Basement Dig Out in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Drycrete waterproofing offers basement dig out services in Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We’ve seen dirty, dingy basements transform into beautiful, finished spaces. If you want more time in your home, an increase in property value, and room for your family to grow contact, Drycrete Waterproofing today!

What is a basement dig out?

A basement dig out, also referred to as a “basement lowering,” is a construction process that involves increasing the height of a basement or creating additional living space by lowering the basement floor level. This method is typically employed when homeowners or property developers want to enhance the usable space in their basement areas.

Why would you want to dig out your basement?

To legally finish the space:

One major reason that homeowners choose to gain height in their basement through the dig out process is to meet code requirements for a legally finished basement. The minimum required ceiling height will vary from town to town, but many areas require 7 to 7.5 feet of height.
You might know somebody who has refinished their basement without pulling permits or meeting code, however, aside from the legal ramifications of completing such a project, there are various benefits to legally refinishing your basement:
Property Appraisal
Legally finished basements are considered a part of the total living area of a property and are factored into the appraisal value. They contribute to the overall square footage of the house, which generally increases the property’s market value.
Resale Value
A legally finished basement can attract more potential buyers due to the added usable living space and compliance with building codes, resulting in increased demand and potentially higher resale value.
Financing and Insurance
Banks and mortgage lenders typically consider the legal living area of a property when determining the loan amount. A legally finished basement can contribute to a higher Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). Additionally, homeowner’s insurance policies may not cover damage to illegal improvements, leaving homeowners at risk if something goes wrong.
Rental Income
In some areas, a legally finished basement can be rented out as a separate dwelling unit, providing additional rental income for homeowners.

To deal with overhead obstructions:

In some instances, you may have the height to legally finish your basement but overhead obstructions such as HVAC systems or plumbing can cause an issue when refinishing the space. During a remodel, a ceiling is installed, and a floor is laid down. If you must account for ductwork and plumbing the finished height of your basement can be quickly reduced giving the space a claustrophobic feel. A basement dig out can help give you the added space to account for any overhead obstructions and leave your finished basement with plenty of head space.

To complete a specific project:

At Drycrete Waterproofing we have worked with many homeowners to help them achieve the basement that they only dreamed of. From golf simulators to basement gyms, and even hydrotherapy pools there are a variety of projects that may require an increased height in the basement. These often take the form of partial basement dig outs which are easier to complete as they require less structural planning than a full dig out.

Common Basement Dig out Methods:

There are several different methods that can be used for a basement dig out. 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.

Considering a Basement Dig out?

It’s important to ask yourself why you’re considering a basement dig out. Are you looking to add value to your home? Do you want to give your family space to continue growing? Perhaps you want to add a new feature to your home such as a gym, a workshop, or a home office. This, along with your property’s limitations can help you determine what the best method of expanding your home may be. Your options include:

Can you expand elsewhere?

Above grade square footage is valued at a higher dollar amount than below grade, so many people will choose to expand above grade rather than digging out their basements. However, a variety of factors may make digging out your basement the best option. Some considerations when deciding what project is right for you:

Is the investment worth it?

When deciding if a basement dig out is a good investment, you should consider what below grade, finished square footage is valued at in your area. Consider the full cost of the project including the basement dig out and finishing the space. Understand how much extra square footage you will be gaining and use that to determine what the project would cost you per square foot to complete. Now you can compare that against the market value of that finished square footage.

What is the dig out process?

You’ve decided that a basement dig out is the right project for your home but before you can get an accurate quote or start the planning process you have to assess whether a basement dig out is even possible.

Step 1: Dig test holes

The first thing we need to know when we are considering a basement dig out is what’s underneath your slab. If your basement height is 66 inches is there a reason for that? When they were building the house did they hit water or ledge and have to raise the grade? If the water table is very high or there is ledge close to your slab, then you won’t be able to lower your basement.
If we determine that you have no ledge and your water table is low enough, then we can proceed with the project. While digging the test holes we also take samples of the soil underneath your basement to assess soil composition. This will play a pivotal role in developing the engineering details.

Step 2: Bring in the engineer

After we’ve determined that the project is possible and taken soil samples, an engineer will develop a design based on the depth you want to go, the soil conditions that you have, and your foundation type. At Drycrete Waterproofing, we can refer an engineer or if you have one you’ve been working with then we are happy to coordinate with them.

Step 3: Complete the dig out

From start to finish you can expect a basement dig out to take about 2 to 3 weeks to complete. You can continue to live in the house while the project is underway.
The process:
1. Break up and take out the old basement floor.
2. Dig down the middle of the basement to your desired height leaving about 2 feet of soil around the perimeter to support the foundation.

3. As we dig down around the existing footings and lally columns we put cribbing and temporary lally columns down at the new elevation.

4. We work in sections along the wall, digging out the area where we will be doing the underpinning or benching that day.

5. At the same time, we’ll be working on the new footings and lally columns. Digging out the hole, pouring the footings, and placing the longer lally columns.

6. Once the foundation is properly supported and the footings and lally columns are in place we install French drains and a sump basin, lie down crushed stone, then 14mm vapor barrier, then finally pour a brand new 4 inch slab.

drycrete waterproofing can help with your Basement Dig Out!

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 dig out 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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