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Old 10-20-2007, 08:30 AM
 
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Can anyone give me information about houses with basements in east Texas -particularly the area between Tyler & Marshall? Are they common? If not, can anyone tell my why people don't have basements?
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Old 10-20-2007, 10:22 AM
 
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Hi, Mums The Word.

We live in NE Texas, close to that area, and there are two people we know of with basements. When we moved here seven years ago, we just assumed houses had basements, but I think it has to do with the water table. It's not impossible to have one, but I believe it's expensive and often times needs repairs (one of the people I know had to completely gut and reseal the concrete walls last year).

The major reason we wanted a basment, aside from extra square footage, was for storms. But since we've lived here there hasn't been a tornado. However, my husband has looked into having a storm shelter installed in an existing room of our house. They're actually not too expensive, and you can use them for storage and such, as long as you can get into them in a pinch. We decided against it for the house we live in because we just don't have room for it.

Sorry to get off topic. If you build you probably could find a contractor to build one, but they just aren't worth it in most cases down here.
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Old 10-20-2007, 12:01 PM
 
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CleoT - thanks for the info! We have friends who will be moving to that area and they noticed that none of the houses had basements. I will definitely tell them about the interior storm shelters. Thanks again for the info
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Old 10-20-2007, 01:47 PM
 
Location: The Big D
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Depending on where in Texas and the soil is another big reason. In most of North Central Texas we have clay soil which expands and contracts WAY TOO MUCH for a basement to be feasible. In some areas thru Dallas there is the white rock which even putting in a pool in some areas requires dynamite (YIKES- but better foundation for the house than the clay). The builders don't want to go thru the expense of putting one in as it would require to do basements and then face lawsuits later on because the thing had massive cracks in it and such. The water table is another reason. They just are not a feasible option in most of Texas. There are some areas that have a "underground" home but most of those are in rural areas and they are built into a small hill so that one side is actually exposed. There is one not to far from me in a suburb of Dallas and another in the East Dallas area.

A storm cellar is a better option if your wanting this for protection from tornados but as the previous poster said they are not THAT common. I'm a 40+year old native and have yet to be in a tornado or see one and neither has anyone in my family that also grew up here. The fortified room in the house is a much better option if your building a house w/ a custom builder. What you will find for storage in Texas is attics instead of basements.
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:16 AM
 
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Default Basements can be built for any soil condition

Basements are built all over the united states in bad ground conditions. The truth about basements in Texas is there are not a lot of contractors that are equiped to do basements in the mass that is required to make them affordable.
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Dallas TX & AL Gulf Coast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by future455 View Post
Basements are built all over the united states in bad ground conditions. The truth about basements in Texas is there are not a lot of contractors that are equiped to do basements in the mass that is required to make them affordable.
Oh, come on now... are you saying ALL across the southern states this is the reason? There is such a thing as feasibility... and the ground issues, though they differ from state to state... simply make it UNfeasible to build underground structures in these areas.
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Grapevine, Texas
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I actually know two people in North Texas whose homes have basements.

One lives in a 100+ year old farmhouse north of Denton. Her basement was built when the house was (it was carved out of the white limestone), and it is almost constantly flooded. The water leaches in through the limestone walls and there's no way to put in a sump pump or anything because the basement is so old. So, she never uses it.

The other is in Arlington. Her house was built with it in the 1950's and it was built with a sump pump system so it doesn't flood. The soil around the basement has moved, so the basement walls have had to be repaired several times. The sump pump system also recently broke and cost several hundred dollars to fix.

YMMV.
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Old 09-28-2008, 01:41 AM
 
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Default Texas pier and beam resident..

[quote=ChristieP;2083564]I actually know two people in North Texas whose homes have basements.

One lives in a 100+ year old farmhouse north of Denton. Her basement was built when the house was (it was carved out of the white limestone), and it is almost constantly flooded. The water leaches in through the limestone walls and there's no way to put in a sump pump or anything because the basement is so old. So, she never uses it.

The other is in Arlington. Her house was built with it in the 1950's and it was built with a sump pump system so it doesn't flood. The soil around the basement has moved, so the basement walls have had to be repaired several times. The sump pump system also recently broke and cost several hundred dollars to fix.

Basement vs. Pier and Beam foundation...We've been in our home for less than three years..its an older two story home. We have to level it at a estimated cost of 3,000 dollars..It is leaning and sinking in the back.. I don't want to know what will happen to the home if we don't get the thing leveled I guess chunks of the house and roof will split in half..and just break off. Thats alot worse to live with I think...doors don't close etc..cracks in the floors and walls etc. ..which in turn costs more money for repairing interior walls etc..I know I know, I have seen the drought and summer months create craters and cracks...but just for the one month of July really so if people could water some of that month during that time there are no cracks...foundations are built all the time in softer or loomy sandy soil which can cave. Cinder block is strong..the clay soil is hard..whats not to like about having a basement? I agree with the previous guy who said its the contractors who do not want to equip themselves with the necessary equipment to dig a basement in a Texas home. Contractors just want to build homes as quickly as possible. What a waste..the homeowner ends up paying for a basement anyway because the cost to level a pier and beam foundation is as much as digging a basement foundation. It's all backwards I think... So you end up buying a home and then inevitably end up paying more money to have the home leveled..we have pier and beam..I have seen so many homes leaning one way or the other also on concrete or pier and beam..a flat surface will crack under weight..a hollow wall might not..The costs to the homeowner at some point in the life of the home for leveling is just as much as it would cost to install a basement..why not include the cost initially and then rest on a solid foundation! Employ foundation layers and create more jobs. Patching a few cracks in cinder walls costs alot less that having to level the entire home every 4 years or so...just does not make much sense to me over the life of the home. BUT, that's Texas for you..a whole other country. I am missing my full basement in NJ which was built in very sandy soil..never had a drop of water in it and had no sump pump either! But of course look at all the other things Texas has to offer and I am truly grateful for those things too so I guess it is all a wash in the end..I have to understand that clay does not absorb water I guess??? Unsure of the whole principal really.
ote]
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Old 09-28-2008, 06:33 AM
 
Location: North of DFW
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I'm a Realtor in East Texas. I've only shown one home that has a full-blown basement. I've shown several...no, more than several that are "split level" homes where you do walk down to another floor...but they are built this way because of being on a slope. They aren't full blown basements because you can access the bottom floor from the yard? To be honest I will have to look through the MLS rules to see what actually makes it a basement vs. a split level. It's funny the only people that ever ask about basements are folks not from this area. I love the idea of basements.
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:02 AM
 
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There is a little more to this, yet.

If you start with the reverse question -- why do houses in the Frozen North have basements? It is that frozen thing. The foundation walls are generally placed into the ground all the way to below the "freeze line" (how deep the ground will freeze. Typically 3-1/2 to 5 feet deep across the Upper US. That prevents what is called "frost heave," where even large rocks get shoved out of the ground.

Since the builder has to dig out and pour or block-build this underground "wall" to start with, it is easier to take it down a little deeper and not fill the center back in. Pour some concrete on the "floor" of the hole and viola -- an unfinished "basement." Close it tight and put just a little heat down there, and you do not have insulate the floor of the main (above ground) part of the house, either.

In Texas a few inches of concrete slab -- generally thicker at the edges -- is considered a passable foundation (and yeah there is mud heave, which causes as much damage as frost heave, but a whole secondary foundation repair business lives on that). So at any rate, since there is no hole, no walls, a basement is an entire add-on adventure. As noted by others is odd and weird by the local builders' point of view (meaning expensive), so folks just shrug, pout the slab, let the mud crack it up and rant about the crappy foundations here.
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