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Thread: Main floor almost ground level and basement?

  1. #1
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    Question Main floor almost ground level and basement?

    I'm looking to build a house next year, supposed to buy the lot at the end of the summer. I've been going over different house plans and trying to find something that I like. One plan that I like overall in terms of some flexibility for the interior that I want is the following plan

    http://www.eplans.com/house-plans/ep...wepl08232.html

    But I'm trying to figure out how to get the main level first floor of the house to be as close to ground level as possible and still include a basement. I was hoping to minimize exterior ramps. Obviously I'm going to have an elevator going from the main floor to the upper and basement. (in the foyer) But every house I've seen that has an entrance that's almost ground level has stairs on the inside up to the main level almost like a split. And I'm pretty sure you need to have windows to the basement for emergency access. And the idea of having the windows below ground in like a cut out dug out makes me worry Snow when water building up and then water getting into the window. Which makes me think the only way to manage this house is have some sort of ramp in the front, ramp in the back, and maybe put a short vertical lift inside the garage

    Is there any other options? Is it possible to have a main floor at near the ground level and still have a basement? Any thoughts ideas or plans people know about that they could post here would be appreciated trying to brainstorm ideas before actually go talk to a contractor

  2. #2
    Senior Member pfcs49's Avatar
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    Our home is a converted barn. As is the norm for barns, it's built on a sloping spot so the middle level/main entrance is ground level, and the fall in the lot puts the basement also at ground level.
    Funny, I got injured shortly after we moved in, and I didn't need a ramp to get in and out. Any other place I'd lived would have been a major problem!
    69yo male T12 complete since 1995
    NW NJ

  3. #3
    I lived in a house with a basement and couldn't find a good way to make it work. All the expense would still leave the problem of elevator failure in case of emergency. Even if it wasn't an emergency it would still be a pain when it fails. They all do at some point. I live in a house with a slab. I love it. The concrete is ideal for rolling in a wheelchair. When I go over my parent's house with a basement I can't stand how the wooden floors sway. It noisy, annoying, and painful. I have to put up with it in other people's houses but would never put up with it in my own house.

  4. #4
    Considering the plan you picked. Look at the choices shown in the "about this plan" / Foundation. There are four choices" Crawlspace, Unfinished, Walkout, and Unfinished.
    I think you are seeking "Walkout". I am more used to the term "daylight basement" Daylight basements are common on sloping building sites, where one side is level with the outside and the other side has a foundation wall to accommodate the slope.

    The house I am in is daylight on three sides with a 5 foot wall on the fourth. I never think about it as having a basement, but technically it does. Actually that 5 foot wall runs the entire property width.
    Last edited by nonoise; 05-25-2018 at 06:03 PM.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  5. #5
    Can't really help you except to say after living in our 2 bedroom one story home for 40 years - if we built from scratch we would have an entire (heated) room dedicated to disability related equipment, wheelchairs, hand cycles or other recreational equipment, parts, etc. This room would have shelving and hooks in abundance. It's absolutely amazing the "stuff" that you need to have fun, adapt to aging, repair stuff, etc/!! We currently have 2 used power chairs in garage, in addition to about 4 back-up wheelchairs and parts. We're a wheeler couple, so you may have a bit less.
    Very best to you with your plans.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJC View Post
    I'm looking to build a house next year, supposed to buy the lot at the end of the summer. I've been going over different house plans and trying to find something that I like. One plan that I like overall in terms of some flexibility for the interior that I want is the following plan

    http://www.eplans.com/house-plans/ep...wepl08232.html

    But I'm trying to figure out how to get the main level first floor of the house to be as close to ground level as possible and still include a basement. I was hoping to minimize exterior ramps. Obviously I'm going to have an elevator going from the main floor to the upper and basement. (in the foyer) But every house I've seen that has an entrance that's almost ground level has stairs on the inside up to the main level almost like a split. And I'm pretty sure you need to have windows to the basement for emergency access. And the idea of having the windows below ground in like a cut out dug out makes me worry Snow when water building up and then water getting into the window. Which makes me think the only way to manage this house is have some sort of ramp in the front, ramp in the back, and maybe put a short vertical lift inside the garage

