If you’ve got a basement that doesn’t have enough headroom, there are things you can do about it. There are (essentially) two ways to gain more vertical space within a home: lowering or heightening something. But, of course, the tricky part is making sure the editing of those structures doesn’t affect the stability of your house in any way. That’s where South Jersey Waterproofing and our structural engineers come into play!
You can lower the floor of your basement, but it is not recommended to raise the height of your basement. This is because most houses have a flat slab foundation. And typically, adding additional height could result in structural problems.
If you are trying to increase the height of your basement, there are also some things you should consider. Things such as how much weight will be on the floor above the basement. If it’s only going to be lightweight (like minimal furniture), then it won’t cause any problems with raising the height of your basement. However, if heavy equipment such as machinery or concrete blocks were added, you might reconsider. This would cause damage because they would overburden whatever supports are holding up that section of wall/flooring/etc.
Because most homes have more than a few pieces of lightweight furniture on the floor above, lowering the basement floor is usually the way to go.
Case Study: Audubon, NJ
In May of 2014, a homeowner in Audubon, NJ, asked us to come in and assess their basement. They wanted more headroom to utilize the space for their hobbies efficiently. However, like many homes in the area, this one was also historic. That means extra care and consideration are needed in the planning and execution.
The main issue was ensuring that lowering the basement floor would result in a structurally safe home. But any new issues related to water drainage would also be compensated for. That’s because as you excavate and lower your basement floor, you can face new groundwater issues.
In a matter of days, our team dug out, lowered the floor, and poured new concrete. We gained them an extra 18 inches of height for this historic Audubon, NJ home! That’s four standard coffee mugs stacked on each other or six Post-it notes! Try visualizing that by reaching out for these objects on your desk right now! 🙂
Our waterproofing team also installed a brand-new drain system and sump pump. This was done to help tackle any potential new water issues in the lowered basement.
If you are considering lowering your basement floor and want to ensure that the potential water-intrusion issues that could follow are considered, contact the structural engineering experts at South Jersey Waterproofing today by calling or clicking here! We have been proud to service the Audubon, NJ, area and beyond for over three generations and aren’t slowing down any time soon.