Most homes in Florida have no basements, and the few that do are only in the central and northern parts of this state. The Floridian aquifer system is near the ground surface, making it almost impossible and dangerous to dig basements.
Homes that are nearer to the coast have a higher water table that increases the risk of flooding. Since the Floridian aquifer system comprises porous carbonate rock and limestone, digging a basement could result in a sinkhole. A Floridian home with a basement is at risk of mold infestation, water damage, and flooding.
Reasons Why Florida Homes Have No Basements
The geology in Florida varies from one region to another, and for some reason, houses are built without basements. Some of the reasons include;
High Water Table
Some regions in Florida are low-lying near lakes or everglades, which makes them close to the water table. The proximity to the waterways and high water table makes it challenging to dig out for a basement since digging more than 10-feet results in flooding.
But, in central Florida (for example, in Clermont), the terrain is hilly and spans several miles. For this reason, it is easy to build basements into the hillside and have a structure that is partially above the ground and partially underground.
Limestone And Coral
Most houses in Florida are built directly on coral and limestone, which makes it quite hard to excavate. Digging a basement around these natural features may result in a sinkhole which eventually may lead to your property collapsing.
A basement should be below the frost line to prevent the cracking or freezing of pipes. This frost line ought to be between 8 and 10 feet below the surface, and it is impractical to dig that depth in Florida.
Basements Are Not Popular.
Another reason for not having basements is that these features are not popular in this sunshine state. Unlike earlier, when oil-fired boilers and other equipment were set up underground in colder conditions, these items are no longer available.
How To Waterproof A Basement
Some houses can still be built with a basement which calls for waterproofing to keep them safe. Some of the methods for waterproofing include;
Exterior waterproofing methods are carried out on the outer side of your home. They help to prevent water from entering the house. This method requires heavy machinery and tools, and it could be labor-intensive. It involves digging around your home, removing the soil, and applying a waterproof sealant on the exterior walls. Ensure that a polymer-based adhesive that is long-lasting is used during the construction of the home.
The gutter system also needs to be correctly installed to prevent rainwater from getting into your home’s foundation. Ensure that your gutters are not draining water close to the foundation, or they are not clogged. Rainwater should be directed away from your home as much as possible.
The methods used for interior waterproofing are affordable and accessible. They involve sealing all holes and cracks in the basement, floors, walls, as well as around doors and windows to prevent water from getting into the cellar. You can use special sealants to fill all cracks to prevent any moisture from getting into the inside.
The suitable waterproof sealants will help lower humidity levels hence prevent condensation. When the coatings are put on the basement floors and walls, they create a waterproof barrier that allows the basement to remain dry.
Most of the moisture issues in the basement are a result of problems in the drainage systems. Ensure that you have a good drainage structure around your home to keep the basement dry. Properly installed drainage systems help to direct rain and underground water far from the basement. Since each soil type drains differently, it is necessary to ensure that the soil surrounding your home does not retain moisture and drains quickly.
Check that the ground slopes away from the foundation, and if it does not, you can fix a pump that will collect the water and direct it away from your basement. It is advisable to look for a drainage system that works even when there is a power outage.
When waterproofing your basement using an internal drainage system, you can hire the services of a professional since it can be pretty complicated.
What Are The Steps For Waterproofing A Basement?
Poor waterproofing in the basement can lead to several problems, and it is necessary to follow the proper steps when doing it. The following steps are helpful;
Your basement needs to be protected from moisture, and it is essential to dig around it and into the base. Applying the right products over the walls is one way of getting a properly waterproofed basement. Ensure that you have the suitable perforated pipe, drainage tiles, and other approved materials to install below or at the area that needs protection.
Look For Cracks
After completing the excavation process, you will have to clean the wall and look for any crevices and holes through which water can seep in. If you find any cracks, be sure to apply some hydraulic cement to seal them. Hydraulic cement expands as it cures, and it will, therefore, cover the damages and reduce the chances of leakage.
Spread Some Sealant
After fixing all the cracks, the next step is to apply some cement-based sealant to all the outer walls. These products are easy to apply, and you can use them over masonry surfaces and concrete since they get more hardened over time and seal the pores. This procedure will help to fix any cracks that were not filled by hydraulic cement.
Installing A Waterproofing Membrane
The next step after applying a sealant is to install a waterproofing membrane. Spraying a heavy coat of asphalt-modified polyurethane substance will help protect the basement wall against outside water.
Fixing A Drainage Mat
A drainage mat is also essential as it helps create a space between the wall and itself to allow moisture to reach the drain structure. Ensure that the carpet is the same depth as the foundation to help ease the horizontal pressure against the basement.
Installing The Weeping Tile
A weeping tile (also known as a French drain) needs to be installed below the basement floor to help direct the water away. You can use a 4-inch pipe and ensure that there are cleanouts installed for easy access during maintenance. To complete the French drain, it needs to be filled with gravel which is 18-inch from grade for earth sites and 4-inch from an angle where cement is to be placed.
States With Most Houses With Basements In The US
Houses with basements have high value than those with none. A finished basement increases the living space for a home, making it popular with most people. States that have most houses with basements include;
2. New Mexico
12. North & South Dakota
3. West Virginia
6. New Jersey
8. New Hampshire
Are There Any Benefits Of Having A Basement In A Home?
Yes. Basements have several benefits to a home which include;
Additional Storage Space
A basement provides extra space in your house for storing additional items that would otherwise not fit in other rooms. You may use it to store unused items, holiday decorations, a wine cellar, or extra supplies.
As An Entertainment Space
If your main space is not enough to add a work office, a child playing area, or even a gym, a basement comes in handy.
Extra Rooms And Bathrooms
A basement also helps to add extra bathrooms and living space, especially if you have a growing family. You can also convert your basement into a guest area for privacy. Adding additional rooms to a home increases its value, especially if you intend to sell it later.
Besides adding value to the home, converting your crawl space into a more livable area prevents fungal and mold growth. You will also have a maintenance-free basement making it cheap to maintain your home.
Remodeling a basement makes a property have about 70% return on investment, on average.
A basement makes a home to be energy-efficient and does not need any other external walls. The groundmass is usually on the other side, and this makes it thermal-efficient since the house will not overheat too fast or cool down too quickly. Basements are excellent in retaining heat, and they also help to regulate the fluctuations in temperatures.
Most homes in Florida have no basements because of the high water table and the extensive aquifer system. The state’s nearness to the ocean and the many rivers, swamps, and lakes make digging a basement almost impossible since it would cause flooding.
There are, however, other states with basements as mentioned above that one may consider.