One of the best decisions I ever made was building a basement when I constructed my home. I have been a homeowner for nearly eight years now, and I am thankful every day I made the decision I did. When I asked my neighbor if I should build one, he said “How many people do you know that are sorry they have a basement….if it dry?”
I know other things are important when thinking about a house such as location, available money (the basement is probably the cheapest part of a house you can construct), and surrounding property values. However, don’t underestimate the importance of a basement.
My first wife and I had the argument of basement/no basement when we were building our house eight years ago (no, it isn’t the reason for our divorce). She grew up in a house that didn’t have a basement. I, on the other hand, grew up in a house that did have one. To make a long story short, I won the argument. I did have to concede on a few things such as floor layout, counter tops, and curtain colors…hehehe.
Alright, let’s get to the point. Here are my top five reasons for having a basement.
1) Something always will go wrong with your plumbing, eventually!! It can be anything from a leak in your drain/water line to your wife trying to shove spaghetti down the garbage disposal and clogging it up. It is always nicer to walk down to the basement and get a ladder and work over your head than it is to have to crawl under your floor in the crawlspace to fix a leak. Murphy’s law always applies to plumbing. Things will always go wrong at worst time time. This includes a leak when it is freezing outside or it has rained for the last seven days.
2) A cheap place to live, if you need to. I put in a toilet and shower when I built the basement. I have added a refrigerator and furniture since. A great place to watch football with the guys on Monday Nights. I’ve even had a people stay there when they come to visit on vacation. It’s cheaper than a motel and you can still walk around in your underwear upstairs. Also, I have my basement ‘s ceiling insulated to contain the sound. It was cheap to do and this makes a great place for the kids to have their sleep-overs without the noise drifting upstairs.
3) A great place to send the kids when you want some alone time with your spouse. Rent a DVD and let them watch it on the big screen TV in the basement. You and the wife can catch up on anything if you need to. You always can hear children running up and down stairs.
4) A nice place to hide the internal “workings” of the house. I have my water heater, clothes washer/dryer, furnace, and water softener in the basement. If I didn’t have them down there, then these items would have to be somewhere else in my house such as the closet or garage. It gives me “more livable space” in my home. When I took the washer/dryer out of the laundry room upstairs, my new wife decided to turn that into a beauty shop she always thought about opening (she already had her cosmetology license). It turned out great in that I didn’t have to build another room on to the house.
5) Basements are a cheap way to add value to your home. If you ever need or want to sell your home, expect an additional $15-$20K if you have a dry and habitable basement.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, basements are good……generally. However, don’t dig one unless you are sure you can keep it dry….nobody purposely wants a wet basement. The best thing to do is check with surrounding neighbors and see if any of them have a basement and if they are having problems keeping it dry. If you are on a hill, that is more advantageous for a basement, because water naturally runs off a hill. If you are wanting to dig your basement on level or sub-level ground, it is best to have your soil tested to see if it drains well. Contact the local FFA chapter at your school or your local county extension agent to have them take a look at the soil. If you have the money you can even hire a professional to give his/her opinion.
I hope you have found this article helpful. If you choose to build one, good luck with your basement. It can be the best money you have ever spent.