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 ....