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Author: EsamMoney Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 129272  
Subject: Deepening Basement Date: 11/27/2006 11:05 AM
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Alright I have this crazy idea of what I want my house to be and I'm already planning ahead about 3 major projects.

I would like to build a full gym in my basement. I have always wanted this. However, if I finish the basement, it just won't be tall enough for some of the equipment.

I would like to dig the basement deeper to accommodate this. I only plan on doing a portion of the basement if possible. When finished, you would step down into that section of the basement. By doing this I hope to avoid having to redo any electrical or sewage/drainage pipes.

If I understand that it is going to take a long time and will be a lot of work, is it feasible to consider this as a project? I plan to do all of the work myself (with some help from my brother and father) if possible.

I have a couple acres of land, so I can store the concrete/dirt that I excavate indefinitely.
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Author: otter6 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 83777 of 129272
Subject: Re: Deepening Basement Date: 11/27/2006 11:53 AM
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yes its feasible. The biggest concern is for the water table in your area... which of course a sump pump can take care of...

assuming you already have a concrete floor? breaking it up, carting out the dirt will be the dirty work, hard labor... hopefully you have an open access to the outside like a wide window...

if you have door to the outside for instance? Build a ramp, mount a WINCH or come along onto something outside the house.... use it to pull up say a wagon full of dirt rather than fighting it up the incline...

and actually, if you have a pickup, build an incline taller than the bed of your truck, winch the load up to the end of the incline... and using another winch, lift up the low end of the wagon for dumping purposes...

and then its just a matter of putting down a base to lay new concrete onto....

sure its a little labor intensive, but very feasible....

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Author: HomeMoaner Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 83779 of 129272
Subject: Re: Deepening Basement Date: 11/27/2006 12:13 PM
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might compromise the footings/foundation of the house. just guessing, tho. (less dirt inside, more dirt outside pushing in.)

sounds like something that'd probably need a permit.

HM!

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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 83780 of 129272
Subject: Re: Deepening Basement Date: 11/27/2006 12:26 PM
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assuming you already have a concrete floor? breaking it up, carting out the dirt will be the dirty work, hard labor... hopefully you have an open access to the outside like a wide window...

Another question, perhaps irrelevant, is whether the concrete is post-tension. Cutting one of those cables would be bad (maybe lethal).

I would contact an engineer, and I'm sure something like this would need a permit. I agree the actual labor is probably do-able, but I'd probably hire it out anyway (this would exceed my "save a little money" versus "break my back and need a chiropractor" threshold).

1poorguy

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Author: YewGuise Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 83789 of 129272
Subject: Re: Deepening Basement Date: 11/27/2006 7:31 PM
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...might compromise the footings/foundation of the house...

If you're against an outside wall or interior column footing, you would need to
1) underpin the footing if you're digging below it (for example, www.atlassys.com), not a DIY project,
2) check that the walls & columns are still OK for greater heights (a structural engineer can run the numbers, but for soil pressure against outside walls he'd need a geotech report 1st).

If you move far enough away from existing footings, you'll be OK. To determine how far is far enough, it helps to know the depth of the existing footings, but let's say 2'-0" as a safe guess. If you want your new floor to be at -4'-0", then you'll need a wall around the depression with a new wall footing at about -5'-0". This is 3'-0" below existing footings, so ideally should be 4'-6" from them, although some engineers would allow a 3'-0" proximity.

If you only want to drop the slab about 1'-0", you might be able to do that and still be on top of existing footings, in which case it's very doable.

(If anyone's done something similar, I'd be interested in ballpark prices. My own basement has a 7' ceiling, and if I could drop the slab another 1' before finishing the area, I think that would make a huge difference.)

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Author: EsamMoney Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 83790 of 129272
Subject: Re: Deepening Basement Date: 11/27/2006 8:42 PM
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If you only want to drop the slab about 1'-0", you might be able to do that and still be on top of existing footings, in which case it's very doable.

That is in the ballpark of what I'm looking for. I don't need a ton of extra height really. My situation is very similar to yours.

I appreciate the advice from all those who have responded. I'm going to keep pondering the idea while I finish the kitchen/new bathroom in basement/fence in backyard...

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Author: otter6 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 83792 of 129272
Subject: Re: Deepening Basement Date: 11/27/2006 9:24 PM
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http://www.askthebuilder.com/printer_B10_Forces_Harmful_to_House_Foundation_Footers.shtml

thats what your original message implied to me... the key to this "idea" is not to undercut the footers themselves.... nor disturb the "dirt" pressing up against the outer walls...

for info, we did this to my parents house some years ago. They only had a full basement under 1/2 of the house.... we excavated out the rest of the dirt by hand and poured a floor... no problems...

and I know of a couple of others that have done similar operations involving removing dirt and pouring floors to create "space"...

the key is having a sound footer and wall installation to begin with...

maybe the thing for you to do is discuss this project with a "firm"/contractor that does it. let them tell you what they "worry about" and do to deal with the concerns...

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Author: Watty56 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 83801 of 129272
Subject: Re: Deepening Basement Date: 11/28/2006 11:00 AM
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... I have a couple acres of land

Since space isn't a constraint like in an urban setting, it might be getter to build an outbuilding for your gym. One of the problems that you will be facing is that for all the work, expense, and risk, which you are taking on with the basement, you really aren't adding all that much to the resale value of your house. With an additional building a future owner could use it for a variety of uses, which would make your house more desirable. In addition if I were looking to buy a house, structural modifications like this would be a huge minus.

Greg


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