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Old 11-01-2011, 04:17 PM
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Basements in Florida (or lack thereof)


When we moved here from Ohio, I noticed very early on that few in any homes down here had basements. When I pressed my engineer neighbor, he said that the high water table would leak into your basement and you'd have a below-ground swimming pool (and not a basement) after awhile. Well we lived on the river, so for our neighborhood that made sense I guess; do people build basements in any part of Florida at all (or other locale with a high water table)?
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:13 PM
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A basement generally results from needing to dig wall foundations down below the frost line. By the time you've dug the wall footings down 6 to 8 feet below the ground surface, you might as well put in a floor and use the space (plus it's easier to dig a hole than to dig four narrow trenches). That's why we build them in northern states, but they're mostly unknown in the Sunbelt. Old houses there were up on brick pillars or similar foundations a couple of feet off the ground for termite protection. New ones are on concrete slabs for the most part.

The water table is certainly an additional consideration in Florida, though.
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:32 PM
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I've lived in South Florida for...35 years or so. I'm TOLD there are a few houses with basements, but I've never seen one here.


-D/a
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:24 PM
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If I read this chart (warning pdf) correctly, the average water table depth in Florida ranges from 1 to 1.5 meters below ground level. And, of course, south Florida is basically a swamp. So there doesn't seem to be a lot of places in the state where you can dig an eight-foot deep hole and not be worried that it will fill up with water.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:33 PM
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if you have a basement then the alligators find it and nest there. it makes playing ping difficult.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:43 PM
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I've lived in SE Georgia most of my life. Not quite as bad as Florida regarding the water table. Still, I can count on one hand, with fingers left over, the number of actual basements I've seen around here over the past 42 years. (I'm not counting so-called daylight basements built into houses on hills or underneath raised homes on the water.) Expensive engineering required for an actual underground basement, due to the water table and the sandy soil.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:32 PM
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As a further-north datapoint, I live in Tidewater Virginia. A few of the older houses have basements, but they are a frequent source of misery for the homeowners. After every big storm, they have to spend a lot of time getting to know their sump pumps.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
When we moved here from Ohio, I noticed very early on that few in any homes down here had basements. When I pressed my engineer neighbor, he said that the high water table would leak into your basement and you'd have a below-ground swimming pool (and not a basement) after awhile. Well we lived on the river, so for our neighborhood that made sense I guess; do people build basements in any part of Florida at all (or other locale with a high water table)?
My brother lives in Lake Wales, one of the highest points on the peninsula; none of the houses have full basements.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:53 PM
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I asked this question a little while ago, too, since I have spent my entire life in houses with basements, and it never occurred to me until I started watching real estate porn that there were places in the world that didn't have basements. One of the reasons I got for it was from areas that are built on bedrock, too - it's hard to build a basement if you have to jackhammer it out of solid rock.

I love having a basement in my house, though; in our bungalow, it doubles our usable space, plus we can go down there in summer and stay nice and cool without using any energy at all (we don't have AC in the house since we only need it for one week of the year).
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:53 PM
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My brother lives in Lake Wales, one of the highest points on the peninsula; none of the houses have full basements.
My wife's family is from Lake Wales. Hi!

Never heard of a basement in Florida. There are probably some spots in Ocala where you could do one. Don't know about the Panhandle.
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:01 AM
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Having visited Houston, I know basements are very uncommon there. Some local dopers told me they had never been in a house with a basement.
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:07 AM
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Mr Downtown nailed it in the very first reply. Frost line in Northern states requires digging 5 or more feet down for footings. Doesn't cost much more to put in an unfinished basement.

Southern states have one foot footings. It's a big investment to put in a basement.

Water table isn't too big of an issue. They use Sump pits & pumps to collect the water and get it out. French drains all around the foundation divert the water into the sump pit. Plus they have high tech rubber membrane they use to seal the foundation with. It is a big pain in the butt to deal with water seepage. Another reason basements are not built in the South.

Holmes on Homes has filmed several episodes that dealt with wet basements. Mike always had a foundation sub-contractor dig down, install the membrane and if needed, a sump pit & pump. It's a huge issue in Canada when you have piles of melting snow draining water into the foundation.

