Basement Conversion Cost
Converting a basement or cellar into additional living space
Converting a cellar or basement can provide valuable extra living space without drastically altering the exterior of your home. This type of conversion is expensive, but once you have made good use of all the useful interior space including the loft, if you do not have space around the house to extend further, it's really the only option, other than moving to a larger house! The one thing that almost everyone wants is more space, and converting the cellar into a basement storey beneath the existing property can be a good option. However, it is so expensive you may not get a full return on your investment, unless you live in London or other areas where property prices and space are extremely expensive. Basements are also created as part of new build properties, but this article is primarily concerned with renovating an existing basement or cellar to create additional living space, or even creating a new basement in an existing home and potentially extending outside the existing property boundary, into the garden. Obviously, converting an existing basement into useful living space is much easier and less expensive than creating a new basement from scratch. This is a simpler conversion that can also be tackled by the average DIY enthusiast. However, excavating a new basement is a job that is definitely best left to the professionals!
Average Basement conversion costs
Things to consider when planning a basement conversion
In some parts of the UK, especially in London and parts of the South East where property values are at a premium and stamp duty is expensive, many are considering basement conversions as a cost effective option. A basement conversion allows you to create a whole new floor for a variety of uses and the living space is more usable than for example a loft conversion, which can only really be used for additional bedrooms or an extra upstairs bathroom. That being said, extending into the loft will be much cheaper!
Extending underground also brings some additional headaches, namely due to the fact that the new living space will often be under the water table level. So when building a basement is it important to understand that every building is different and as a result, there are a number of options when if comes to waterproofing. But there are two primary methods that are most often used: membranes and structural waterproofing or tanking. Membranes are the most common and are created using high-density polyethene which is fixed physically to the wall and on which the internal plaster boards can be fixed. The type of waterproofing membrane that is most suitable for your basement conversion will be determined by the anticipated water flow rate. British Standard 8102 from 1990 requires the use of damp proofing membranes in the UK and there is a wide range of specialist membrane products on the market designed to address a variety of issues. Whichever membrane product is fitted, there is little to no preparation required and they are very quick to install.
Doing it Yourself
If there is an existing basement which is dry and well waterproofed, converting storage space to living space is fairly easy and well within the scope of the average DIY enthusiast. However, if there is damp, or the basement needs excavating to provide more headroom or needs to be extended – then this is a job best left to the experts! Excavating around the foundations of a property is not a job for an amateur and there will likely need to be some underpinning required for structural safety. Getting this wrong could cause the basement to collapse and even damage the structure of the property!
Basement conversion checklist
- A basement conversion is a very specialist job so always employ an experienced architect or a dedicated conversion company
- The main problem with any subterranean space is lack of natural light - consider skylights, sun pipes and tunnels
- Many Victorian and Edwardian houses already have basements and with sturdy foundations can be ideal for conversion
- The proposed new basement may well be below the water table, so check with your architect or builder to find out which waterproofing method is the most appropriate
Hiring a Tradesman Checklist
- Always get at least 2 quotes before hiring.
- Never pay the full amount upfront.
- Get the quote in writing.
- For any payment you make, always get a receipt.
- On more expensive jobs, ask for references.
- Check if the tradesman is a member of any trades associations.
- Make sure the tradesman has public liability insurance.
What can I use my new basement area for?
Is a Basement conversion a good investment?
Do I need planning permission to convert my basement?
Will I need to move out while the work is in progress?
How much will it cost to convert my existing basement or cellar?
Would require some advice and figures on converting /waterproofing my cellar into a bedroom.
Submitted by Tony
This is a basement project in an existing cellar. Planning permission obtained and Structural engineer drawings in place. Work required to dig basement which in some places is already 8ft high but need to go down to 3m with eventual height at 2.5. Underpinning required and opening need to be creat...
Submitted by O J
I have a mid-terrace dating from approximately 1890. It has a small cellar which I would like to use for storage only. It is not wet but is damp. Anything that is stored in it currently, unless it is stood on top of something, becomes covered in mold. I need only the basic waterproofing work compl...
Submitted by Cate
I have a large cellar which is mainly dry but is moldy and smells musky at times. I would like to convert the cellar so that the rooms are used for storage or play area for kids. The cellar is quite large and has 3 rooms. The room sizes are approx 12 ft by 13 ft and 14 ft by 13 ft. One small r...
Submitted by Masood
Digging out the existing basement.