In Victorian and Edwardian times, it was commonplace to build two or three storeys of house above ground and have another level underground. Whether you call it a basement or a cellar, these below ground level spaces were used for a variety of tasks and came to serve as bomb shelters during World War II. While only a small number of UK houses have basements, there is a growing trend to add them or to include them in new build properties – but why?
Advances In Damp Proofing
The advances in damp proofing, prevention and treatment and the understanding of the different types of damp is another area that has greatly benefited basements. At one time, these underground spaces were often damp, cold and had an unpleasant smell. Now, as we understand damp and its causes, these spaces can be treated to make them habitable, comfortable and no different to other parts of the house – apart from a lack of windows.
This means that basements are being used as living space by many homeowners or working space by businesses, rather than simply storage areas. Ideas range from extra office space or staff areas in businesses through to second living rooms, home offices or even a playroom or home cinema.
Finding A Professional
One of the problems with adding a basement or including one on a new build is that not all professionals are versed in them. Some architects, for example, may not want to design a house including a basement for fear that if something goes wrong, they will be held accountable. When basements are included, there can be the need for specialists in damp proofing services to help ensure the spaces are fit for purpose. Finally, if you live in a high water table area, you won’t get planning permission for one.
While a basement won’t work for everyone, it is definitely an option for some new build properties and even as an amendment to existing properties. The extra space gained is useable and comfortable with the right damp proofing and can have an infinity number of purposes.
Stuart Cooke is the Marketing Manager at SpecifiedBy, an online platform for specifiers, architects and construction professionals.