Fewer and fewer houses in Pakistan offer basements nowadays. But what if you had the option of building one while developing a new home or buying a house with a basement? Would you or should you even consider adding a basement to your house construction costs? Well, that depends on whether the pros and cons of basements work in your favour.
Pros and Cons of Basements
Let’s consider both sides of the argument to help you make the best decision.
Buying a house with a basement or adding a basement to your house construction plans can offer you the following advantages:
- Additional Storage Space
- Better Utilisation of Land
- Offers Seasonal Comfort
- Multipurpose Space
- Perfect as an Emergency Shelter
- Easy Access for Underground Repairs
- Ideal as a Rental Portion
Let’s elaborate on these benefits below.
Additional Storage Space
The first and most important benefit of having a basement is that it provides homeowners with extra storage space without compromising on the outdoor or indoor space available. It’s an entire additional floor being added to your floor plan, which can be used in a multitude of ways.
Better Utilisation of Land
As mentioned above, basements add more space to your house without reducing the space available outdoors. Thus, you get more space for your needs, and the same plot size is being used more efficiently, thanks to the presence of a basement.
Offers Seasonal Comfort
Since basements are subterranean, they’re generally well-insulated during construction. Thus, they offer a cooler room during Pakistan’s hot summers to relax. Meanwhile, when winter hits, you can rest assured that your basement will remain warm and cosy, offering seasonal comfort round-the-year.
Every room in the house generally has a specific purpose when it’s added to the floor plan. But a basement is one of the most versatile spaces in any house. It can be converted into a storage room, a gym, a home cinema, a den, or even a guest bedroom should you need the rooms upstairs for your growing family’s needs. There are several ways to make efficient use of your basement space.
Perfect as an Emergency Shelter
Being bound by land on all sides, Pakistan generally does not witness hurricanes, and the region is also not frequented by tornadoes. But that does not take away the benefit of having an emergency shelter within your home in case of bad weather or political unrest.
Easy Access for Underground Repairs
Sublevel repairs become much easier with a basement. Rather than wondering how to fix a leaky pipe or a squeaky floorboard from above, you can take your technician to the basement where they’ll get quick and convenient access to the plumbing and wiring systems installed in your house.
Ideal as a Rental Portion
This one is perfect for those retired couples who have too much space on their hands. If you’re living in the upper portions of the house and the basement has a separate entrance and is unused, rent it out as a separate portion to students or young couples who’re looking for low-budget rentals. This gives you a chance to make some extra money from the comfort of your home, all thanks to the addition of a basement in the plans.
Keeping the above advantages in mind, we’re only halfway done with covering the pros and cons of basements. Here are some of the disadvantages of adding a basement to your house or buying a house with a basement:
- Additional Construction Costs
- Damp and Moisture Concerns
- Dangers of Flooding
- Inconvenient Access Routes for Furniture
- High Noise Echo Levels
- Risks of Pest Infestation
- Requires Professionals for Construction
Let’s dive deeper into the matter below.
Additional Construction or Buying Costs
Houses with a basement are technically offering you additional square footage and will generally cost you more. On the other hand, if you decide to add a basement to the plans for your new house, you should know that building a basement requires digging deeper into the foundations to carve our space for an additional floor. Thus, it will automatically cost you more in terms of labour and construction material costs.
Damp and Moisture Concerns
Most basements are insulated, and a concrete foundation is poured in to make sure there are fewer complaints of damp walls or high moisture content. However, since basements generally have no windows and extremely limited access to the outdoors, sunlight cannot reach the interior areas, and you might face damp walls, especially if poor construction materials have been used.
Dangers of Flooding
Living in an area that sees a lot of rainfall and flooding every year means avoiding a house with a basement because sublevels of houses are the most susceptible to flooding during the monsoon season in Pakistan.
Inconvenient Access Routes for Furniture
Going down into the basement is like entering a cave, the very heart of the house itself. While it can be very cosy and nice when furnished well, it might be challenging to bring bulky furniture down steep steps and narrow access ways to set up and decorate your basement to your liking.
High Noise Echo Levels
People might think that since it is underground, it’s going to be the quietest room in the house, but unfortunately, that’s far from true. Basements, being located beneath the ground, actually have great sound acoustics, echoing and amplifying all the ground level noises. While this makes them perfect for a band’s jamming session or a surround sound home theatre system, taking a quiet nap might be out of the question.
Risks of Pest Infestation
With high moisture levels and poor access to sunlight, basements are some of the most favourite places for those creepy crawlies that you want to keep away from your home. Thus, if you decide to buy or build a house with a basement, opt for fumigation first. This will keep the pests at bay from the very foundations of the house.
Requires Professionals for Construction
Finding the right labour might be the biggest challenge in building a basement. If you’re buying a ready house, you’ve got nothing to worry about, but building a basement requires technical professionals who’ll do a good job and give you the best results. Otherwise, your house will literally be standing on some very shaky foundations.
These are some of the top pros and cons of basements. Keep both aspects in mind while you build or buy a house, and you should be able to make the best decision as per your family’s needs. Good Luck!