How Contractors Dig Basements Ready for Floor Slabbing

Many home-owners add an extra room to their home by digging out a basement. A key benefit of doing this is that it increases the value of your property without having to build an extension.

Floors of a new basement are often provided by a slab foundation – a layer of concrete about 15cms thick poured onto a bed of drainage material such as gravel or rock.

basement-diggingConcrete footings are poured at the same time as the slab. Footings are columns that run from the slab into the ground to anchor the foundation.

The Excavation Process

The earthmoving process ahead of basement slabbing requires experience and careful planning.

A good basement excavation contractor will use state-of-the-art earthmoving equipment manned by skilled technicians.

This eliminates or greatly reduces the risk of mishaps such as damaging existing foundations or those of your close neighbours, or slicing through electricity cables or gas and water pipes.

From a safety point of view, the basement earthmoving process entails:

  • Shoring up the sides of the site with braces.
  • Installing sump pumps to prevent flooding due to heavy rain.
  • Using trench boxes to avoid soil collapses.

The basement excavation process can be complicated for a layperson and may involve moving a lot of earth.

Professionals typically follow a bulk excavation procedure based on:

  • Thorough evaluation of the structure.
  • The actual digging out of the basement with specialised equipment.
  • Addressing any drainage or waterproofing issues.

Your new basement is then ready for pouring the slab foundation/floor.

Pros and Cons of Basement Slab Foundations

Basement slabbing is particularly suitable for level sites in a warm environment. It works as the foundation for your property as well as providing a robust but smooth surface for your basement floor. The slab also supports the lower levels of the foundation wall against earth pressure.

Advantages of a slab foundation include:

  • Relatively basic preparation.
  • Only light formwork is necessary.
  • Preventing water and gases such as radon from getting into your property – there’s no space between the ground and the slab.

Downsides of a slab foundation:

  • Can be prone to insect infestation.
  • The slab may crack in cold weather.
  • Sensitivity to soil movement and tree roots.

Benefits of Basement Excavation and Slab Floors

Once your basement has been excavated and the slab foundation and floor installed, you’ve opened up numerous possibilities for making the most of your new living space.

A good basement earthmoving contractor will have dug down to a level that creates comfortable head room so your new basement can be used for a variety of purposes.

Popular options for using a new basement space include:

  • Second living room.
  • Bar area.
  • Games room.
  • Entertainment space for guests.
  • Home cinema.
  • Home Office.

Because basements are typically large areas, they also lend themselves to partitioning to provide different zones for various activities or hobbies.

A further benefit of a basement excavation and slab floor is a financial one. Not only will your new basement enhance your lifestyle, adding another room to your home will also potentially boost its market worth on resale.

UK property advice platform House Extension Online says a new basement space can increase the value of a home by 20-30 per cent.

Why You Need a Professional Basement Earthmoving Contractor

Transforming the often-neglected space beneath a house into an extension of your family home can bring a host of lifestyle benefits – and financial advantages, should you decide to put your house up for sale.

This can only happen, though, if your new space is built on a sound foundation created by quality earthmoving work. Unlike amateurs, a professional basement earthmoving contractor can guarantee error-free work to give you a versatile new space to be proud of.

Erin Emanuel

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