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Question DetailsAsked on 5/27/2016

would like to put a full basement and get rid of the foundation

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Get rid of the foundation ... ? Piers or columns ? Because you will still have a foundation - perimeter foundation at least, and if you have intermediate piers or columns or posts now you will still need supporting columns, beams, or walls at those points.

You can find some previous similar questions about changing a crawlspace to a basement or deepening a basement in the Home > Foundation Repair link in Browse Projects, at lower left.

What you will need first is an Architect/Engineer firm (Architect in Search the List) to design the new supporting systems and do plans and specs for the job - which will be needed for the building permit, for bidders to bid from, and for the chosen contractor to build to.

If you have land (not pretty tight to property lines or restricted from additional footage), you might first talk to the architect about relative costs for this versus building an addition, particularly if in an area with shallow frost depth so a slab-on-grade foundation is feasible, because sometimes it is not much more expensive to build an addition than to jack a house up and totally replace its foundation. This is especially true and desireable in cases where, like in many homes in the southern third or so of the country, if you have a lot of supporting piers or posts under the house which therefore means a lot of messy or obstructive supporting columns or walls or beams in a finished basement. An addition can obviously give you obstruction-free space to work with, not to mention windows and direct lighting and view maybe. Of course, if in a cold area, then going underground can sometimes (with proper insulation or foundation and under slabs) be a more desireable way to get more square footage and lower heating bills (though that can also apply to AC bills in very hot areas), and can be cheaper if you have to pay for a full depth foundation anyway because of the frost depth protection requirements.

And of course whether or not you have to worry about groundwater issues affects full basement construction costs and the advisability fo putting in a full finished basement too, because of the seepage and drainage and mold issues related to that. Basically, if almost all of your neighborhood houses do not have basements, unless you are near the top of a high point this is likely to be a consideration for you - both for cost and for future moisture-related issues.

One other consideration - especially if this will be an unfinished basement - in some areas basements are included in "real estate" square footage or room count only if fully finished, so in those cases spending the money on an addition rather than a basement can be more cost effective and make the house more desireable come resale time.

If you go the basement route - don't forget waterproofing (against groundwater and surface waters as applicable), emergency egress requirements so it can legally be rated as a bedroom (though that might affect your property taxes more and if on septic can affect ability to get a building permit without increasing septic capacity in some cases), possibly putting in a separate outdoor access door and other necessities so it can be potentially upgraded in the future to a rental or or in-law apartment. Also consider access (door or whatever) for any utility appliances or large furniture you have or will have down there - furnace, fuel oil tank, pool table, large sofa or pit group, etc.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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