What are the different types of basements? (with photos)

Basements in homes offer extra space. Depending on your needs, basements can provide many living solutions for many different lifestyles. The different types of basements include finished, unfinished, below ground and above ground.

A man installing a basement floor.

Above-ground basements have the right entrance at ground level. An above-ground basement is often referred to as a basement, as you can just walk out the front door without stairs. Elevated bungalow homes have above-ground basements that usually have large windows in the front and a patio in the back. An elevated bungalow usually has an entrance that is between the basement and the first floor, with stairs in both directions. Aboveground basements are generally not as cold in warm climates as belowground basements, but are generally lighter.

The finished basements have the entire space finished with habitable divisions, such as a recreation room.

Below ground basements are cooler than above ground basements in hot climates, but are usually darker due to the smaller windows. A walk-up basement refers to any basement with an outside entrance that has a staircase. Flooding is sometimes a problem with basements, so a proper drain for stairs and angled doors are often used in modern homes with an underground basement. Some parts of the basement may be above ground in a sloping yard.

Unfinished basements are good for storage, but not for living space. An unfinished basement usually means there are foundation walls and a concrete floor. Unfinished basements are usually unheated and finishing a basement often means walls, floors, heating and plumbing need to be added. Air conditioning and lighting are other important issues to consider when finishing an unfinished basement, but connections for plumbing, air conditioning and heating equipment are usually already in the basement. Insulation is another important consideration when finishing an unfinished basement.

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The finished basements usually have all the space finished with usable and habitable rooms, such as the kitchen, recreation room, bathroom and laundry room. Planning is crucial to finishing a basement. Decide what you need space for, whether it’s storage, a home office, entertainment space, laundry room, another bathroom, and/or a play area for the kids. If you want a pool table, you should plan appropriate space around it to allow players to use cues.

Drawing out the basement area and considering how you would like to divide the space is a good first step in planning to finish a basement. Bathrooms and laundry rooms should be as close to the water heater as possible in the basements. For plumbing and electrical work, hire contractors with a work permit rather than doing this work yourself. Basements can be designed in a similar style to the rest of the house or something a little different. Decide whether you prefer a basement that is country, contemporary, or traditional, and consider your paint, wallpaper, and flooring options.

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