U&M Group

Retrofit Basements — the Facts

Thursday, August 10th, 2017 AT 01:24PM

It’s hardly surprising that so many of us are trying to find ways of increasing the living space in our homes. Not only are British homes smaller on average than in most developed countries, we also have one of the lowest uses of basements in Europe or North America.

You might think if your home doesn’t have a basement you can only get one by moving, but that’s not true. U&M can build you a retrofit basement.

What’s a Retrofit Basement?

If your home doesn’t have a basement, you can have one excavated, either directly below the house or else separately beneath the garden — a particularly good option if you live in a listed building, though this is subject to Planning Consent. Once constructed, it can be used for anything from a utility room to a swimming pool.

Essentially, a retrofit basement is a concrete box built under the house — though that doesn’t have to be how it looks from the inside. You’ll need to have some form of underpinning as part of the process, since you’re digging under the foundations. All the various forms of underpinning are suitable for specific properties, but mass concrete underpinning forming a retaining wall is most likely to be the way to go.

Cost vs Benefits

Though there are ways of doing it at cut price, a retrofit basement is a major project, and expensive with the underpinning and waterproofing included. On the other hand, a properly built retrofit basement is likely to add considerably more to the value of your home than you pay out, quite apart from the shorter-term benefits.

It’s also far more economical (and therefore also greener) than other rooms to keep at the right temperature, since a basement is largely self-regulating.

What Can I Use a Retrofit Basement For?

A retrofit basement can be used for whatever you’d use any room for, and a bit more besides. You might just want it as a utility room, freeing up space above, in which case it won’t need such elaborate finishing. On the other hand, it could be made into a semi-independent flat (perhaps for an older child, or to rent out), a full family room, a games room, a gym, a home, a garage, cinema, or even a swimming pool.

If you’re going for something like a flat or a family room, it’s easy enough to include light wells in a retrofit basement, and you can have an outside staircase to the surface to allow independent access.

Feel free to get in touch to find out how U&M can help you get the retrofit basement of your dreams.