Not All Basements Are Created Equal

A significant number of homes don’t have a basement at all, but there are more distinctions than simply whether or not there is one. There are actually three different methods of basement construction, and which method is used could affect durability and maintenance requirements. The three types of construction are concrete, block masonry, and precast panels.

Concrete basements are the most common and certainly have some advantages over the other types, but also have some disadvantages. Concrete basements are the most resilient, so are very unlikely to cave in. They are also fireproof. Though they are water resistant, they’re not entirely waterproof so it’s important to maintain the humidity levels and check for mold or mildew. A concrete basement will improve a home’s property value.

The least expensive type of construction is block masonry, composed of connected cinder blocks or masonry units. Unfortunately, that also means it has the fewest advantages. One thing it definitely has going for it is that it’s by far the most waterproof construction. Block masonry is still highly resilient, but for full durability it needs to be reinforced with steel rebar.

Precast panel basements, actually made in another location before being transported to the construction site, share some qualities of both the other types. Like block masonry, precast panels are waterproof, but like concrete basements, they require maintenance to stay that way. Precast panel basements can be susceptible to pest infestations, but this can be prevented with boric acid treatment. Fortunately, the individual panels don’t have any issues with resilience; it’s only the joints that need to be maintained.

Photo by Vlad B on Unsplash

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