Tell that to my Marine buddy and his son who went coon hunting near Quantico
and ending up covered in ticks. Close to 300. Little things can hurt you
just as badly as some of the big ones. (-: Squirrels laughed at my first
attempts to screen them out of the attic. Now the vents are covered with
1/4" thick metal gridwork of the kind seen on metal stair risers on old
front stoops. Apparently if the squirrels were raised in the attic, they
want back in very badly and will chew wherever they can catch a whiff of
their old haunts.
That makes sense. It also makes sense, as other have suggested, to have
basement in an area with a high water table or in areas prone to flash
floods. It's sound like areas without basements have some serious "other"
issues to consider. When I see interviews with people in flood areas on the
news saying it's their fourth or fifth total innundation, I ask myself
"What does it take to get people to move to higher ground?"
Are basements really built outside tornado alley just to provide refuge? I
wonder if it's a throwback to the days of root cellars and once the trend
of basements got going it didn't stop - until it met areas where it was not
a good idea.
Watching them would just encourage them. (-:
No, they're just the *gateway* to the end of the world . . . (-"
When you get to be as skinny as you were when you're older than say 50, it's
usually not a very good thing. Be thankful for that fat. Well, some of it,
Mike Rowe was working in a damn tight space - so tight he was getting his
butt snagged when backing up. It couldn't have been much taller than 12 or
14" inches worth of space. And all they were doing was inspecting and
removing dead raccoon and skunk carcasses. Working under there just has to
be grim. What I would worry about is how long it could take to get out of
there if you had an accident, got some chemicals in your eye or whatever?
Tank crews have a loop on their backs for quick extraction and they're not
cramped at all compared to some crawl spaces. Of course, your average house
won't blow a 100' crater if the stored ammo lights up accidentally.
Anywhere the winters are cold cellars started as safe storage for
edibles. Then when central heat came along [even if it was just a
coal/wood burner in the basement under a grate- the cellar became heat
One of the houses I grew up in had;
1. a furnace room
2. a coal room
3. a cold storage room
Another had a 1000gallon cistern in it.
Both had parts of the house that were later additions with crawl
Don't over-analyze it. Assuming you don't have a high water table, and
the ground isn't full of rocks, basements are the cheapest square
footage you can add in new construction. You have to put in a foundation
system anyway. With modern digging machinery, the cost delta to dig a
little deeper, and pour a little more concrete and/or lay another 8-10
courses of block, is trivial compared to the overall cost of the new
house. Not at all like the old days when foundations were mainly
hand-dug, and the dirt had to be hauled away in wagons if you had no
place on the property to dump it.
IMHO, THAT is why basements became popular in the early part of 20th
century. The fad started in urban areas, of course, because it made it a
lot easier to hook up to city water and sewer, especially if they
happened to be deeply buried on the street in question.
Of course, all of the above assumes the builder wasn't clueless about
drainage and foundation sealing, or too cheap to put them in, figuring
he'd be long gone. I've been in 1930s basements that were bone-dry and
odorless, so they did know how to do it back then. I've also been in
1990s basements where mushrooms were growing.
The last home my father and us boys built on the family farm, was dug
into the side of a slope. One side of the basement is at ground level.
I'm not sure if there is a specific term for that sort of construction
but it has a spectacular view of the valley below since the house is
only 100 yards from the top of the mountain. Dad wanted to build right
at the peak but Mom wouldn't allow it because when the project was begun
me and my siblings were little kids. There is a cliff at the peak
with another spectacular view and it's a very long way to the bottom.
It's a wonder any of us kids survived.
That would be my guess on why they became so popular. Cities like New York,
Boston and Philly were immigrant centers and any extra space built had the
potential to be rentable. So as you say, the marginal cost of adding a
basement had the potential to pay for itself with extra tenants.
Most builders do. (-: I recall seeing one house when I was looking for
fixer uppers in the 1980's where the foundation consisted of bricks, bottle
jacks and an odd assortment of other supports. I couldn't believe it hadn't
been condemned which I believe did happen as soon as people starting looking
at it and began asking questions about its ability to get a C of O.
Based on the number of basements in old houses I've seen in big cities, they
are the rule, not the exception. As others have noted, once you got to
areas where land was cheaper, basements made less sense.
That's an interesting thought. Some architecture student must have done a
research project on American basements. Maybe I'll give it a Google.
Yep. There's been good work and bad work since the dawn of time. I would
have like to have been there to see the look on the Pharoh's face when the
first early step pyramid crashed under their own weight. It took them a
while to realize that steepness had its limits.
There was a program on Nova just a while back on collapsing cathedrals.
Quite a few of those toppled before they understood the dynamics of flying
buttresses (which my nephew thought had something to do with fast, fat
waitresses the first time he heard it).
The house I grew up in, the main basement was only just over 5 feet
high, the cistern was out behind, and when we built the addition on
the back in '64 it got a full basement under the part of the addition
that was not over the cistern.
When I saw the extent of the bites I can easily understand how they could
kill moose AND people. My bud and his son had built a blind and were
sitting in it and said they felt little if anything as those suckers climbed
up and hitched a ride. I certainly never felt the one that I found clamped
on the tip of my you-know-what when I went to take a leak after mucking out
a friend's stable. I imagine that when hundreds start sucking at the same
time, enough blood volume loss can make some people faint.