Last edited by aceplace57; 11-02-2011 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:25 AM
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Sun belter checking in here. NC, to be more exact. Homes built on sloping land very often have basements. The water table in these parts can be hundreds of feet below the surface. Wish I had one. I need a man cave.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:16 AM
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As a further-north datapoint, I live in Tidewater Virginia. A few of the older houses have basements, but they are a frequent source of misery for the homeowners. After every big storm, they have to spend a lot of time getting to know their sump pumps.
I grew up in the Tidewater region. When we visited our relatives in the mountains I was surprised to learn they had an whole nother floor UNDERNEATH their house! Incredible. And somehow it didn't even fill up with water when it rained. I was so smitten with this mole like way of living that I can't do without a basement now, so it's a good thing I don't live in a swamp anymore.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:40 AM
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I grew up in Northern Louisiana. There are hardly any basements there (as in there must be one somewhere but I never saw it in person). They are even more rare in Southern Louisiana. You can't even bury people below ground in the New Orleans area.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:45 AM
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Someone please fight my further ignorance and explain why foundations need to extend below this strange thing you call a "frost line". I mean this as a serious question. The only frost line I know personally is the one on the beer mugs I put into my freezer.

We only have two seasons here -- rainy, and not so rainy. During the former, newly dug post holes fill with ground water before you can dig to the needed depth. During the other season, they fill with water before you can stick the posts in them. Anything like a basement would be highly problematic.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:09 AM
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Someone please fight my further ignorance and explain why foundations need to extend below this strange thing you call a "frost line". I mean this as a serious question. The only frost line I know personally is the one on the beer mugs I put into my freezer.
You have to extend the foundation below the frost line so when the ground freezes in the winter your house isn't pushed out of the ground.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:27 AM
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You have to extend the foundation below the frost line so when the ground freezes in the winter your house isn't pushed out of the ground.
Let me elaborate on this because to the person who really has no idea what a "frost line" is, this may be an insufficient explanation.

1. When it gets cold enough, the ground itself freezes, to a depth dependent on the coldness of the air.
2. As you probably know, water has more volume frozen solid than it does as liquid. So when the ground freezes, it "heaves" or shifts via the expansion of the water inside the dirt. This very powerful force can literally buckle concrete and shift entire buildings (seriously, in Michigan I worked in a 30-stall horse barn that would heave such that in the winter, some of the stall doors couldn't close). Then in the spring it "settles" again. Over time this process causes damage throughout the structure.*
3. The frost line is the depth to which the ground freezes hard during the winter.
4. You must place the foundation of the house below the frost line, on a solid, unchanging base, otherwise it will be heaved out of place.

*frost heave is the cause of the fallen wall stones in the Robert Frost poem, Mending Wall.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:34 AM
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I love having a basement in my house, though; in our bungalow, it doubles our usable space, plus we can go down there in summer and stay nice and cool without using any energy at all (we don't have AC in the house since we only need it for one week of the year).
Same here. Without a basement I wouldn't have my man-cave.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:44 AM
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Basements are not that common in the UK, either - at least not in modern homes. We don't have the frost issue here (the ground may freeze in winter, but only a few inches down), so I'm not too sure what the reason is.

Victorian houses often had cellars, and older townhouses have basements (often now converted into "lower-ground-floor" flats, in estate-agent speak), but I don't recall being in a house built in the past 40 years or so that has one. I presume it's a matter of cost - most houses are just built on a concrete slab, which is much easier than digging a big hole.

I suppose the real question is why they used to be common over here?
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:06 AM
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Basements are not that common in the UK, either - at least not in modern homes. We don't have the frost issue here (the ground may freeze in winter, but only a few inches down), so I'm not too sure what the reason is.

Victorian houses often had cellars, and older townhouses have basements (often now converted into "lower-ground-floor" flats, in estate-agent speak), but I don't recall being in a house built in the past 40 years or so that has one. I presume it's a matter of cost - most houses are just built on a concrete slab, which is much easier than digging a big hole.

I suppose the real question is why they used to be common over here?
IIRC, it was for cold storage of food staples. It's easier/cheaper to keep a basement surrounded by earth at a consistent cool-to-cold temperature, and that's very handy for keeping staples shelf-stable. Especially useful for apples, potatoes, and other stuff that would deteriorate much more quickly in warmer environments.

