Great! You are finally considering taking your crawl space and turning it into a basement.
Chances are, you’ve searched for ways to do this on Google…that might even be how you landed here.
Google is great…usually. …Depending on whether you want to easily add a new basement or to risk your life and your home’s foundation in the process…
When it comes to adding a basement (called a crawl space dig out or conversion), there is a ton of misinformation out there.
In fact, the title of this article “Has Anyone Ever Turned a Crawl Space Into a Basement,” is actually the title of some of the results you’ll get when you search dig outs.
The problem is, this info is located on yet another DIY site.
First, yes, converting to a basement is very possible.
Second, it is not, ever, a do it yourself job.
This is not digging out a new flower bed or putting new shutters on the house…this involves a tremendous amount of man power, equipment and expertise.
You decide to add a basement to your home, you search Google, find one of these DIY sites and decide to tackle the project on your own.
After all, as one of the sites says:
All you need is a few shovels and a wheel barrow to move the dirt.
So, you grab your shovel and your wheelbarrow and you start stabbing away at the Earth below your home.
At first, it looks like you’re making progress one small shovel full at a time.
What feels like an eternity passes, you look at your watch, notice only an hour has passed… and you’re still digging. You suddenly realize two things:
1. You’ve been digging for an hour straight and the hole isn’t even big enough to fit a bag of garbage
2. You already have a pile of dirt building up in your yard
3. (Bonus) It dawns on you that even if you can put in another few hundred hours of back-breaking digging, there will be nothing supporting the house once the hole is dug.
And, another thing the DIY’er neglected to tell you, is that even if you were able to complete the Hurculean task of all that digging and you somehow figured out how to put in Pillars to support the crushing weight of your home…
- You still have to pour a few thousands pounds of concrete for a floor and walls…not to mention that you have to make sure the ground outside your new walls is placed properly lest you want a slow flood of water penetrating your new basement walls…
- And, at some point, you’ll be digging in a small, cramped, confined space that you can’t even stand up in (the majority of the job takes place in this lovely space)
Oh, and the city is going to want to know what you’re going to do with that 2-ton pile of gravel-dirt that is lying in a small mountain range in your back yard.
How to Perform a Crawl Space Conversion Properly
The fastest, easiest way to convert is by hiring a qualified contractor who’s actually done dig outs and knows what they’re doing.
The contractor will have:
- Several workers doing the digging
- Specialized equipment to do the job
- A place to put the massive amount of dirt
- The knowledge of how to make sure you new basement stays dry by sealing the walls from the unrelenting pressure of the soil around the home (this is key, otherwise you risk ruining your new basement and foundation)
- Professional grade pillars (and know where to place them) so your home’s foundation doesn’t crack and crumble like a 3-day old muffin
- A structural engineer to plan the conversion and make sure the new construction doesn’t ruin your home
Now, I know that many DIY “experts” and weekend warriors will read this and be crying into their home-made coffee mugs. They’ll scream that, “NO JOB is too big for the Super DIY’ers!”
However, ask yourself these questions:
1. What’s Your Time Worth To You
Yes, paying a contractor will cost some money up front. However, it is an investment since adding a basement can jack up your home’s value by 25% or more.
Also, consider that the pro will have a crew who can get the job done quickly, usually in a few short weeks.
If you do it alone or with a friend, you will literally invest hundreds of hours of back-throwing-out digging and shoveling. The dirt just keeps getting harder the deeper you go as well.
Time is a valuable resource. Do you really want to waste the time that you could have with your kids or doing something you enjoy by chopping away at a cold, hard, indifferent ground for endless hours?
And, do not forget: the longer it takes you to do the conversion, the longer parts of your home will literally be without support.
2. Do You Want to Risk Tens of Thousands of Dollars in Damage to Your Home?
Leave your home’s foundation unsupported long enough and it will extract it’s revenge on you…and expensive revenge…
Your foundation needs to withstand the unGodly amount of weight that your home presents. Imagine if it has to do that without the ground under it for support.
- Many a home in the Philadelphia region has seen their foundation crack and crumble because of lack of support during a botched dig out.
- This is also extremely dangerous. It can be deadly if the home is not supported properly. Do not risk your life in the name of a DIY project!
A contractor knows how to support the foundation and has insurance in the rare case that something would go wrong.
That DIY site you got the idea from…are they going to help you pay for your broken foundation?
Save yourself a ton of time, effort, injury, and money by hiring a basement contractor.
Here at Basement Waterproofing Specialists we’ve done hundreds of dig outs and are experts at getting you a new basement as fast and affordably as possible.