My jarhead friend spent a few days taking turns with his son sitting in a
bathtub of clorox solution. It was the only thing that even put a crimp in
the itching. Now he's got to be innoculated for and tested and retested for
all wonderful diseases ticks carry. This is the same poor guy who after
pulling all the weeds surrounding his new home got the almost the worst case
of poison ivy I had ever seen. His arms looked like bloody loaves of bread,
the skin was splitting open.
After seeing that, even on the hottest days in the garden you'll find me in
long pants, boots, long-sleeved shirts and gloves. I remember getting a bad
case of poison ivy reeling in a 100' extension cord in my hands that had
passed through a small patch of the crap as I pulled it in. The dose on my
thumb was so high it left a permanent mark on the skin. That was the finger
that wiped along every inch of the stinking wire as I reeled it in.
The worst case was a guy I knew was way back at school who used leaves to
wipe his butt. He was enough of a naturalist to know what leaves were OK -
except they were all entwined with poison ivy which he failed notice. It
was rubber inner tube and screaming in the bathroom for a long, long time.
Reminds me of the story of PT109 and how they were so thirsty one night that
they licked the dew drops off the plants until to find out the next day they
were covered with guano.
On Fri, 5 Nov 2010 23:27:24 -0400, "Robert Green"
Up here you need to get below frost for the footings.
If you are going to dig a hole anyways, why fill it, when for the cost
of a concrete floor you have doubled the floorspace of a bungalow, and
increased the floor space of a 2 storey by 50%?
It is the cheapest space you can build, when the hole has already been
dug - and going deep enough for a 7 1/2 foot deep basement instead of
a 4 foot one isn't much more expensibe if bedrock is not involved.
In the summer my basement is the coolest part of the house, and in the
winter the warmest. It is fully finished except for the furnace room -
and with the house being only just over 20X30 feet, the extra room is
Further evidence supporting your theory is NYC. They blast six story
basements out of the bedrock when building because land values are still
ridiculously high and probably always will be. You can rent out parking
spaces in the basement for incredible sums - at least they were incredible
the last time I had to park in Manhattan ($500 a month in nineteen eighty
somethings). They probably get $3K a month now.
I agree. That's why I'd pay a premium for a house with a basement although
I must confess, my stores mostly junk since I live in one of those 100 year
flood zones that now floods every 10 years. We had close to 12" of rain in
"Places like Federalsburg, Maryland had to be evacuated when over ten inches
fell in only 24 hours. Washington DC and Columbia, Maryland had similar
conditions on June 25th, when seven to ten inches of rain fell in only 24
hours. Northeast Maryland, just east and northeast of Baltimore, experienced
extreme rainfall on June 25th, when seven to ten inches of rain fell in only
24 hours. One of the highest rainfall totals in the entire region was at
North Bel Air, MD, just north of Baltimore, which had nearly 12 inches."
That kind of water turns streets into waterways. I saw cars flooded up to
the hood. I began wondering whether I should have built an ark in the
Well, my house is built at the high point of the street, on a
sandmound just over half a mile from the grand river, which would have
to rize over 200 feet to reach my house. I don't even have a sump
pump, or provision for one. The "T" intersection beside our house (we
are a corner lot) has occaisionally filled withwater when the 3 storm
drains all get plugged - usually with ice from snow-plough ridges, and
we get a heavy rain/thaw. Only had a trickle of water in the basement
once - before we replaced the rotted sill to the back patio door.
Crawlspace homes are common in CA where it's not wet or damp. I went
under mine to run some tv cable and was surprised at the total lack of
most everything, even spiders. Jes dirt and wood flooring. Here in
CO, it's similar. OTOH, I have an freaky aversion to spiders. The
solution is cleanroom suits. When I went under our park model home to
plumb a new sewage run, a cleanroom suit was perfect for the job.
Kept me clean and kept the crawlies out.
I jes happened to have a couple, from working in clean rooms at one
time, but "bunny suits" can be purchased for home use. I've found
them as low as $8 ea. Since they are pretty tough, even the disposable
paper suits, they can be reused a couple times.
You can get 'em as low as $5 ea if you're willing to buy a couple
dozen. If I gotta go where the bug count ain't low, I'll gladly shell
out a twenty for a couple suits and shipping. ;)
In those cases it's not necessary. The ledge *is* the frost footing. Anchor
Nonsense. As others have pointed out, you still need to get the foundation
down below frost, so a basement is essentially free; just dig out a little
more dirt (and often use it for fill on the same lot).
Ever notice how many of those are in the Southeast? No need for an 8' frost
footing in GA. HGTV comes out of Atlanta, IIRC.
My current house (100mi from Atlanta) is on slab. About half around here have
crawl spaces and basements are rare. The only house with a basement that we
looked at when we bought this house was built into a cliff. It looked like it
was going to slide down into the abyss any minute. A 20' high retaining wall
was all that was holding it onto the hillside. OTOH, the real reason we
didn't buy it was that SWMBO didn't like the kitchen. ;-) It had a 2300ft^2
unfinished basement that I would have *loved*.
On 11/6/2010 4:21 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I suppose when you're married, you must make compromises to stay that
way. I'm uncompromising, that's probably why I'm single. Of course the
drooling and the crazy eyes may have something to do with it too. :-O
On Sat, 06 Nov 2010 18:31:26 -0500, The Daring Dufas
Kinda. When we were looking for this house, we both had a "veto", which even
a couple of years ago limited our choices considerably. I liked one house
that had a 3-car garage, until I measured it. This one at least had some
space that could be converted into a shop. I'll have to cut a hole in the
garage ceiling to hoist the tools up.
After ~40 years at least the "drooling" part pretty much dries up.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.