How to Add Height to Your Basement

Real Estate Agent

Lead - What are you going to do about it?



When doing a serious Chicago Gut Rehab on your home, one of the issues that always is raised is:

Can I get more height to my basement without having to dig down?

First, one has to consider if there is the potential of being able to dig down below the basement subflooring due to the depth of the footings on the outside walls.

One can, and it has been done if one is determined to retain the outside walls, by a slow process to deepen the footings which would allow more height in the basement.


Redoing the outside footings is costly and timely.  So the question is:


1.  How much height do you really desire in the basement?

2.  Would you consider tearing the building down completely and putting in a new foundation?  (But more then likely, the outside wall width could be hampered and not be as desireable a width)

3.  How much are you going to use that basement area?

4.  How much do you want to invest in adding height by digging deeper and/or adding depth to your exterior footings?

Running the numbers, it is cheaper just to tear down completely and rebuild. 

But, there is another option:

This particular home, it wasn't disclosed and the seller had hidden the fact that the center beam in the home was cracked, crooked and just needed to be replaced.  Wasn't easily seen as she had her clothes hanging on both sides and boxes stored in the center.

So, if you look carefully, you will see the old wood beam with steel posts supporting the main beam to the home.  But above that, if you look, there are new 2 x 12's laying on top of the basement wall vs being 12" lower.  Because the main beam had to be replaced, the owner decided more height to the basement, gave this basement a 8' 3" clearance - not 9' but it was a cheaper way to increase the height in this building's basement.

Just an idea that really worked well ....

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how to add height to your basement

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James Lyon
LyonSF - San Francisco, CA

Thats a great idea, I have know that you can raise some floors to make room, but digging down is great.

Jan 05, 2012 03:59 AM #1
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

Couldnt you also take off your shoes or maybe get down on your knees as a quick easy and inexpensive way to add a little height? I also know age takes off an inch or two (lol)

Good post good info but sorry couldnt resist.



Jan 05, 2012 04:03 AM #2
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Talk about an informative and educational post!  Suggested .. Suggested!!  With so many beautiful older homes in Chicago and the Chicagoland area ... this should get some brains clicking.  Kudos to you, once again Barb!!

Hope 2012 is a stellar year for you!   Hope to talk soon ...


Jan 05, 2012 06:06 AM #3
Barb Van Stensel
Chicago, IL

US Mortgages:  Great idea as well as removing the gell from our hair and that would lend leeway for height ... : )

Gene:  Thanks for the suggest but AR won't see the contribution.  It's more focused toward the consumer and Lincoln Square does read as well as surrounding neighborhoods plus my friends in Michigan and abroad ...

Hope your 2012 is great.  Heading back your way this weekend.  A lot of unexpected in GR.   We will talk soon!


Jan 05, 2012 08:21 AM #4
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