need advice on adding a basement to my home.

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  #1  
Old 02-25-12, 05:57 PM
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need advice on adding a basement to my home.

hi i have a crawl space for about 90% of the space under my home.the other 10% is a sellar/laundry room that leads to the crawl space. so i dont need to dig a ramp to get dirt out. im getting ready to start digging and could use any advice i can get. do i need permits. if so how do i get them. what is the best thing to use for new support beams.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-25-12, 08:13 PM
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There is no way we should advise u on such a complex project over the net. Start by getting an engineer involved. Yes you will need permets.
 
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Old 02-25-12, 08:59 PM
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I agree you need permits and an engineer. This is also not a do it yourself kind of project and is extremely dangerous for even the most skilled contractor and crew. You are also talking about a very expensive project that will require numerous jacks and a great deal of man power. This also is not a project you can do in just a few days it could literally take months even with a crew of eight working almost every day. Don't think you can stay in your house during the work either it is just too dangerous.
 
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Old 02-25-12, 09:06 PM
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id apriciate advice on how to do it. like i said if your goin to try to get me not to do it your waisting your time
 
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Old 02-25-12, 10:00 PM
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No quite the contrary I and airman.1994 just want you to be safe. If you want to take on the project yourself to save on money then go right ahead. I have seen this being done though on tv and it is complicated it isn't easy. You need help and that definitely starts with at the minimum an engineer. The engineer is trained in telling you where to properly brace your house and where to properly place jacks which have to be simultaneously used at the same time to raise the house or you at least need hydraulic jacks most likely from a professional company to come to your house. As both Airman and I have said this really isn't the place for this kind of advice. Even if I was a licensed contractor which I am not I would suggest you get professional help due to how dangerous the job is. If you jack your house up in the wrong place you get cracking of the walls not to mention the danger of your house collapsing.
 
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Old 02-25-12, 10:33 PM
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you dont have to lift up your house if u have a crawl space.
 
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Old 02-26-12, 05:17 AM
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But you gotta hold it in place while you dig deeper and install basement walls to support the house when you get finished. Bottom line. Get an engineer involved just to see if it is a feasible task. Then, with plans in hand, go to your permit department and secure the proper permits for the job. If you get that far, then dig according to the plans submitted.
You're not going to get advise here on how to dig beyond what has been done.
 
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Old 02-26-12, 01:17 PM
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i guess i already know more than u guys can tell me. thanks anyway.this site is called do it yourself. people get on here to learn how to do things them selves. kinda obvious. not to be told to pay someone else to do it. i can do it and will do it myself. if your someone discouraging please save your replys for some one else
 
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Old 02-26-12, 03:40 PM
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Dickeyday, it isn't that we don't KNOW how to do it, we know it is not a DIY situation all by itself. You have to get your knowledge base down. If you go digging without an engineer and proper permitting, YOU WILL HAVE A FAILURE. I am sure you can do the digging yourself, but you have seen a post from a structural engineer, who couldn't even satisfy himself about his own house. He gave some good information you need to absorb before you man a shovel. Good luck with the project and be safe.
House Engineer, welcome to the forums!!! You have the con.
 
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Old 02-26-12, 08:23 PM
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I agree with you 100% Chandler on everything you said. I also welcome you to the forums House Engineer. Dickieday besides what the engineer mentioned about house posts that hold your house up you have to consider the foundation walls. Houses that are built with crawl spaces don't have foundation walls that can handle that kind of digging. You need to know how to brace the walls and a great deal of other things. Things you don't know about but a structural engineer will know. Even professional contractors don't proceed with something until they consult an engineer and there are several reasons for that and one is that it is the law. Other reasons safety not just for the contractor but for the homeowner another reason is assurance knowing that what he or she is doing the right thing for the homeowner they are working for. A good contractor will even get a structural engineer involved even if the law does not call for calling in an engineer especially if he or she has questions and is not certain about how much load say a beam might be able to handle.
Also one other thing to consider before manning that shovel which you certainly can do but have you even consulted your homeowners policy? I bet if you did there would be a clause in there about new construction and that they will not pay for damage done by a contractor. Oh and guess what your the contractor you put that hat on when you said you wanted to dig out your basement. Do you still want to risk it now? It's your money and your time I am just glad I don't live anywhere near you I wouldn't want my house endangered by what you are doing. There is a reason for those laws and those clauses in insurance and that is to protect you and your neighbors. Now that my last lecture is done I want to say that I neither encourage nor discourage you but you will need proper permits and plenty of help that you can hire on your own as your own contractor especially in the very beginning of a project of such a large scope. If you don't get help and don't get the proper permits I personally hope they catch you at what you are doing before you kill yourself or someone else.
 
