Have you longed for a home with a basement and considered digging out a basement in your existing home? How do you go about it? Who does this type of work? Is the cost worth it? Let’s explore these answers.

Six Steps to Digging Out a Basement

  1. Establishing access to the basement
  2. Dirt removal
  3. Structural support & engineering
  4. New footers
  5. New walls
  6. New floor

Logistics of Digging Out a Basement

First of all, digging out a basement under an existing home is not easy. It involves either moving the house by sliding it off of its foundation or jacking up the house onto steel beams in order to provide access to the digging and landscaping equipment.


Cut off utilities first.

When moving an existing structure, structural problems can occur. Utilities must be cut off and re-established, and new extensions created. This can cause possible water and sewer problems in the future. Problems with the structure itself can also occur, with the added strain on foundational building elements.


Make sure your basement is dry.

Since many basements can flood, it is important that your new basement is dry. You will need to ensure that no foundation cracks are present, drains are properly installed and operating correctly, and that exterior landscape slopes away from the foundation. Waterproofing may be an option to avoid your basement being damp.


Plan out locations.

Considering how deep to install your sewer line will determine whether gravity will drain a basement bathroom or whether a pump is needed to route the water uphill. Plan out where the household mechanics like the furnace and water heater will go. They must be placed in a location where they can be vented vertically, most often near a mechanical or masonry chimney.

In addition to digging out a basement, certain foundational elements must be added, like a concrete slab floor, footing drains and foundation walls for stability. A basement must also contain an emergency egress, like a door or large window. Think about how much natural light you’d like to have in your basement to calculate the number of windows needed.

You will need to consider where to place the basement stairs as they intersect with the upper level. Both interior and any exterior stairs should be well-planned in advance.

Who Can Dig Out a Basement?

With the difficult access and multiple code considerations, you will want to seek out a qualified basement contractor, like Petrine Construction.

Cost of Digging Out a Basement

If you already have an unfinished basement and wish to add ceiling height, the cost of digging out a basement will be much less than if you want to completely add a new basement.

Digging out a basement is not inexpensive. It can run to $100,000 and higher, depending upon the size of the house and the basement, and the complexity of the job. You could be looking at approximately $50-$200 per square foot. Some say it would be easier to either purchase a home with an existing basement or create an addition to your house that includes a basement.

Related: How Much Does a Crawl Space Dig Out Cost?

Contact Petrine Construction

Adding a basement to your home will increase the square footage, improve the property, and offer a great new space for entertaining and enjoyment.

If you are interested in digging out a basement and live in Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, contact Petrine Construction. We’ll be glad to explore the logistics, costs and benefits of adding a basement to your home.

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