Last week we touched on a popular question, “Do I need a basement?” explaining the basics of a typical basement condition in a BrightBuilt Home. We mentioned that BrightBuilt basements are very usable, conditioned, ultra-dry spaces. This week, we thought we’d answer 4 of the most common questions that follow that initial query. Who knew basements could be so interesting?
1. How much square footage is there to develop down there?
Easy! Typically, barring any unusual site conditions, the size of the basement is the same size and shape as the first floor of your BrightBuilt. Which translates to a lot of extra, usable space for you!
2. What goes in the basement?
This can be answered many ways because it is largely dependent on what you wish and budget for. A standard BrightBuilt basement will need to store the mechanical systems for the house. That includes an ERV, a Heat pump water heater, a solar inverter, and any other necessary systems (like water filtration); it uses no more than a 10’x10’ section of space. And then, the rest is up to you. Do you want another guest bedroom suite? A playroom? A home-gym? Let’s plan for it!
3. Do you have bulkhead?
Attempting not to bore you too much, code states that basements must have a secondary form of egress. This means you need some alternative way to exit the basement other than the interior stairs. For some projects this means the use of a bulkhead, for others it means planning for egress windows that open into window wells. There are several ways to achieve that egress, and a bulkhead is one of them. A bulkhead can also be desireable because of it's direct, full-height access to the outside; if you have lots of heavy equipment to move in and out of your basement space, it may be the way to go.
4. Are walkout basements possible?
Short answer is: yes. The long answer is: the ease of achieving a “walk-out” depends on the conditions of your site. If, for example, your site is steeply sloping, naturally a walkout condition from your basement may be easy to accommodate. If you live on a relatively flat site, it may require additional excavation and landscaping, and that will need to be factored into the budget of the project. A walkout basement will not drastically change the performance or function of your high-performance home, but it does require some additional insulation. The wall that forms the walkout will need to be insulated differently than the others, because it’s exposed to frigid air temperatures, rather than tempered ground temperature. And, that’s the gist of it.
Further, if you’re interested in seeing a BrightBuilt basement, we have a few 3D walk-throughs that will take you right on down. We think you’ll be impressed at how open, dry, and clean they look and feel. Check out an Perkins basement, and a Foxbird basement.