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Old 02-26-12, 09:36 PM
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I knew an engineer who did exactly what dickieday wants to do. He had a small house in Santa Fe, NM in the late 1970s, and personally dug out the crawl space using a nifty conveyor system to get the dirt outside and new concrete inside. He poured new concrete basement walls inside the existing stemwalls' footings, meaning his new basement was considerably smaller than the house's footprint. I don't recall him having any problems, (although he being a very conservative engineer, I'm sure he looked carefully at the big picture before starting the work). The truly remarkable thing is that he was in his late 70s/early 80s when he did it.
 
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Old 02-26-12, 10:00 PM
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In your friends case Bridgeman45 he was an engineer and knew exactly what he was doing. Dickieday needs help, Maybe he can use a conveyor system like your friend can and not have to have as much help I really can't say as I don't know anything about the size of his house. A small house it should work great with but not a larger house. I am sure your friend used braces too to support his foundation and used jacks too until he could get in a better support system in his house. Dickieday doesn't seem to think he needs any help or jacks or even supports I even wonder whether he thinks he should get a permit which is why I said what I did.
 
  #13  
Old 02-27-12, 03:15 PM
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thank u very much. this is the kind of advice i wanted. i do not plan on doing any thing illegal. i plan on following the laws and codes to a t. from what i understand and if im wrong please correct me but you can slowly dig a little at a time as long as you stay about two feet from the surrounding foundation. then you can dig a small area a couple feet wide or so flush with the foundation(not under) and build a supporting wall up to the old foundation and dig a little then build a little as you go.and when it comes to the supporting beams in the center of the home that hold up the first floor you have to leave the dirt under the beam coming down at a 45 degree angle down to the depth you plan to dig then add a temporary beam/jack to support the old beam. then u dig the old beam out and dig a 1foot by 1foot by 4inch deep square and fill it with concrete. then build a new support beam on top of it. u do it one beam at a time which i have four of them to do. you support as you go so you never hurt the integrity of the home. i like the conveyor belt dirt removal idea. i don't think an engineer is going to help me any. pretty sure he is going to tell me to put new beams were the old ones are down the center of the home.my house will always be supported.and i also plan on putting beams across the ceiling to make the support even better then before.i do not know the water table. or how to find that out. help on this will be appreciated. i live in Pocatello Idaho. i plan on digging deep enough to have 8 foot ceilings. and my house is 800 sq feet. so my basement will be the same minus about a foot or so on every wall because of the added cinder block foundation wall.
 
  #14  
Old 02-27-12, 04:22 PM
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Dickieday you would be surprised what an engineer will tell you to do or not tell you to do. An engineer has no axe to grind and is not doing his job just for the money but because he or she wants to help people. I know because I have known engineers all my life. The engineer has information on where the water table is and how deep you can dig before running into water. You might for instance have an underground stream running under your property and the building engineer knows where those underground streams are. A stream running under your house would not necessarily stop you but would make the job more dangerous to take on by yourself. Engineers are not all that expensive either they charge only so much as is needed. You might or might not need new beams but do you really know that for sure no of course not and neither do I so if I were to take on this by myself then I would at least get a structural engineer involved. Could be there was a good reason why no basement was built and it could be there was no reason at all except that they wanted to build a house fast. The engineer will know though and be able to tell you the truth in what you are doing. If you are not sure about where to look for an engineer I suggest you consult your building permits office. You may probably will need the services of an architect too before you can even get a permit. So there is more to it than meets the eye at first glance.
 
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Old 02-27-12, 06:50 PM
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but you can slowly dig a little at a time as long as you stay about two feet from the surrounding foundation. then you can dig a small area a couple feet wide or so flush with the foundation(not under) and build a supporting wall up to the old foundation and dig a little then build a little as you go
A lot of this depends on the type of soil and the condition it is in. The load of the house on the soil will come into play as well. Generally speaking, digging holes is dangerous. I don't know how deep you have to go, but even when they dig in the street to do utility work, there is a danger of collapse. Many men have died this way. Tread carefully. Some of the best advice you can get is paid for.
 
  #16  
Old 02-27-12, 08:48 PM
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Well said Drooplug and I now have pictures to show you from a company Dickieday so I hope you go to the website to look at them. This is from a company that digs basements for a living. Do all of pictures tell the whole story no and this contractor even mentions that some things are not shown. I don't endorse this company as I know nothing about them but the contractor knows what he is doing and you can see that in his pictures. He even shows an improperly dug out basement that a previous homeowner had done before he had the job from the new homeowner. In the case of the improperly dug out basement part of the foundation had sunk and caused problems with the rest of the house. Luckily the new homeowner brought in the contractor in time to correct the problem. You will see for yourself the extra bracing that is needed while the basement is dug out. While you don't see jacks you do see more posts that were put in and from everything I have seen you would need the jacks first and then need the posts in the right place(thus the need for an engineer). Here is the link click on it and take a look Basements . Believe it or not I can understand your frustrations my grandmother had an old house where the ceiling height in the basement might as well been a crawl space and I absolutely hated that house. My cousin after my grandmother bought a house next door to us came to hate the basement too and he eventually said that's it I have had it we are moving and never did anything with the basement. If it had been dug out it would have been worth more but it also was on the side of a hill which would have made doing that dangerous even for a professional. The house had other problems too such as bad wiring and still some bad plumbing but that is another story.
 