(ETA - bolding added by me)

Last edited by Lasciel; 11-02-2011 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:11 AM
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Someone please fight my further ignorance and explain why foundations need to extend below this strange thing you call a "frost line". I mean this as a serious question. The only frost line I know personally is the one on the beer mugs I put into my freezer.

We only have two seasons here -- rainy, and not so rainy. During the former, newly dug post holes fill with ground water before you can dig to the needed depth. During the other season, they fill with water before you can stick the posts in them. Anything like a basement would be highly problematic.
Frostline means the depth below which the ground never freezes. In northern climates (like Canada) this can be 3 feet down or more.

(In the swampy northern tundra there is the phenomenon of "perma-frost" where due to the insulating properties of the surface crud, there is a frozen layer several feet to hundred feet deep. In these locales, the problem is the oppostie - build a warm structure or put extra piles of dirt like a road over an area of permafrost and it can start to get soft and mushy in that area. Buildings are put on piles or stilts to prevent thawing. Roads heave and sink often.)

Ice expands unlike most solids, from freezing to about 0F. This can cause heaves; another phenomemon is that rocks can slowly make their way to the surface, as frost underneath pushes them up then dirt washes down under and stops them from settling down. In places like Ireland and New England, regularly collecting and clearing the rocks that surface every spring has given us those delightful rock walls around fairly large farmers' fields. The danger is that this same phenomenon can happen to foundations Frozen ground will rise, recently melted dirt will be mushy.

Since frost can heave, to prevent a house from shifting unevenly, the foundations have to be set on firm soil at the layer where soil does not move during the winter freeze/thaw. Hence the mention above of foundations "well below the frost line". In softer soils, piles or extra wide footings may still be required.

Last edited by md2000; 11-02-2011 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:49 AM
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To add a state, I grew-up in Texas, DFW area, and nobody had a basement. Well, I knew one person who had a basement. But they had a fancy custom home and special french drains, and they still had occasional problems with ground water. Coincidentally, that was also the only Nielsen family I ever met.

Yet, here in Ohio, nearly every home has a basement or crawlspace. Cheaper construction does skip the basement.
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:24 PM
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Basements are pretty rare in other parts of the South, as well. We lived in North Carolina, quite some distance from any swampy land (we were in Chapel Hill, pretty much the middle of the state), the water table was not, to my knowledge, an issue, and basements were pretty much unheard-of.

Our house was not on a slab, but on a concrete foundation with a crawlspace underneath the house itself.

Anyway, I'd buy that it's because of the digging below the frost line - less of a need to do so, so no basements.
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Old 11-02-2011, 01:09 PM
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Having visited Houston, I know basements are very uncommon there. Some local dopers told me they had never been in a house with a basement.
I've never seen a house in Houston with a basement. (I have traveled up to Yankeeland.) The concept of "frost line" is meaningless here. But not the concept of "flash flood."

Possibly some very high end swankiendas have basements....
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:51 PM
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You have to extend the foundation below the frost line so when the ground freezes in the winter your house isn't pushed out of the ground.
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Originally Posted by Hello Again View Post
Let me elaborate on this because to the person who really has no idea what a "frost line" is, this may be an insufficient explanation...
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Frostline means the depth below which the ground never freezes. In northern climates (like Canada) this can be 3 feet down or more...
Thank you for alleviating my ignorance. Those explanations make perfect sense.

They also confirm my choice of home location. When I moved to my present residence from Miami I told friends that I was moving "100 miles closer to the Arctic Circle than I ever planned to live". Truly, ice belongs in a glass of tea, not under my house or, og forbid, scattered around all over the place in piles of little crystals.
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Old 11-02-2011, 03:19 PM
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I live in Orlando and it is lousy with lakes and ponds. Just about every subdivision ends up with a retention pond to keep the houses from flooding. People end up with bigger garages instead of basements. I see a lot of people with two car garages that end up parking all their cars in the driveway.

I've read about custom built houses having basements, but they usually end up on high spots and they spend more money on waterproofing.
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:15 AM
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In addition to the high GWT, there's also the problem of sinkholes. Most of Florida, from about central FL northward, and huge chunks of south Georgia & Alabama sit on top of what's called The Florida Karst. It's basically a foundation of very porous and holey limestone through which water filters and is eventually dissolved by. Sinkholes start because excessive water (like rain from a hurricane, or you know, just some afternoon showers) dissolve enough limestone that a tiny cave forms underground. North Florida is full of sinkholes and caves.

