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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.