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What Are the Different Types of Basement Construction?

Metal reinforcing bars, or rebar, may be used to strengthen cement basement walls.
A man installing a basement floor.
Cinder blocks can speed up basement building time.
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  • Written By: Summer Banks
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2014
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The basement construction of a home provides the foundation strength needed to keep the house standing through all types of weather and other environmental challenges. While some areas will have prescribed construction methods based on average rainfall and soil conditions, the three basement construction choices most often used are poured concrete, precast panel, and masonry wall construction. Costs for each of these construction methods can vary.

A poured concrete basement tends to be the choice used most often. The basement contractor may begin by pouring the footing for the basement foundation. After this is set, forms can be used to hold the poured concrete walls in place as they dry. The inside of the forms may need to be oiled before the concrete is poured to keep it from sticking to the form. Poured concrete walls tend to be stronger and often require fewer repairs as the home ages.

The precast basement panel can be created in much the same way as the poured concrete basement. In this method, basement walls are generally molded at a location other than the building site. The walls can then be transported to the building location and placed on the footer. While the integrity of the walls may be similar to the poured concrete wall, a crane will be needed to place the walls on the footer. The cost for such major equipment can increase the total cost of the basement construction.

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Creating a basement using the masonry wall method can be one of the least expensive basement construction choices. These walls are often made from concrete masonry units (CMUs), also referred to as cinder blocks. The large size and hollow interior of the cinder block can reduce building time. To increase durability, the basement contractor may reinforce this material with steel rebar and concrete. The hollow insides of the cinder block allow the contractor to pour concrete into the center.

After construction is complete, some contractors will bury the basement underground. To achieve this, the basement system may be started inside a hole excavated before the foundation was built. Once the basement construction is complete, the soil can be replaced around the foundation walls, and construction can continue on the rest of the building. In certain areas, the basement contractor may choose to waterproof or protect the foundation in some way before burying the foundation.

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