I would be extremely wary of trying to dig a basement in Florida if you're building a house that's going to be sitting on top of the limestone karst. You could start a sinkhole that could swallow half the block!

It's too swampy here and where it isn't swampy, the land is sitting on top of limestone karst, just waiting to be dissolved to form more sinkholes.

My house is 18" off grade, on a foundation of brick pillars. Houses here are either that, or on concrete slabs.

Here's a little map. If you're house isn't sitting on top of limestone karst, then you are at too low an elevation to dig a basement.

Last edited by Dogzilla; 11-03-2011 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:28 AM
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Oh yes, I'd forgotten about sinkholes. When I was a kid, it was big excitement one morning when the neighbors' new pond swallowed most of their back yard, plus the patio, the porch, and the den! (We live/d about 60 miles due west of Savannah, Georgia.)

And speaking of Savannah, the city recently restored one of the historic squares, and built underground parking beneath. Construction was a logistical nightmare, thanks to the limestone plus a few centuries' worth of unmapped drainpipes, causing cracks and foundation problems in dozens of surrounding buildings, and the drainage had to be ridiculously over-engineered. My mother, ever the optimist, refers to the Ellis Square garage as the world's largest municipal swimming pool. I can't wait for the first heavy duty tropical storm...
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:56 AM
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Eek on sinkholes. A friend's cousin decided to save money when purchasing home insurance - and declined the rider for sinkhole coverage.

They regretted it.
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:49 AM
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They also confirm my choice of home location. When I moved to my present residence from Miami I told friends that I was moving "100 miles closer to the Arctic Circle than I ever planned to live". Truly, ice belongs in a glass of tea, not under my house or, og forbid, scattered around all over the place in piles of little crystals.
To each their own. I personally prefer to live in an area where the yearly freeze kills off the bugs and keeps them bug sized vs. letting them grow year round until they are small animal sized.
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:58 AM
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I personally prefer to live in an area where the yearly freeze kills off the bugs and keeps them bug sized vs. letting them grow year round until they are small animal sized.
What, you don't like the Palmetto Bug Rodeo?
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:15 AM
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To each their own. I personally prefer to live in an area where the yearly freeze kills off the bugs and keeps them bug sized vs. letting them grow year round until they are small animal sized.


Ever seen the bugs in (summertime) Alaska?

We used to tell a “big mosquitoes” joke (all right, not necessarily a good joke) about two guys camping in the Everglades who heard the mosquitoes talking outside their tent at night. One bug asked, referring of course to the campers, “Shall we eat them here, or carry them across the slough and eat them there?” To which the other replied “Here. If we go carrying them around, the big boys will take them away from us.” Har har, hee hee.

Once I visited my brother at an air force base in far northern Maine. He claimed that when he was first stationed there he knew there was a swing set in the kids’ playground because he could see the top bar above the snow. But he claims he didn’t find out there were see-saws until July. The locals put their own spin on big bug jokes. They claim that a Maine mosquito landed on the runway once and the ground crews ran out and pumped 40,000 pounds of JP4 into it before they realized it wasn’t an aircraft needing fuel.

So where exactly do we find this freezing cold place with shy, inoffensive, retiring bugs? I may visit -- but I’m keeping my whip and my chair.
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:36 AM
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What, you don't like the Palmetto Bug Rodeo?
You almost cost me a new keyboard (note I am a Floridian so I know whereof you speak).
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:54 AM
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The Ernest Hemingway House on Key West (of all places) has a basement. According to Wiki:

Quote:
The house stands at an elevation of 16 feet above sea level, but is still the second-highest site on the island. It was originally built by Asa Tift, a marine architect and salvage wrecker, in 1851 in colonial southern mansion style, out of limestone quarried from the site. As testament to its construction and location, it survived many hurricanes, and the deep basement remained, and remains, dry.

Last edited by Spoke; 11-04-2011 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:18 AM
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<snip>
So where exactly do we find this freezing cold place with shy, inoffensive, retiring bugs? I may visit -- but I’m keeping my whip and my chair.
Calgary - we have hardly any bugs here. We barely even get mosquitoes in summer (well, we get a few, but nothing like other places). Plus, summer nights are cool so you can sleep.

