If you like the area you live in but you need more space, then the logical option is to extend. In London and other city locations, however, that can be a problem too. You may not want to sacrifice part of your precious green space to an extension and if you’ve already used the loft, where can you go?
The increasingly popular answer is the basement. If your property already has a basement or cellar you have a good starting point, but even if it hasn’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the space beneath your feet. Adding a basement can give you the extra space you need as well as adding value to your home.
Adding a Basement
There are a number of things you need to consider when you’re thinking about adding a basement. First of all, you will need planning permission. This is generally not hard to get as long as the external appearance of the property isn’t being altered, but you’ll also need to ensure that the work complies with building regulations in relation to insulation and means of escape.
If your house is semi-detached or in a terrace, you’ll also need to consider party wall agreements with your neighbours. Walls may need to be underpinned to ensure that the property and adjoining houses aren’t damaged.
Finally, you need to consider waterproofing. The old method of tanking the basement to stop water getting in is expensive and difficult to do well. Most modern basements use a membrane drainage system that allows water to drain down behind the decorated interior walls and then be safely pumped away. A specialist basement contractor will be able to advise you on the best option for your property.
Constructing a basement may not be as disruptive as you think either. You may not even need to move out as a specialist contractor can dig under the house from the garden.
Using the Space
Basements can be used in a number of ways to add to the versatility of your home. They’re a popular means of adding recreational space such as a gym, games room or home cinema. If you work from home, a basement can also make a great office, away from the distractions of the rest of the household. You can, of course, use the basement as an extension of your living space, and they make great teenage bedrooms, for example.
If you want to earn some extra cash by letting out part of your property, a basement can provide a good solution, especially if it can be built so that it has its own external access via steps down from the garden.
Although you may think that basements are dark and gloomy this needn’t be the case. Adding skylights or light pipes can bring in natural light, making for a pleasant living space. This means basements are a more versatile way of extending your home than ever.