Concrete basement construction details
Basements are a great solution for homeowners in the UK especially in cases where there’s limitation of space for extending upward or outwards. Not only does a basement construction add a considerable amount of space, it’s also a great way of improving the value of your property. But most important is to establish whether your property is suitable for a basement construction or not.
Having London basement conversions on property is among some of the profitable investments any homeowner can make. As much as basement conversions tend to cost more than any extension or loft conversion, they are worth every dime.
Whether it’s an existing building or a new build, we shall have a look at all you need to know concerning building a concrete basement and what methods are there.
3 main types of basement construction
When thinking of constructing a basement, some of the most important things to put into consideration include thermal control and moisture protection.
The stability and sturdiness of every element is also crucial. This is one reason why most contractors opt to use mesh reinforcement to ensure the strength of the concrete structure.
We shall discuss some of the three common types that you can consider for your concrete basement wall construction.
1. Block Concrete
Also known as masonry walls, this happens to be the least expensive method. The basement walls are built using masonry or concrete block units. This method also takes a shorter period than what it would take using the other methods.
They also tend to hold water for a longer period because the cinder blocks used are hollow in nature.
It is important to ensure that the walls are waterproofed and properly reinforced to avoid any water leakages and seepage.
2. Poured concrete
This is the most common type for basement construction especially since it is also the strongest option among all others. The poured concrete is used to make foundation footings for the basement foundation.
Once the foundation footings are set, the poured concrete is held in place as it dries using forms. The lack of seams makes this option more stable and resistant to cave-ins caused by lateral pressure from either water, earth or wind.
Also, using steel bars gives it more structure and a better framework. The construction period is longer because of the lengthy preparations that need to be done.
3. Precast panels
Although they’re not that common, precast walls are a cost-effective option and they also take the shortest duration. The precast walls are fabricated elsewhere then they’re lifted to place with a crane once they’re ready.
In the long-run, the precast panels tend to be more water-resistant because of the high-strength, low-water concrete mix used.
With the various types discussed above, you need to weigh between the advantages and disadvantages of each when deciding the most suitable choice. Also, the ground and site conditions govern your choices in most cases.
Some unfavourable site conditions that may hinder your basement construction include the following:
- Other existing services and structures
- Any archaeological findings
- An unsuitable bedrock
- Having a water table that’s close to the surface
How do I minimize the risks that may be incurred
Every construction comes with its associated risks. Regardless, it’s advisable to assess and know how to best manage any problem that may be encountered.
Some of the ways you can avoid the risks are highlighted below:
- Having thorough soil investigation on the property.
- Ensuring the soil type is suitable for building a basement. For instance, soil that drains easily will be much better.
- Confirming how close the water tables are to the surface is also advisable.
- It is also advisable to have a land search. You will be able to establish whether there are any assets owned by utility providers or service providers.
By doing this, your contractor will also be able to come up with a suitable design for your property and also advise you accordingly.
Waterproofing solutions for your basement
For any property that is suitable to build a concrete basement, it is important to ensure there’s good waterproofing. This way, your home will be protected against any water getting into the basement
Some people also opt for dampproofing as a way of restraining any water penetration since it’s a vapour barrier.
Listed below are some of the viable waterproofing options you can have for your basement. It’s important to note that the option selected mainly depends on the use of the proposed building or ground conditions.
- Type A (Barrier method)
- Type B (Structurally Integral method)
- Type C (Drained method)
Topography and drainage characteristics of the ground are some of the things that govern the suitability of the chosen approach. You can also opt to incorporate multiple approaches for better results.
From the above, you get the basic knowledge about basement construction method in UK and some of the important things to have in mind. You should also note that your basement ideas, preferences, style, budget, site conditions and perceived risk are some of the few factors that impact your decision when selecting the most suitable basement type.