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Thread: New home design templates / advice, please

  1. #11
    @vjs: Yes, FL has high water table, don't know about GA, although there's clay which is pretty much impermeable. Also freeze/thaw cycles make it necessary for a foundation, not a big of an issue in milder climates. In NJ that requires a footing below 36" and it doesn't cost that much more to excavate for a basement. I'd imagine the same is true in OH.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rustyjames View Post
    Because [a basement] adds value, makes plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems easier to install/maintain. It's also a handy place to go when natural disasters occur.
    I have never seen a house with a basement that has all entry doors at grade level. Have you? With a slab, that is easily done. Big quality of life difference. You have to decide what's more valuable to you, quality of life, or return on investment (if any).

  3. #13
    Whatever. Around here we have basements, predominately. I am in a wheelchair and have a basement. If I was going to build a new house (here in NJ) it would have a basement. Slab on grade is big on the West Coast, it's not here.

  4. #14
    I get that you're committed to a basement. That's neither here nor there. This is about offering context to the reader so that the reader can make an informed decision. The reader may want to consider the following.

    Basements typically mean that even ranches have entry doors about 4 ft above grade. With an ADA pitch of 1:12 you need a 48 ft ramp. That's huge and tends to look disproportionate and ugly unless you make it architectural. Then it's very expensive. On the other hand, a slab house can be designed without a ramp so the property looks much nicer and is far less expense.

    It's impractical and may be impossible to carry anything other than very small and cool stuff on your lap over a long ramp (forget BBQ). Because as you lean forward to push up the ramp, your gut and chest will push stuff off your lap. At some point you have to tow vs carry. The solution is to either use a power chair so that you don't lean forward, or 2) eliminate the ramp by living in a house on a slab. I know you use a power chair. But for those of us who don't, the slab house to eliminate the ramp is the only feasible option.

    How about trips to the garage or shed to grab a tool or a supply? It can take a few minutes over a long ramp vs a few seconds without a ramp. A few minutes seems trivial but it adds up over the day. After enough trips back and forth, you're spending more energy pushing up the ramp then on the actual project. Again, easily mitigated with a power chair. But that doesn't apply to all of us.

    The easier and more pleasant something is to do, the more likely we are do it. Hence, I find myself spending more time outdoors in California than in Connecticut because of the better weather. Similarly, i find myself more active in my California house than my Connecticut house. Because the California house offers easier mobility. Because it doesn't need ramps. Because it's on a slab.

    But if you still want the basement, then consider landscaping the ground so that the basement is fully underground. That way, you may not need a ramp, at least not a long one. But I don't know if the building codes will allow it. For some reason, they tend to build basements only partially underground.
    Last edited by August West; 09-17-2019 at 01:11 AM.

  5. #15
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    I've been slammed at work since posting the original query. I'll try to respond to all. I'll get to the basement on a screw lift like the ones people use in garages. We go to a local theatre that has one and it's slow but perfectly serviceable. I'm hoping the basement is only for tornados and I'll have room on the ground level for exercise equipment.

    I need to get a big proposal out today but more tomorrow.

    Thanks for all the help!
    T3 complete since Sept 2015.

  6. #16
    I have a vertical platform lift to access my basement. I bought it used but it was only a few months old and in like new condition. They can be bought pretty cheap if you search around and are not in a hurry. They can also be broken down so you could install one after the house is built.

  7. #17
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    I want zero steps or rams or elevation changes on the first floor. If that means no basement then I will build a safe room for the relatively frequent tornado warnings we have. That's the main reason I want a basement. The wife wants one for storage I think, but I doubt she knows that a basement requires such elevation of the first floor.
    T3 complete since Sept 2015.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    I have never seen a house with a basement that has all entry doors at grade level. Have you? With a slab, that is easily done. Big quality of life difference. You have to decide what's more valuable to you, quality of life, or return on investment (if any).
    Not worried about ROI as the plan is to make the our last move.
    T3 complete since Sept 2015.

  9. #19
    Let us know what you find about building a basement completely underground such that the entry doors to the first floor are at grade (no steps, no ramps). I haven’t seen them. But it may be just an issue of cost and not building code.

  10. #20
    Most Code Enforcement, and general building best practices only requires 8" exposure of the foundation. Properly landscaped that could easily be made up for level entry, if the lot size allows it.

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