Do You Agree? (Mississippi Basements) (Jackson, Hattiesburg: renter, houses, water heater)
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Its not just the clay, the water table is too high. In the north, you have to dig deeper to get to water. In the south, you don't have to go very far. You can't have a basement in Mississippi because before you got half way to the depth you needed to get to, you'd be standing in hole full of water.
Realize that the builder could charge you more money for building a basement -- so if he's refusing to, he's refusing more money, and there's no way he's doing that without a very good reason. So if it were me, I'd be loathe to question his judgment...especially because he's an experienced professional with specific knowledge of the soils and water table in your area, and of what others' past experiences (good and/or bad) have been with basements. You're no expert, and just looking at the soil and saying "oh, it looks nice to me" is a very bad basis for questioning the judgment of an expereinced professional. If you insist in a basement, it could (a) flood, and/or (b) shift and collapse -- causing tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage, and possible loss of life.
Most of the lowland South has (a) fine-grained sandy, silty soil - and (b) a high water table. This means that the soil isn't stable enough to support a basement, AND you *WILL* have moisture infiltration problems, which will result in possible flooding and definite mold, including possible toxic mold and rot. It can also unseat the footings around your foundation and your house can shift and collapse.
Look at what your neighbors have. If none of them have basements, you'd have to be (a) very arrogant, and (b) very stupid to think that you know better than all of them and they're all just too dumb to figure out how to build right.
Basements work in Mississippi IF you have adequate drainage, which usually means you'll need to have a severely sloped site, which usually means one side of the basement can be open to grade. I have seen this in Mississippi and it works quite well, but not every site has the existing grading and it would cost a lot in dirt work to get the site to do that if it was not already sloping and would not make sense in the end.
Also, about the clay. Yes, we have expansive clays in Mississippi, but in most cases, they are not on the surface. Usually, they are at least 6' below grade. Large buildings can be supported with adequate foundations, take a look at downtown Jackson. There are some areas where the clay is not as expansive, and there are some areas with little to no clay, you just need to get a soil report/survey before building. It will save you money and headache in the long run, trust me. Also, if you are building on top of expansive clay, DO NOT BUILD SLAB ON GRADE! Go with a conventional foundation with the floor raised up off the ground, it allows for more movement and is easier to repair in the future.
Also, if you are building on top of expansive clay, DO NOT BUILD SLAB ON GRADE! Go with a conventional foundation with the floor raised up off the ground, it allows for more movement and is easier to repair in the future.
AMEN to that, brother!
Building on a concrete slab is the worst type of foundation in almost any application. Besides the fact that (unless you build on top of rock, i.e. in Wyoming or something) all earth shifts and thus all foundations shift and concrete slabs' only option is to crack; besides that, they act as a big heat sink which means cold floors in the winter and higher heating bills. A conventional concrete-block (with or without brick cladding as an aesthetic veneer) crawlspace foundation is always the way to go here in the South.
I would like to follow up on this discussion that was started last November. I am a homebuilder living in Birmingham, Alabama but will soon semi retire back to my home place in Madison County just north of Jackson. I have been building basement homes in Birmingham for over 20 years. It is the preferred type of home in this area except for those who are in their retirement years and want a smaller "easy living" home on a slab. Day light basements have huge utility value and are a safe shelter from severe storms.
I was considering marketing myself as a "niche" builder offering to build or consult on building basement homes in the Jackson/Madison area. I would assume there are a lot of people from other parts of the country who have moved to Jackson who would love to have a basement like they had from where ever they moved.
I would like any comments from any interested parties.
I live on high ground, on a hillside (very near the top, perhaps only 20 feet down) and my 100 year old house sits on pylons. There was a root cellar dug many years ago, perhaps even when it was built. Would you like to see the pictures of the swimming pool under my house?
I don't believe this Arthur Howard guy, for the exact reason poptones said - anything dug under a house in the southeast would become a swimming pool due to the high water table and heavy rainfall. There is just no way you could have a basement here like folks up north do.
But even if you could...
It's not Southern. This Arthur Howard fool is yet another gutless sellout dancing on the graves of his ancestors (if he's indeed Southern at all). "I would assume there are a lot of people from other parts of the country who have moved to Jackson who would love to have a basement like they had from where ever they moved." -- YEAH, WELL, if they do, they can STAY wherever the hell it is they came from. Southern architecture doesn't need any more whacks taken at it. I remember growing up my mother told me this world would be a terribly boring place if everyone and everything was the same...now I'm starting to see what she meant.
I don't even know how to logically respond to the comments made by SouthernFarmer. I only asked a question and asked for comments. I got a polite and respectful answser from poptones but from SouthernFarmer all I got was an emotionally unbalanced tiraid of insults. The poor man says that he is "not Southern". That is very obvious by his rude and insulting behavior and his location is in Alabama not Mississippi. This has nothing to do with the subject matter of this forum, but my family has lived and farmed in Madison for over 100 years. Our roots and history are deep here and I really don't need to listen to some transplant from who knows where letcure me on Southern architecture and how other people should live their lives. The man is an insult to this forum and to the principle of common respect of other people.
Now, back to the reason I posted my question on this forum. My question was "is there a niche market in the Jackson Mississippi area for basements. I would assume there may be a small market for this product and I am professionaly capeable of building for this demand. The question remains as to if it is feasible to build. I appreciate the observations and comments of others on this forum as to the problems associated with basements in the Yazoo clay and the high water table. The services of geo tec and sturctural engineers would certaintly be required to answer this question on a "site by site" basis. These things I can do once I return to the "home place".
I would be grateful to anyone who would like to respond.
I have not lived in Birmingham, but I had a GF there for several years and so I am pretty familiar with the area. I'd like to point out the Birmingham really isn't anything like Jackson or NE MS. Birmingham is basically built on mountainsides, and the soil there is way more rocky. This is also why so many homes there do have what we used to call "half basements."
My experience from Michigan is you can put a basement under anything - just put in enough sump pumps. The question is whether you would want to. That said, I also don't know why someone would get so worked up over a person wanting a basement under their house.
In my neighborhood I can count at least four nearby homes that have out-buildings. My own home has a nice building that is presently being used as a shop but which really only needs me to move the shop stuff out and lay down carpet in order to have a "man cave." The home across the street has a mother in law cottage as do several others in this area. I also have a 650 sq ft porch that extends along two sides of the house... and this is why I think we don't have basements in MS! Who needs a stuffy, damp basement when you got a communal living area like that? Up north you got COLD weather like 6 months or more out of the year - here it gets cold for maybe a month and usually that's even broken up by some not too bad days.
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