How to Dig Out and Construct a Basement Under an Existing Home

Although there are a lot of houses that automatically come with a basement, at the same time, there are some that don’t. If your home happens to fall into the latter category, the good news is there’s a really big chance that you can create your own basement – perhaps even without the assistance of a professional contractor.

If the thought of having your own basement has you excited, check out how following these eight steps can result in you having some additional space in your house in a matter of several days.

Speak with professionals. Before getting started, there are a couple of calls that you should make. The first one is to pest control so that they can come out and inspect the space under your house. You don’t want to go through all of the work of building a basement only to find out there are termites. It’s best to get your house checked out beforehand. Also, speak with a contractor, even if you decide to do all of the work yourself. That way, they can provide some tips and also alert you to any permits that you might need.

Remove dirt. After speaking with a pest control professional and a contractor, it’s time to start removing some dirt from under your home. However, make sure that you’re not disturbing any footing that is in an area that is within a 45-degree angle from the home’s base. The best way to carry out all of the dirt that you’re digging up is to use a wheelbarrow. Keep in mind that as you’re digging, you want your new floor to be as level as possible. On average, it should be about four inches away from the footing on the headroom side.

Install some pressure-treated posts. The next thing that you’re going to need to do is install some pressure-treated posts on the ground; they need to be the length of the room. It’s best if they are 4×4 and that each one is 6 inches apart.

Cover the area with polyethylene sheets. Once all of the posts are in place, cover the entire basement area with some thick polyethylene sheet material. Websites like Tap Plastics, Good Fellow and Regal-Plastics can provide you with more information on how much you’ll need for the type of job you are doing.

Overlap the slits. Bring the polyethylene sheets up to the footings and then make slits in them. Overlap the slits and weigh them down with rocks, making sure that the edges on the other three sides going up the walls are about a foot long.

Trim flashing. Don’t forget to trim any excess flashing that you see. If you don’t, you could end up with a pretty nasty mold problem. In fact, it’s a good idea to do some weatherproofing too. You can get some tips on how to properly weatherproof your basement by contacting a company like Stay Dry Basement Waterproofing.

Install joints. One of the final steps in constructing your basement is to install some joists. Make sure that they are pressure-treated 2×6″ floor joists that are able to go across the bottom of the studs that are on the front wall – the ones that are directly across from the 4×4 posts. Also make sure that they are at a 45-degree angle.

Finish the floor. The last thing that you need to do is finish your flooring. You can do this by nailing joists to the posts. It’s important that they are at 16″ or 24″ intervals. Then they’ll be ready to cover up with plywood. For more tips on how to finish your basement, visit DIY Network and put “finishing a basement” in the search field.

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