Basements are under a home and can be fully or partially underground. Besides being the foundation of a house, many homeowners use the basement as living room, exercise room or extra bedroom. While basements are common in the Midwest, parts of the country, such as the Southwest and Pacific Northwest have basements; due to poor soil quality makes them expensive to build.
Before basement construction begins, the property has to be excavated to create a hole in the ground. A structural engineer who determines how deep hole can be called according to the type of soil, the frost line and the depth at which the water is, the excavation must be done below the frost line and above the water line to avoid chronic basement flooding.
A basement is made of concrete, a mixture of water, cement sand and gravel. The relationship for placing concrete is 6 gallons (22 l) of water to 1 cubic foot of cement. According to the Extension of the University of Missouri, the floor is 4 inches (10 cm) thick. The square footage of the basement depends on the size of the house.
Although concrete is strong and durable, it has a lot of tension and bending capacity. Over time, it can begin to crack under the pressure of the soil, which can cause leaks and other problems in the basement. The walls must be reinforced with steel to provide extra strength and dexterity; placing the steel depends on the size of the basement. The walls must be at least 8 feet tall (2.40 m) to double the living space.
While some owners seek to turn their basements into living spaces, others want to use it as a storage area. In any case, basement insulation may be necessary to ensure that the area remains comfortable. During construction, workers apply Styrofoam outside walls. The advantages of a wall to isolate include savings in energy costs and provide an additional layer of protection against moisture, according to the United States Department of Energy in its website saving energy.