    Is there any other options? Is it possible to have a main floor at near the ground level and still have a basement? Any thoughts ideas or plans people know about that they could post here would be appreciated trying to brainstorm ideas before actually go talk to a contractor
    go single level heated floors rolling bathroom and concrete floors stains lots of ways to do concrete ground lwevel

  7. #7
    We have a walkout basement. I have a ramp in front and use a stair glide to get to the basement. I keep a power chair in the basement, its used for outside as well as basement chores (laundry and firewood). It aint ideal for c - level injuries, but it does work for me (T-7 inc.).

  8. #8
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    I did what vjls suggested. Built a big ranch home with all 36"
    doorways, stamped/stained concrete floors with radiant heat . Works great, easy to maintain and navigate.

  9. #9
    I don't have a basement but I do have a crawl space. When I had my house built I insisted on a level entrance and concrete slabs won't work in this area because of soil conditions. My contractor notched the foundation and set the floor joists down into the foundation so the house sits into the foundation giving it level entrances, as opposed to the joists sitting on top of the foundation as they normally do - which requires you step up into the house. The notching will work the same for a basement though you'll need to dig the basement a foot deeper or you'll lose a foot of basement ceiling height. I have pictures if you need them. For your basement you might be able to do a walkout with a french drain for water control. Your contractor would have an engineer look at the lot, soil, etc. to determine it's feasibility and cost. If you were able to do a walkout windows wouldn't be required as you'll have an exit in case of emergency.
    Last edited by tumbleweeds; 05-29-2018 at 12:29 PM.


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonoise View Post
    Considering the plan you picked. Look at the choices shown in the "about this plan" / Foundation. There are four choices" Crawlspace, Unfinished, Walkout, and Unfinished.
    I think you are seeking "Walkout". I am more used to the term "daylight basement" Daylight basements are common on sloping building sites, where one side is level with the outside and the other side has a foundation wall to accommodate the slope.

    The house I am in is daylight on three sides with a 5 foot wall on the fourth. I never think about it as having a basement, but technically it does. Actually that 5 foot wall runs the entire property width.
    I guess I should clarify a little bit. This particular plan is one I like because I like the layout of the main floor. That doesn?t mean I?m 100% committed to it. If I find something different that is better I?m open to changing.

    I have thought about a core floor but the lot I?m looking at is 60 x 115 and I can only cover 35% of it which works out to 2400 Square feet. Which I admit sounds like a lot initially but I need a master bedroom, a second bedroom for my girlfriend to go to when I get up at my stupid hours to do my morning routine?s before work, I need another room for a home office, and I have a whole shit load of crap that I need space for aside from the fact that we all know making something accessible requires more room. So it won?t take me long to chew through that space if I try to do just one floor. That?s why am looking at doing a two-story with a basement

    Someone mentioned that elevators eventually fail. I am aware of that potential but I figure if the elevator is done upfront as far as the shaft being properly designed most of them are probably fairly similar so if I really needed to rip one out and put a whole new one in 20 years down the line it won?t be too catastrophic. And I?m usually the type of person that attends to maintenance regularly so it?ll be looked after. My girlfriend also has rheumatoid arthritis so stairs are problem for her so having an elevator is also partially a benefit to her. If she should need it in the future or want it on a day where arthritis is acting up

    The daylight walkout basement I?m not quite sure on. I don?t think area where I am buying is really going to lend to that to start with. Although the concept of elevating the house a little bit so that even one side can have a small basement window which I believe is legally required for a basement might be possible strategy and then maybe landscaping the front make it more level. Definitely something to consider....... I have to talk to a contractor about that though

    Thank you for all the replies so far I greatly appreciate it and would welcome any future replies or thoughts or ideas or pictures or plans anyone might want to send my way........ thank you

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