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View Full Version : Is there a reason why they don't put basements into houses in the Southwest?


vi edit
01-30-2004, 02:17 PM
I can understand not putting basements into houses in say, Florida or Louisiana because of water seeping into the homes, but what's the deal with Arizona? I'm looking high and low and can't find a home with a basement. :frown:

They don't add *that* much onto the price and it's a dirt cheap way of doubling your square footage. It would also be a nice cool retreat in the summer for a family or game room. Is it because of the ground? To much rock? Too hard to dig?

It's almost to the point where I'm considering contacting builders about building my own home with a basement as a requirment. I'd pay more, but when I go to sell the home I'd be like the only house in 20 square miles with a basement.

gistech1978
01-30-2004, 02:20 PM
newer construction; older houses typically have basements
but in AZ that probably would be a good idea, a nice cool place to hideout.

TranceNation
01-30-2004, 02:21 PM
people in the southwest just aren't very smart

amoeba
01-30-2004, 02:22 PM
I live in texas, the reason there are no basements here is because most of the ground underneath is limestone or some other type of hard rock, thus its hard to dig down that deep. Might be the same reason in Arizona

Ferocious
01-30-2004, 02:24 PM
A good basement is tricky.

too much water or lack thereof both can cause trouble.

it's all about the $$$.

No basement is better than a bad one.

Ikonomi
01-30-2004, 02:24 PM
I can't think offhand of any reasons why it wouldn't work in the southwest... I guess gistech is right about the newer houses excluding a basement. Seems like it would be cool (as in both neat and temperature-wise). I think I know someone who lives in Phoenix who has a basement. I think that's where he geeks out.

Here in Houston, no one has a basement, because the soft and moist earth will either push your house up out of the ground, fill your basement with water, or crack it in two. Foundation problems are very, very common around here, and building down into the ground is a recipe for disaster.

Spoooon
01-30-2004, 02:26 PM
That's kind of funny. We were talking about that the other day. In Texas, in some places the water table is too high.

vi edit
01-30-2004, 02:28 PM
The no basement thing is just making it tough to compare to housing costs in other places.

Up here I can buy a 1500 square foot modest sized ranch, but still have another 1500 square foot below me for a work out area, laundry room, geek center, ect. So, to get the same amount of space I have to look at 3000 square foot homes which are in a whole 'nuther price range.

vi edit
01-30-2004, 02:28 PM
Originally posted by: Spoooon
That's kind of funny. We were talking about that the other day. In Texas, in some places the water table is too high.

With an anual rainfall of under 10" I doubt water table is an issue :P

Ikonomi
01-30-2004, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by: vi_edit
The no basement thing is just making it tough to compare to housing costs in other places.

Up here I can buy a 1500 square foot modest sized ranch, but still have another 1500 square foot below me for a work out area, laundry room, geek center, ect. So, to get the same amount of space I have to look at 3000 square foot homes which are in a whole 'nuther price range.

Maybe you could find a house with an enormous attic. :confused: When you put it that way, lack of basement sucks hardcore.

Spoooon
01-30-2004, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by: vi_edit

Originally posted by: Spoooon
That's kind of funny. We were talking about that the other day. In Texas, in some places the water table is too high.

With an anual rainfall of under 10" I doubt water table is an issue :P

I think it's a matter of, like some other poster was saying, it leads to soggy earth that isn't conducive for construction.
In West Texas, you'd think basements would be relatively common, with the dry heat. It'd be a nice cool place to retreat to.

Bryan
01-30-2004, 02:35 PM
Scorpions.

:P

vi edit
01-30-2004, 02:36 PM
Well, the other thing about water tables is that where I'd be moving to is at close to 1300 ft above sea level. Granted it's not extremely high, but it most certainly is higher than much of the midwest and much of Texas.

I'm going to try and get in touch with some of our construction guys down there and see if they can give me any insight.

BigSmooth
01-30-2004, 02:36 PM
Here's an old thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.cfm?catid=38&threadid=1073760&FTVAR_MSGDBTABLE=arc) on a similar subject. Vic's answer makes sense.

Vic
01-30-2004, 02:38 PM
Yes. Shallow frost line.
In Iowa with its harsh winters, for example, the frost line might be 4-5 feet (or more?) deep. As a home's foundation must be at least 2 feet below the frost line in order to maintain long term stability, basements are common.
OTOH, in the hot sections of Arizona, there is no frost, so a home's foundation need only be 2.5 feet deep, therefore they put in a crawlspace, but no basement.

edit: LOL, BigSmooth :beer:

I'm reposting myself now :o

BigSmooth
01-30-2004, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by: Vic
Yes. Shallow frost line.
In Iowa with its harsh winters, for example, the frost line might be 4-5 feet (or more?) deep. As a home's foundation must be at least 2 feet below the frost line in order to maintain long term stability, basements are common.
OTOH, in the hot sections of Arizona, there is no frost, so a home's foundation need only be 2.5 feet deep, therefore they put in a crawlspace, but no basement.

edit: LOL, BigSmooth :beer:

I'm reposting myself now :o
Well, it's pretty much the same question so it deserved the same answer. ;)

vi edit
01-30-2004, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by: BigSmooth
Here's an old thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.cfm?catid=38&threadid=1073760&FTVAR_MSGDBTABLE=arc) on a similar subject. Vic's answer makes sense.

That's an excellent read. So ignoring the bedrock issue, it's just a matter of cost?

Assuming I was in an area that didn't have slab of granite below it I should in theory be able to have them put in a basement?

SarcasticDwarf
01-30-2004, 02:46 PM
The reason that basements are rare in the Phoenix area (especially northern Phoenix) is something called Calliche(sp) that makes the ground very, very hard to dig in. It makes it so hard that it is much cheaper to add another floor on top than dig one down.

TranceNation
01-30-2004, 02:49 PM
would save on electric bill though if AZ

Adul
01-30-2004, 02:50 PM
Originally posted by: DeathByAnts
The reason that basements are rare in the Phoenix area (especially northern Phoenix) is something called Calliche(sp) that makes the ground very, very hard to dig in. It makes it so hard that it is much cheaper to add another floor on top than dig one down.

yeah that is true, that crap is as hard as it comes. we have very clayish soil here to.

HomeBrewerDude
01-30-2004, 03:15 PM
Originally posted by: vi_edit

Originally posted by: Spoooon
That's kind of funny. We were talking about that the other day. In Texas, in some places the water table is too high.

With an anual rainfall of under 10" I doubt water table is an issue :P

It is.