who just got finished building his house about a mile from the place where we are building and his basement came to approximately 30% of the total price of his house. Large boulders had to be blased out, plus ground surface water had to be directed away from the basement as well as a sump pump being placed down there. That sounds like something I don't want to deal with!

    Our house is designed with a pantry off the kitchen, and a utility room that houses the washer, dryer and HVAC. The upstairs will also have a washer/dryer hook-up for the kids to use for their cloths. There's no need for clean and dirty clothes to go up and down several flights of stairs.
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Joy, I would never put a washer and dryer upstairs for the kids. Their young legs can carry the clothes up and down the steps. The problems associated with a washer potentially leaking and the noise from the operation will not justify a second laundry room particularly with the damage that could occur to the main floor ceiling
     
  9. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do the DH a favor and let him have the basement. STORAGE, head room to work under the house on utilities. A slab is a cold mess, a crawl space insnt that much cheaper than a full basement. The footers are the same size. All you need is more dirt removed and a floor. poured.
     
  10. Jo

    Jo Well-Known Member

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    Joy, Have you thought of your legs standing on slab foundation? I wouldn't want to stand on them, I have wood floor in the kitchen. They say there better for your legs.
    It's exciting planning a new home.
     
  11. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Jo has a point-I have spent days standing on some poorly designed concrete slab bases. And...pardon me...but give me a break! A washer/dryer just for the kids! Geez! That is an insane expense. Save the money on the appliances and enlarge the living area. Even if they have disabilities, one set of appliances for a household is fine. Let them learn to share.
     
  12. I general contracted our modular home in another state two years ago. The 2,100 sq ft modular main floor cost $109,000. The full basement cost an additional $46,000 (including 9' foundation walls-insulated, radiant floor-insulated, storm room/root cellar, framed wall on downhill side, doors, windows, steps, 3/4 bath, and 700 st ft finished). I sure do miss it. Lost it a year after I lost my job. We're now putting a new double-wide on a slab. Sigh!
     
  13. Surveyorwill

    Surveyorwill Active Member

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  14. Ana Bluebird

    Ana Bluebird Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We built our house with only a crawl space for the same reasons you are considering, cheaper, don't need the storage, no steps, no problems with water in the basement. Well, after living here 8 years, I'd do anything to pay that extra bit of money and have that basement. I'd love to have the furnace down there, it's so noisey up here on our floor! We wear out our remote for the TV because we have to adjust the volumn every time the furnace kicks on or off. Plus at night it WILL wake you up! Then, you would be surprised how much you can use that extra space. Right now I've got my treadmill in the middle of my living room. Our spare bedroom is full to the brim. Some stuff we just can't put in the garage because it freezes out there. Then we sure could use it as shelter for times when there are storms. Then when we have large groups of visitors from out of state. Well, I guess you get my point. I'd love a basement!
     
  15. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    Coming from southern california I have lived in houses with slab foundations most of my life. When I went looking at homes in Colorado with basements I immediately felt how much more comfortable it was to stand on a wood framed floor. I can't wait to have a house with a basement.

    If you want to really be cheap, build on piers. Easy to do and you won't have to walk on a concrete slab.
     
  16. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Just a story about basements. Once worked with an AF Captain with four kids. They built a playroom in the basement for them. Kids never did figure out why mom or dad would show up when trouble started - ESP? No, they simple left the laundry slide doors open so they could hear what was going on in the basement.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  17. Oggie

    Oggie Waste of bandwidth Supporter

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    I'm not fond of the slab our house is built upon because if there is a problem with the plumbing or the heating ducts, the first tool you need is a jackhammer. Our last house had an unfinished basement. If we wanted to run phone or electrical wiring to new locations it was so much easier.
     
  18. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    In my last house I had a pipe spring a leak under the slab. I could hear it hissing away at night when everything was quite. Luckily it was just one pipe that was an offshoot off a manifold that the main line went in to. The pipe fed my kitchen sink cold water and all the other water use was on the other side of the house. Since I had a tile floor, I cut open the wall to the manifold and capped the pipe then tied in a new pipe from just after the shut off valve outside and ran it in a trench to outside the kitchen window and punched it through the wall just over the foundation under the sink. Since it never freezes here this is an OK way to do it. Other option is to locate the leak and then jack hammer out the slab and fix it. Even newer homes have problems with slab leaks.

    When I remodeled one of the bathrooms, I had to replace the trap for the shower. The riser pipe rotted in two. I had to rent a chipping hammer to bust out the slab to get to it.

    Slabs are the worst. Go with a pier foundation or just go with a full basement.
     
  19. Joy in Eastern WA

    Joy in Eastern WA Well-Known Member

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    Well, you all are starting to convince me about a basement. Of course my DH has been hounding me about one!

    It's not really about the extra cost, but it's about putting more money into something that you may never need or use.

    I appreciate all of your input. Come this spring when we start building I'll post pictures as we proceed. Basement??? Well...... we'll just have to wait and see! :)
     
  20. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Even if you aren't going to use the basement yourself, it can still prove worthwhile. Consider having at least half of it made into an efficiency-type apartment. Nicely furnish it and then notify realtors you do short-term rentals (at premium rates). In most areas there is generally a need for this type of housing. Say someone is building a new house and has to be out of their old before the new is finished. They just need a place, nicer than a motel, to stay for a while.

    I have a friend who does this in NC. He is near Clemson University and many of his referrals come from the housing office there. He has had several visiting professors stay for up to a year.

    On resale it would still be attractive for someone with grown kids still at home or an aging relative.

    Ken S. in WC TN