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Old 02-28-12, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by dickieday View Post
i guess i already know more than u guys can tell me. thanks anyway.this site is called do it yourself. people get on here to learn how to do things them selves. kinda obvious. not to be told to pay someone else to do it. i can do it and will do it myself. if your someone discouraging please save your replys for some one else
You admit to welcoming any advice you can get, so you're obviously not familiar with this job. I think that's also why you are even thinking of undertaking it. This is probably the most major project you can do on your house, more so than adding an extension. I cannot imagine it's worth the effort or time, plus if not done properly with permits nobody in their right mind will buy the house from you in the future. If you want a basement, you probably should get a different house. This would cost many tens of thousands of dollars to get done professionally. That should give you an idea of the labor involved.
i don't think an engineer is going to help me any.
followed by
i do not know the water table. or how to find that out.
So on the one hand the engineer can't help you out, but on the other you don't even know how to find out about the water table. Also, what math are you using to say that in your case a mere two feet of dirty is sufficient for stability?
 
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Old 02-28-12, 12:28 PM
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any ideas on how much a engineer will cost? just to have them come tell me the info i need. I don't want to pay anyone to do it for me but I guess ill pay for some safety advice,although if they tell me what i already know i'm going to be pissed. people have basements all over idaho. both my neighbors have basements.im pretty sure my biggest worry is digging up a huge rock.and i thought about buying a bigger house. but i love my land. and my street and neighbors too much to move. so sorry im goin to do it even if im advised not to because im stubborn. id rather do anything my self so i know its done right.
 
  #19  
Old 02-28-12, 03:07 PM
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Hi Dickieday no I really have no idea how much an engineer will cost in Idaho. As I said before you will need a permit which you know about and will need an architect and an engineer. Why as I said before that is the minimum that your permit office needs before you can start. I hope you went to that website you can see the word Basement in my last post hi-lighted in blue you just click on that and you will learn something. As you could see in my last posts link there was a picture of a hand drawn architectural rough drawing. If you have one that is hand made by an engineer they might let you get by with just that to start off but you will need better drawings. Doing something like this though requires a great deal of math and knowledge like what an engineer can provide and I certainly hope you hire one and you are nice to him or her as they just will be honest with you. You say your neighbors house has a basement but does that neighbor have water in their basement? If so you could be living near or right under an underground stream and maybe your builder was the smarter one than your neighbors.
So please think about what has been said to you before after you contact this engineering firm I found through an engineering associations website here is the engineering firms web address Holladay Engineering Company . I know nothing about about this firm other than them being listed with an association so by clicking on that link you do so at your own risk and further agree that you are solely doing it on your own.
Now I personally think I have helped you enough and whether or not you like it I will pray for your safety and the safety of your neighbors. Oh I will still take a look to see how you are doing so if you want to post your progress and be nice about it I will read but not post again. One last thought have you ever thought about raising your house? You know a number of people all over the country who live in flood plains have their house raised by a jacking company and then add an extended foundation. No digging involved and yes if you get some lessons in proper wall building you can do it yourself for the most part. You might even not have to build a wall but have it trucked in and then placed in the proper position as they have pre-made structural walls that are made to order and it cuts down on labor cost. Think of this too a walk in basement is more valuable than one that is dug. An engineer can help you with that too and has many sources available to you so treat him or her with respect and they will help you. Treat them poorly and they will not be willing to help you!
 
  #20  
Old 02-29-12, 04:35 PM
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both my neighbors have basements.im pretty sure my biggest worry is digging up a huge rock.
Check out dexpan.

I think an engineer will run you like $250-$350 for maybe an hour or so of consultation. You will want someone who does residential foundation work. All you have to do is call the company and ask them how much. A consultation will give you a general idea of what you need to do. Expect to pay more for proper drawings.
 
  #21  
Old 02-29-12, 10:28 PM
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The engineering hourly rates posted earlier may be true back East, but I suspect them to be much lower the farther west you go (at least, until you reach the California border, when they will instantly shoot into the stratosphere). My company's billing rate for my time (before I retired) was around $125 an hour. That's in Oregon. Now that I'm semi-retired, I work for much less than that.
 
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Old 03-01-12, 04:50 PM
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ok thank u guys. ill go to the court house someday soon and ask about permits and inspectors.ill let u guys know what i do and what i figure out.
 
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