Basement Digout Services

Basement remodeling has historically been one of the fastest and least expensive ways to add usable square footage and value to a property. Typically, a basement remodel’s scope is limited to the height of the existing basement. However, a basement lowering or “dig down” can significantly lengthen a basement ceiling height which enhances the final outcome. 

Many existing basement ceilings are low—an average of about 6’8” in height. During a remodel, a ceiling and floor is laid down, decreasing the height even more and leaving an uncomfortable, cave-like experience. In other cases, the basement’s ductwork and pipes run so low a basement remodel is just not feasible. The only choice in both these scenarios is to lower the floor with a basement digout.

Increasing the height of a basement by lowering the existing floor creates an entirely usable basement living space. This process is quite popular among homeowners and rental property owners alike. 

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It is obvious why homeowners embrace a basement digout solution—they end up with badly needed living space, they do not have to move, and the value of their home goes up. These homeowners are left with space for a gym, movie theater, playroom, or a home office—their choice.

Rental property owners find that providing their renters with a truly useful basement complete with rentable storage units, laundry facilities, and, in some cases, actual living space allows for significantly more income. 

Gaining one or two feet of height changes a basement from a dank and dreary area to a comfortable living space with lighting, flooring, and enough head room for play or exercise.

It seems like our homes never have enough space. Whether your family has grown or you simply want more room, there are ways to accomplish that. Some people build up by adding stories, and some people build out, adding width to their homes. But what about when those simply aren’t options? 

A basement digout can be a great solution to create more space in your home. Whether you have a basement that needs to be dug out further and finished, you want to expand your crawl space, or you need to start from scratch digging out a basement, Drycrete Waterproofing can help! 

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Considering a Basement Digout? 

The decision to do a basement digout is usually based on the need for more space in an older home. Basement remodeling is the least expensive and quickest route to gaining more livable space in a home. 

When considering adding an addition—maybe over a garage or off the back of the house—there are many complicated factors involved, such as:

  • Lot size
  • Zoning restrictions
  • Extensive planning
  • Permits
  • High costs
  • Invasive work (dust and chaos)
  • Possible relocation during construction

A basement digout is less invasive, significantly cheaper, guicker, and less disruptive than any other type of home addition. Construction is tucked away under your house. The contractors enter and exit through the basement where all the construction is concentrated. And no one will trample through your kitchen or living room.


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What is a Basement Digout?

A basement digout, also referred to as a “basement lowering,” is the act of removing the existing basement floor (which is typically concrete), then digging out the ground below. The process of lowering a basement is complex and requires significant planning and expertise to complete successfully. The process begins by obtaining professional assurance the existing structure can be lowered and still be able to support the existing house or apartment building. A structural engineer is required to review the building’s supports (I.e., lally columns, posts, beams, steel, etc.) and create a plan to support the structure at the lowered height. This plan is created to maximize open space and design to the customers’ goals and desires for the new space. 

The steps for basement digout are as follows:

  • Plan Design
  • Demo (i.e., removal of the existing flooring and hauling off of all debris)
  • Forms
  • Stone
  • Columns
  • Drain
  • Pouring the new floor
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Common Basement Digout Methods

There are several different methods that can be used for a basement digout. The best solution will depend on your situation and how challenging it is to access the space. Here is a quick overview of the most common methods: 

  • Island Method: clears the basement from the inside to the outside, starting near the center of the basement space, creating a slope to brace the walls and foundation as you go. 
  • Bracing Method: can be more expensive as it requires struts to be placed to offload weight from the structure. The struts will serve as a framing space as you are digging. 
  • Open Cut Method: Most professionals use a sloping technique with this approach as it is more affordable. The excavation creates slopes to help reinforce the foundation throughout the digging process. 
  • Top Down Method: most common for high-rises and larger buildings. A load bearing foundation wall is built before digging commences. A concrete floor is then added to the walls so that excavation can occur beneath that surface. 
  • Anchored Method: requires anchors to be placed around the structure, taking stability from the earth while excavation occurs. 


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Important Questions to Consider

Before you make a final decision, there are some questions you need to ask yourself. Remember, this is not the solution for every occasion, so asking these questions can help determine if it’s a good choice. 

  1. Can you expand in some other direction or area?  
  2. Is the basement space you have generally wet or dry? 
  3. How high off the ground does your first floor lie? 
  4. What is your proximity to your neighbors? 
  5. Is there room to get digging equipment under your home? 

Each of these factors will affect your costs, as well as the ability to effectively complete a basement digout project.

The Benefits of a Basement Digout 

Many times, a person chooses to do a basement digout because there are substantial benefits to doing so. It can be a costly project, but there are many elements that can pay off for the investor. 

Some of those benefits include:

  • A cool place to relax, especially in the summer
  • Additional bathrooms and bedrooms for guests or household members
  • Create a home office
  • Enjoy a place for entertainment, like a game or theater room
  • You can have more space without worrying about relocating
  • Your home’s value will increase
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How Much Does a Basement Digout Cost? 

At Drycrete Waterproofing, we will work with you to determine the estimated cost of your project. Several factors can affect the cost, as every home is different. 

Some of the things that will be considered are the amount of dirt that needs to be removed, what is already in the space, what type of debris has to be dug out, the square feet of work to be done, the depth of the basement, and your geographic area. 

The more complicated projects that require additional stability methods do tend to cost more. The best way to get a starting number is to let us take a look and discuss the project with you to create an estimate.

It is important to note the majority of this type of work is considered micro excavation and labor intensive. Whenever possible, we utilize mini excavation equipment to help dig down. In addition, we deploy conveyor systems to help move material out of the basement and skid steers to carry stone back and forth. Easy access to the basement improves the timeline; however, limited access or even access through only a window does not prohibit us from doing our job. As a matter of fact, Drycrete does basement dugouts in urban settings like Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston with poor access frequently.

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How Long Does a Basement Digout Take? 

Just like the cost of a basement digout, the timeline of the project can vary significantly. This will be a long-term project that will likely take some time to complete.  You’re probably looking at several weeks from start to finish. If you decide to move forward, the wait is generally well worth it in the end.  Our team on these types of projects consists of a project manager, crew leader, and technicians, typically reaching five to seven employees per site. We do this to ensure we can provide timeliness.

Drycrete Waterproofing Can Help with Your Basement Digout

Drycrete Waterproofing has been in the business for more than 30 years. We believe in delivering quality and consistent services to every customer that comes our way. If you’ve been considering a basement digout or have questions about what it involves, let’s chat! Contact us at Drycrete Waterproofing to find out more about your options and get an estimate for your project.

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