Adding Space To a City Home by Adding a Basement

Adding additional space to a home in a crowded city like London where space is a premium, is a great way to gain equity and add comfort to a home. Popular ways to add space are by means of a London attic extension or loft conversion or a kitchen extension. But it is not always possible to have an extension in cities like London for a number of reasons. However, if you are unable to add out, perhaps you can add down.

In many areas of the UK, full basements are not possible because of high water tables and unstable soil. These areas often have crawlspace foundations. While these foundations are just as solid as their taller cousins, the full basement foundation walls, they do offer any type of ability to finish a space. However, there is a way to utilize the crawlspace as an option for adding needed living space. Jack up the house and frame walls underneath it.

Jacking Up a House

The method of jacking up a house so that an old foundation can be removed and a new one installed in its place is not a new concept. Contractors have been performing this feat for over 40 years. However, jacking up a house and keeping the crawlspace foundation intact is a relatively new concept.

With this application, a half wall is framed with 2×8 lumber 16 inches on center. This makes the wall system very strong and when sheeted with ½ inch plywood sheathing, will support the load of the entire house. There are some considerations that have to be made when performing a project like this.

House Height

Most towns have height restrictions on how tall a house can be. If you have a single story structure, this is probably not an issue. However, most 2-story homes push the boundaries of this limit to begin with and make a project like this an unlikely venture.

Drainage Conditions

One very important aspect to keep in mind anytime you raise or lower any structure is that drainage around the house will undergo a dramatic change. This is important not only for your house, but for your neighbors as well. There have been many disputes and judgments filed because of water draining from one neighbor’s property to another. While this can be corrected, make sure there is room in your budget for retaining walls, drain tile, and general landscaping.

Shifting After a Home is Lifted

When a house is moved, it is very likely that portions of the house will shift which leads to cracking of drywall, plaster, and other areas of the home. This is important to consider as extra repairs can lead to extensive extra costs, especially when these repairs require structural work. Windows often crack when a house shifts suddenly and significantly. It is important to plan for some repairs before starting a project of this magnitude.

Permits for Altering a Structure

Make sure that you have filed the proper permits with you local council. If construction begins without the proper permits, the work will be halted by the state and you will not be able to continue until you have filed the proper permits and paid the fine for starting a project without consulting the department of zoning in you municipality.

This type of project takes planning, but with the right construction team and the proper planning, this can add the extra room you need for your family.