No, the large majority of basements built in Texas were built without any kind of sump pump system. Some of them were built without waterproofing on the basement walls, and many of them don’t have any drains around the home’s exterior walls. Though you don’t really need a sump pump it is much better to have one. Consider they only cost a few hundred dollars to install, and they require nearly no maintenance. The problem is if you need one and it has to be installed later, it could cost you up to $6,000 in many places. Adding waterproofing later could cost you nearly $20,000 later so do you really need it? I guess the real question is: Do you feel lucky?
It oftentimes depend on the bank and where you live. If the basement if finished out, most banks will include the square footage in their calculations. If the basement is not finished, they treat the entire area like they would your garage. Beware of places like Texas because most bankers don’t have a clue of how to include it. I have heard cases in which the basement finished was only half calculated, and a few times it was not calculated at all as part of its square footage.
The rule in places like Texas and Oklahoma is, expect them to have no rule that they follow. I think this is great because you can shop for the bank that does what you want. You want it calculated so tell them you’re looking for a bank that calculates the basement into the square footage. On the other hand, if you want to keep the fact that your basement is living space hidden from the tax man, then look for a basement that does not calculate it as living space.
If you live in the south you won’t have many companies to call to find the problem. The Basement Kings is the only company that serves all of Texas. Another company called Basement Systems serves the largest cities in Texas, but very few towns if at all. If you know exactly where the leak is coming from, a few waterproofing companies will try to fix your problem.
Definitely! The best time to consider a keeping a basement from leaking is before it starts leaking. Have a basement assessment done and it will save you a world of headaches and buckets of money. What it does is outline the areas where it will leak first and strengthen them for pennies on the dollar. They also check out your slope, check for clogged drains, and make sure your waterproofing is still doing its job. If you’re noticing all the areas around your basement always staying wet, call for an assessment. If your basement starts having a wet smell that you never noticed before, then you may have a problem.
As a rule it is wise to plan sixty to ninety days from start to finish, which is why builders are not really a fan when it comes to building it in the first place if you live in the south. In many cases you may find that the basement was built in a little over thirty days, but I wouldn’t count on it. The basement portion of the project is not the place to rush, cut corners, or use un-tested methods so you can quickly stamp it done. The demand for skilled basement builders in the south is high, so consider building it during the winter and you might get it built faster and cheaper. In the winter contractors and skilled labor are easier to find and rates are at their lowest.
No, if you’re building a basement you really only need a structural engineer to design it because they are the ones who take into account what will be sitting on top of its slab and walls. When it comes to having the entire home drawn up, you could substitute the architect for a home designer if you need to save money. If your budget can handle the cost and you need the entire home drawn up, consider using both to make sure your home is built exactly the way you had it drawn up. Designers don’t always get it right when it comes to beams and corners being exactly where they are supposed to be.
The best answer is that it depends on the circumstance. If you’re building with the bank’s money,are a first-time buyer and you don’t intend on living in the house more than a few years,finish it. Finish the basement as soon as you can so when you move in, you can quickly enjoy it. Another reason is, once you move into the house the bank will close out your loan and you will have to come up with enough money to finish it on your own. This is the primary reason why you have so many unfinished basements because they promised to finish it later and never did. Some people have tried paying their contractors in advance and planned for them to come back after they moved in,so guess what. They never came back to finish the basement.
If you plan on living in the house long-term, you definitely want to finish the basement later. The best thing is you will be able to move into the house much earlier, and it will make your monthly payments lower. You will have much more time to decide how you would like to finish it out. Last, it has a potential of lowering your property taxes on the overall square footage of living space in your home.
Let’s start with the myth that all basements leak because they don’t. Insurance companies don’t charge a higher rate for basements. In-fact, you may get a better rate in many cases for the opposite reason. A regular house is built as if it will never face large amounts of water around it. A basement is just the opposite for it is automatically designed as if it will be inundated with water on a regular basis. In places like Texas and Oklahoma, it may be the only house around that will stay dry. Things like French drains, higher walls, and sump pumps with backups really come in handy when water tables rise. The other thing is basements would have to flood all the way to the top before your toes on the first level ever got wet. This is not the case in a regular home where the water comes across the yard directly into your living room.
Homes typically come apart in high winds because the roof gets blown off and the exterior walls collapse inward. Using steel hurricane straps to anchor your roof to the house is cheap and easy, and other steel reinforcements can be used to strengthen the walls.
Flimsy garage doors are another common source of house failure — the wind blows them in, then blasts through the house and rips the walls and ceiling apart. A 1982 review found that in 104 cases of home roof damage after a tornado in Grand Island, Nebraska, nearly 50 percent started via the garage. Steel or reinforced garage doors are the solution.
