Do you need to create extra space in your house? How about adding a basement?
Our homes often have to be adapted as we go through life, which more often than not means creating more space. But if you can’t extend upwards or outwards, what other options are left? Well you might want to consider creating a basement. All too often we think that we need an existing basement to convert, but this isn’t the case. So we’re here to let you know what you might want to consider if you think creating a basement could work for your property.
Some houses, particularly period properties, might have an existing cellar or basement space. However, these were rarely designed to be habitable. So the likelihood is, even if you have a space you will still need to undertake fairly major excavation works to achieve the minimum 2.4m depth required for a livable space to be created. Remember that you will lose some of this height to a reinforced concrete slab, waterproofing and potential utilities that might need installing, so going down to 2.5m will ensure the end result is an usable height.
Creating this space is challenging and requires specialist engineering knowledge, so always work with a contractor who has a proven track record of successfully completing such work. You will be reengineering the structure of your property and when working below ground, need to ensure that risks of flooding or collapse are being handled by an experienced team.
A common mistake that we see is how the space in a basement renovation gets divided. It is extremely rare to have such a large, open space in any home so make the most of this opportunity and give plenty of consideration to how the space will be used. Also from a practical point of view, if you want to install a kitchen, bathroom or even an indoor pool make sure you have a plan before work begins as these will require plumbing and drainage to be installed prior to a concrete floor being created.
Lighting in a basement is another fundamental feature to get right. We advise clients to always fit more lighting circuits than usual for a space of that size as natural light will be somewhere between minimal and non-existent. If it is possible to fit light wells around the perimeter then this is a great way to ensure that you are able to benefit from as much natural light as possible.
But mostly, have fun with the space and create something that truly enhances your home. Perhaps a self contained guest suite, a gym, or even an entertainment room could be on the cards? You will after all, have a completely blank slate, where you can throw the rule book out and create an area as unique as your needs.