Walk Out Basements

Walk Out Basement Advantages and Considerations

By Mark J. Donovan

One major advantage of a building lot that is sloped to the side or back is the ability to include a finished walk out basement in the home design plans. A walk out basement, or daylight basement, is simply defined as a basement that has a side that includes a doorway to the ground level. A building lot that slopes to the side is ideal for incorporating a garage under a portion of the home. Building lots that slope to the backyard better lend themselves to a finished walk out basement with a door and windows on the back side of the basement.

Walk out basements also offer a number of additional advantages to homeowners.

First, they afford the opportunity to incorporate a great deal of natural light into finished basement plans. In some basement renovation designs, a finished walk out basement can feel as if it is a finished room above ground. Second, a walk out basement makes easier access to the home for furnace and plumbing maintenance. Third, walk out basements lend themselves to a separate entrance into the home which can be useful for operating a side business or for renting out the lower level of a home.

Finished walk out basements commonly exit out to a patio or backyard. My home, for example, includes a walk out basement that enters out to a patio and a backyard that overlooks a lake. Since the building lot sloped gently down towards the water’s edge, it was an ideal situation to include a large sliding glass door and windows on the walk-out side of the basement.

Designing a home with a walk out basement does present a few additional challenges and considerations. First, the walk-out side of a basement requires some special attention in its excavation and construction.

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It is important to remember that even though it opens up to soil grade, it still needs to include a proper footing, which means even the footing on the walk-out side of a basement has to be installed below the average frost line depth for the local climate region.

As a result, the foundation wall on the walk-out side of the basement has to be built up from the concrete footing to the finished grade of the soil adjacent to the walk out basement. In addition, it is important that the finished soil grade on the adjacent basement side walls, are sloped away from the home so that water doesn’t funnel down into the basement walk-out side.

Also, when considering including a walk out basement in your home design plans it is important to consider future property taxes.

Because a walk out basement lends itself so easily to a finished basement, a home with a walk out basement is often taxed hire than a home without a walk out basement, even though the basement maybe left unfinished.

Walk-out basement

However, there is some justification to the higher property tax as most homebuyers prefer a walk out basement to a basement with a bulkhead door, and assessed property tax values are much about home market values.

For more help on Basement Additions, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Basement Remodeling Bid sheet. The Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your basement remodeling project is done correctly and you get the project finished on time and budget.

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