Your best choice depends on which one has the best type of door. If it has a wooden door that can easily be blown off, then it is the worst choice. If it is one of the new types of above-ground models it is definitely the best choice for safety. If you consider all things being equal, the above-ground cellar/shelter model in my opinion has one draw-back. If the entire home is destroyed and collapses ontop of itself, it could bury the shelter. Due to the fact that they don’t have a phone and it blocks a cell phone signal, how will anyone know you’re trapped inside? As if that may not be the worst thing that could happen, you might find running out of air would be worst since these shelters are usually metal. If it is a model without a vent or the vent is covered by debris, you may not have hours but minutes for your shelter to be found and unblocked.
My favorite article about tornados answers this question best. “A common belief is that since most tornadoes in the U.S. travel from west-southwest to east-northeast, the southwest side of the basement is the safest place to hide out.
The originator of this advice may be John Park Finley, one of the first serious meteorological researchers who studied hundreds of tornadoes in a career spanning the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Finley said you should never take refuge in the east side of a basement, and specifically warned against the northeast corner — he reasoned that debris from the house would be blown in that direction.” Guess what? In 1966 it was proven wrong by Joe Eagleman of the University of Kansas. He studied the wreckage of the EF5 Topeka tornado of that year and concluded that if you had a full basement, the northeast corner was the safest place to be and the south side the most dangerous. Why? External debris knocked down southern walls and blew in through south-facing basement windows; when winds shifted the whole house to the northeast, the southwest corner of the basement was where the upper stories fell in. There is no best place in the basement unless you have a reinforced section built exclusively for this occasion. A basement, however, is the safest place to be in general if you don’t have an underground shelter.
“The Straight Dope” by Cecil Adams written July 29, 2011
The answer here is really easy “neither”!
The first real fact about tornados is that they don’t follow the contours of the ground, so for deep depressions or ditches they pass over them and not into them. The terminal velocity of a tornado could conceivably suck a person out if all the ceiling was gone and they are standing up in the middle. Honestly, I can’t say I have ever heard of a basement being totally sucked out and anyone being pulled from it. The reality is that people are told to move to a corner of the basement where the walls can protect you. Even FEMA suggests that you move to a corner and place a mattress or something like it on top of you. When it comes to things easily falling on top of you, consider the floor joists above you. The majority of houses that are hit by a tornado tend to have most of it collapse on itself. For other houses that are nearly blown away, the basement tends to have most of its floor joists intact. It may have gaps, but it is very rare for all of it to be blown away. That is why in areas where an entire town is destroyed by a tornado, basement homes tend to reduce the number of lives lost.
Referring to an article called “The Straight Dope” by Cecil Adams, written July 29, 2011, he answers this question followed up with real stats.
It says, and I quote: “An analysis of the Oklahoma twister outbreak of May 1999, which featured an EF5 (i.e., scale-topping monster) tornado, found that out of forty deaths, 133 severe injuries, and 265 minor injuries, the total harm inflicted on people holed up in basements amounted to just one minor injury. In the Joplin, Missouri area — where the death toll stands at a staggering 155 following the tornado of May 22 — 82 percent of homes had no basements.” I could not have said it better myself.
I keep reading that the first book written about how to build and the history of building basements was just recently written and published this past year (2011). I can’t believe that with all the books that are written every year that there are not many basement books already written. Looking for several weeks to find them about how to build, construct, or add a basement to an existing home has not been easy to find so far. I have tried general searches with a couple different browsers and keywords, but I can’t find any. Please help me find more books, from any writer, from any country, at any time before now, that prove my point on how to build a basement. You may find parts of many books that list a chapter or two about the building of a key feature in basements but none dedicated to it. You will, however, find that most of all, the trades needed written about their construction separately. Books on waterproofing, concrete in general, excavation in general, and how to layout its construction are in books from the 1980s, but that’s it. The real secret to finding books on basements is to read The Basement Kings website. The only book you will find thus far dedicated to building basements will be BUILDING BASEMENTS: THE DEFINITIVE BOOK ABOUT BASEMENTS by Willie E. King Jr. The author works at http://www.thebasementkings.net and promises to publish many more this coming year.
The answer to this question is, “It depends.” It depends on where you’re building it, and the same goes for building a swimming pool for that matter. The lot you’re building the basement on will tell you not only if it is possible but if the cost will be worth the trouble. We build basements in Texas, and everyone who knows nothing about basements lists reasons why they are not built in Texas. We know what we are talking about when this question comes up because our founder started out building swimming pools in Texas. So for us this answer is very easy since we actually live in and build basements all over Texas and now Oklahoma. The true fact is more often than not, you can actually build a basement anywhere you can build a swimming pool. A swimming pool is dug out the same, uses the same equipment, and is dug out to nearly the same depth. The only difference between them both is how the concrete is put in place and the formulation of the concrete. For a pool the concrete is blown in, and a basement is usually poured or stacked with a variety of different types of blocks. The question you should be asking is about the feasibility of building a basement, and that depends on the lot you’re building on.
Add some widgets to this area!