ETA: We don't have rats here, either!

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Old 11-04-2011, 12:48 PM
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Come to think of it, I've lived in South Carolina most of my life and except for my mom's family's houses in Pittsburgh (and only one of those has a real basement, really a cellar that isn't finished at all - the others are daylight basements) I have never been in a private home with a basement. Also that if you type "basement" enough it starts to look really, really weird.
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Old 11-04-2011, 01:28 PM
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Calgary - we have hardly any bugs here. We barely even get mosquitoes in summer (well, we get a few, but nothing like other places). Plus, summer nights are cool so you can sleep.

ETA: We don't have rats here, either!
Sweet! I'll be right up. What are we having for dinner Sunday? You don't mind if I bring my dog, right? She's housebroken and quite well behaved.

Wait a minute, it’s a trick! Wiki says “the Museum on the Isle of Mull explains that kald and gart are similar Old Norse words, meaning cold and garden”. I see the weather forecast for the next several days has highs around 5 and lows of -6 or less. Converting those heathen numbers into real temperatures, I note that if I were lounging outside upon an evening it would not be necessary for me to put ice into my tea – my tea would in fact become ice itself. And so would I!!

Sorry, the appointment’s off.
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Old 11-04-2011, 01:48 PM
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{Looks out my window at the snow gently falling.} Awww.

I have this idea about Extreme Vacationing - offering my home up to any southern Dopers who want to experience a REAL winter.
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:11 PM
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{Looks out my window at the snow gently falling.} Awww.

I have this idea about Extreme Vacationing - offering my home up to any southern Dopers who want to experience a REAL winter.
I might offer a trade, for a few days anyway. I've enjoyed previous forays into the Winter Belt. For limited durations -- extremely limited durations --, that snow stuff is rather lovely.

You promise to provide sufficient fuel (firewood, heating oil, whatever -- lest I need to burn furniture or, say, the second floor) to keep my immediate environs above my personal freezing point of about 68 degrees (call it 20 in Canadjun) for the entirety of my visit. I will promise to exterminate from my home and the immediate vicinity (well, at least between the house and the barn, anyway) all of the cockroaches exceeding 6 inches in carapace length, and to provide such chemical weapons as could be used in a direct defense against mosquitoes. Oh, and a home blood transfusion kit, please specify desired blood type in advance.

I suspect the chance of me becoming “snowed in” at your place is probably roughly equal to the odds of your becoming trapped by impassably flooded roads here, so we’re even on that score. The County grades what we euphemistically call “the road” leading to my property about once a week, if it is above water. How does Calgary deal with an over abundance of feathery ice crystals? Store them in people’s basements?

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Old 11-04-2011, 02:16 PM
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The Ernest Hemingway House on Key West (of all places) has a basement. According to Wiki:
And sits on bedrock (for lack of a better term) of coral rock, not limestone. The Keys are atolls, which are basically really big coral reefs that are large enough to support buildings, roads, and people. Coral does not dissolve with water (if it did, there would be no coral reefs to dive down to).

So, yes, Virginia, there are basements in Florida. But they are few and far between and extremely pricey.
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Old 11-04-2011, 03:50 PM
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Coral is just limestone waiting to happen!
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Old 11-04-2011, 04:18 PM
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I might offer a trade, for a few days anyway. I've enjoyed previous forays into the Winter Belt. For limited durations -- extremely limited durations --, that snow stuff is rather lovely.

You promise to provide sufficient fuel (firewood, heating oil, whatever -- lest I need to burn furniture or, say, the second floor) to keep my immediate environs above my personal freezing point of about 68 degrees (call it 20 in Canadjun) for the entirety of my visit. I will promise to exterminate from my home and the immediate vicinity (well, at least between the house and the barn, anyway) all of the cockroaches exceeding 6 inches in carapace length, and to provide such chemical weapons as could be used in a direct defense against mosquitoes. Oh, and a home blood transfusion kit, please specify desired blood type in advance.

