12:25PM | 09/13/01
Member Since: 09/12/01
1 lifetime posts
Ok, so here's the deal... my hubby and I are looking at buying an older home, maybe 80-90 years old. The main portion of the house is about 25 ft by 45 ft and there is an addition on the back which houses the kitchen area of about 10 ft by 30 ft (this may sound large but the entire house has been converted to a duplex - we would be buying the entire building) Currently, the house sits about 3 ft above ground level and there is a semi-basement, more of a cellar, that sits under the main portion of the house (about 51/2 feet high-ish) and a crawl space under the addition. Both have dirt floors. We can buy for the house for a ridiculously low price with the option of adding a home improvement loan to the mortgage... so I'm thinking I would like a full basement. But, strangely, there seems to be little info about this on the web. I have a friend who added a basement to his grandparent's home and they did all the work themselves - it cost them several thousand dollars and took a summer, and they had no pre-existing basement space, which I found encouraging. I think we'd go the contractor route, personally... Given all of these factors, what kind of money would I be looking at, and what kind of time?

[This message has been edited by seekrit (edited September 13, 2001).]

Jay J

04:30PM | 09/13/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi seekrit,

I realize that you want some 'comfort' in hearing what it might cost and how long the work will take but you have to see that it's hard for anyone (on this forum in particular) to see the 'job' from here.

You'll want to consider the use of an Architect. You have a LOT going on here. An Architect has all the resources they need to design and guide you on the work. IMO, if you're doing the work yourself, spend some of the money you save on EXPERT advice. Granted your friends did this on their own. Their circumstance, too, I/we don't know (and you didn't say but it makes no matter.) Even if they had friends that guided them in matters that they didn't know, well, at least there was some expert advice. I don't know. Neither here nor there, ...

Let me give you a couple of example. A 5.5' dirt basement needs to be excavated. How is the dirt going to get out? Where do the utilities come in? Will they have to be moved. (...Which is something you can't do.) Will the existing HVAC unit be able to 'service' the house INCLUDING the new addition? How's the house going to be supported while you 'dig' out the ground? (Footings/Piers will need to be installed.) And maybe you'll need an ENTIER foundation. What about drainage issues outside the home? What about 'obstacles' like driveways, walkways, and patios? Will they be a problem to work around? And still, do you want an 8' finished ceiling or a 9' one? (Go higher so you can run ducts and stuff W/O having to 'box' them in later.) Is the electrical service enough in the house now, and with the addition, will you need an upgrade? I can go on and on and on ...

I think you get the picture. You might want to look for a good book to see what's involved. They do have them. Try bookstores,, and the like. You know, if you mess up where the 1st & 2nd floors end up in the basement, good luck explaining THAT to your insurance company. And, to boot, they won't cover your 'results'. (They'll prove incompetence REALLY easily.)

Sooooo, what do I suggest??! Leave the 'rough work' to the Pros. Work w/an Architect for a FINISHED design. Do the finish work. Have the Pro(s) do the basement to the point where you can do the finish work at YOUR convenience. There are WAY too many variables here, and w/your experience, you'll have problems. I wish I had better news for you.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: Others may differ ...

PPS: God bless America ...

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