All About Basements

Posted on April 19,2015 by user-756436 in basement

Foundation discussions can get heated. For some reason, builders often dig in their heels when the topic of slabs versus crawl spaces versus basements comes up. It’s time to declare a truce. It’s perfectly possible to build a great house on any one of these three foundation types, as long as everything is properly detailed. Each type of foundation has advantages as well as disadvantages. If you have a foundation type that you prefer, that’s great. I’m not going to try to change your mind.

An Old House Gets a New Thermomass Basement

Posted on April 19,2015 by user-1109645 in basement

To prepare our bid for a comprehensive renovation project in Cambridge, Massachusetts, we visited the old house several times. On one of the walk-throughs, we realized that the foundation was failing in many places. We therefore proposed to raise the house and replace the entire foundation. Raising this house was a challenging process, given the tight space and the existing condition of the house.

Foundations — Part 2

Posted on April 19,2015 by ChrisBriley in basement

Phil and I have returned to continue our discussion on foundations. In Part One, we covered slabs and frost walls, and in this part we cover basements and crawl spaces.

The Highlights:

**Do you really need a basement?** If there's no programmatic need for a basement (like the need for a workshop), then perhaps you can do without one. **Insulation: Inside or outside?** There are many reasons to insulate on either side. We weigh the pros and cons.

Foundations — Part 1

Posted on April 19,2015 by ChrisBriley in basement

Not too long ago I found myself in a deep conversation (pun intended) about frost-protected slabs with some other architects and building professionals. I was surprised at the energy surrounding the topic. We all seemed to have developed substantial differences in the details on our own and we were all learning from each other. I was equally surprised at how fresh this concept seemed — I mean, haven’t we been founding our wood structures on the ground for centuries now? Millennia, even?

Beware of This Expensive Ventilation Scam

Posted on April 19,2015 by ab3 in basement

How much does an exhaust fan cost? Search online and you can find lots of them that move 200 cubic feet per minute (cfm) for $100 to $150. But, if you put one in a semi-attractive (emphasis on the "semi") package, create some fancy marketing materials, and target people who don't know much building science, you can charge $1,200 to $1,700 for that same fan. At least that seems to be the business plan for these three companies.

Do I Really Need a Concrete Basement Floor?

Posted on April 19,2015 by ScottG in basement

Rob Rosen is diving into a basement remodel, a job that involves digging out and removing a concrete slab to provide more headroom so the basement can be turned into usable living space. He'll reinforce the footing and foundation as needed, but when it comes time to build a new floor for the basement, Rosen wonders whether he can go with something other than a concrete slab.

What’s the Best Basement Flooring System?

Posted on April 19,2015 by ScottG in basement

With a basement remodel underway, Jeff Dieterle weighs his options for a trouble-free floor. "We want to do the kitchen and bathroom in tile or stone and the rest of the area in wall-to-wall carpet," he writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor.

Placing Concrete In Our ICF Foundation Walls

Posted on April 19,2015 by user-961160 in basement

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a [no-glossary]Passivhaus[/no-glossary] in Maine. This is the 23rd article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.]

How to Insulate a Basement Wall

Posted on April 19,2015 by user-756436 in basement

Here at GBA, we regularly receive questions from readers about the best way to insulate a basement wall. Since these questions pop up frequently, it’s time to pull together as much information as possible on this topic. In this article, I’ll try to explain everything you always wanted to know about insulating basement walls.

Carpet in Basements: The Issues, Solutions, and Alternatives

Posted on April 19,2015 by Peterbilt in affordable housing

Designing dry, warm basement floors Dry, warm, basement floors are designed to manage:

Basement-to-Living-Space Moisture Problems

Posted on April 19,2015 by ScottG in basement

Scott Razzino has an all-too-familiar problem. The basement of his 1,100-sq.-ft. home in Atlanta is chronically damp. He's installed a 65-pint dehumidifier, which must be emptied every day. Surely, he wonders in this Q&A post, there must be a better way to tackle the problem.

7 Steps to an Energy-Efficient House: 1. The Basement

Posted on April 19,2015 by Betsy Pettit in basement

Editor's introduction: With energy prices rising again, many homeowners are planning energy-efficiency improvements to their homes. But most people are unsure of where to begin, and even seasoned builders don’t always know which priorities should rise to the top of the list. Betsy Pettit, an architect at [Building Science Corporation](, recommends starting where you can get the most bang for the buck.

How Did Water Damage this Brick Basement?

Posted on April 19,2015 by rwotzak in basement

In a [**recent discussion from our Q&A forum**](node/16524), Chris Ermides tries to determine what caused severe deterioration of a brick column in the basement of his Victorian home. Chris knows that his basement could use some moisture remediation, but he is puzzled that none of the nearby brick walls have similar signs of decay. Fortunately, the chimney that the column once supported is long gone, and the load of the adjacent beams rests comfortably on lally columns, but Chris is still determined to solve this mystery.

Ground Gutters

Posted on April 19,2015 by Mike_Maines in basement

The rubble stone foundation walls wept every time it rained, creating a dank, humid basement. The destructive power of ice dams, and a huge, overhanging elm tree created maintenance issues, leaving our clients unwilling to replace the gutters original to the old two-story house. The lot sloping to the rear left the downhill neighbors’ yards saturated much of the year. How were we going to solve these problems? By installing a ground gutter system.

Green Basics Foundation Types
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