I suspect the chance of me becoming “snowed in” at your place is probably roughly equal to the odds of your becoming trapped by impassably flooded roads here, so we’re even on that score. The County grades what we euphemistically call “the road” leading to my property about once a week, if it is above water. How does Calgary deal with an over abundance of feathery ice crystals? Store them in people’s basements?

Heh - we'd have to turn up the heat even in the house for you - we keep it nice and cool in here.

Calgary deals with an overabundance of feathery ice crystals by ignoring them and hoping they'll go away, but we're working on that.
  #44  
Old 11-04-2011, 06:32 PM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
You almost cost me a new keyboard (note I am a Floridian so I know whereof you speak).
I've never actually lived in Florida, but I've had enough encounters with "cockroaches you can ride" while visiting my in-laws there to make me familiar with the beasties.
  #45  
Old 11-16-2013, 02:51 PM
kellbellky is offline
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Basement in South Florida, believe it or not!


I have lived in Florida for over 15 years and have never seen a basement here, until I move to the West Palm Beach area for work. The bar I manage has a basement and we are located less than 500 ft from an open water way. It has flooded several times due to plumbing issues but nothing major. It's the creepiest basement I've been in too.
  #46  
Old 11-16-2013, 04:24 PM
Bill Door is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitter Patter View Post
Sun belter checking in here. NC, to be more exact. Homes built on sloping land very often have basements. The water table in these parts can be hundreds of feet below the surface. Wish I had one. I need a man cave.
North Carolina has a lot of contrasts. Here in southeast NC my realtor bragged, This house is 23 feet above mean high tide, so we're on a virtual mountain here. No basement. All my previous had one, and I miss having one, but I can see where it's impractical here.
  #47  
Old 11-16-2013, 04:28 PM
bob++ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
Basements are not that common in the UK, either - at least not in modern homes. We don't have the frost issue here (the ground may freeze in winter, but only a few inches down), so I'm not too sure what the reason is.

Victorian houses often had cellars, and older townhouses have basements (often now converted into "lower-ground-floor" flats, in estate-agent speak), but I don't recall being in a house built in the past 40 years or so that has one. I presume it's a matter of cost - most houses are just built on a concrete slab, which is much easier than digging a big hole.

I suppose the real question is why they used to be common over here?
I suspect it comes back to building codes and costs.

Way back in the early 60s we had a family friend who was an engineer. He was involved in building some houses in S. Wales on sand. The method they used was to build a concrete tank above ground, the size of the single story house, with an apron extending out at the top. Once this was in place, they vibrated the sand and the concrete sank under its own weight. This then became the foundation (and cellar) for the house

I have no idea if they are still there.
  #48  
Old 11-16-2013, 04:50 PM
runningdude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
When we moved here from Ohio, I noticed very early on that few in any homes down here had basements. When I pressed my engineer neighbor, he said that the high water table would leak into your basement and you'd have a below-ground swimming pool (and not a basement) after awhile. Well we lived on the river, so for our neighborhood that made sense I guess; do people build basements in any part of Florida at all (or other locale with a high water table)?
I am also an engineer, an oddly enough, your neighbor and I had the exact same thought - Florida basement = swimming pool!

Generally speaking, basements are built in climates where there are cold winters. The foundations must be dug deep enough to get below the frost line, so as to not crack when the soil freezes and expands. Usually, the foundation must be about 36 inches deep, but digging little deeper gives you extra living space for very little added cost...

In Florida, there is no freeze-thaw cycle, so basements are not common. If fact, they are very difficult to build, even if you built the foundation to be perfectly water tight so it didn't flood. A perfectly sealed basement would get pushed up by the water table, unless properly anchored. Without the complex anchoring, your house would essentially "floating" like a boat on the underground lake that is the water table!

Last edited by runningdude; 11-16-2013 at 04:51 PM.
  #49  
Old 11-16-2013, 05:44 PM
percypercy is offline
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We had a basement in the house I grew up in, but it was only partly underground. I guess the house had been built into a hill(the driveway was really steep). We had doors to the outside on one side, and on the opposite it was clearly under ground. That house was built in the 20's I think. My house now is not far away and perhaps older but no basement. This is in TN.
  #50  
Old 11-16-2013, 06:01 PM
ratatoskK is offline
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My sister had a townhouse in Minnesota that was built on concrete slab. Are such buildings going to self-destruct? Based on the above, it would seem they'd need basements.
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