Gaining an extra foot of headroom isn’t easy, but it can yield valuable living space
Gaining an extra foot of headroom isn’t easy, but it can yield valuable living space

Lowering a basement floor is as difficult as it sounds. First you have to figure out how to support the existing house. Then — after all the finishes have been removed and all the mechanical systems disconnected — comes the fun part: breaking up the slab, excavating dozens of yards of dirt by hand, and underpinning the existing footings. But for clients with a small lot and limited space to expand, it’s sometimes the most practical way to add substantial square footage.

On a recent project, we lowered the basement floor by 15 inches, bringing the ceiling height from a marginal 6 feet 8 inches to a full 8 feet. This gained over 800 square feet of usable living space without increasing the home’s 24-foot-by-36-foot footprint.

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