In order to create an additional space in homes, people are resorting to the option of lowering the basement. And, bench footing is one of the widely used methods for it.
What is Bench Footing?
It is a process through which you can lower the basement and provide extra structural support to the foundation. There is no need to dig under the foundation in order to provide extra height to the basement. Instead, with bench footing, you can lower the basement floor level and widen the structure of the foundation.
How is Bench Footing done?
· A general contractor designs and creates a perimeter around the inside of the basement walls.
· He will dig up to the desired depth around foundation.
· After completing the digging process, he will construct new footings that extend deeper than the depth of the new floor.
· Once the new walls extend upward to the original basement depth, he will cover it with concrete. The finished effect will be as if the house has a concrete bench extending along the foundation wall.
· Thus, it gives a ‘benching effect’ and an extra support to the foundation.
What are the Advantages of using the Bench Footing Technique?
It is less time consuming.
It is cheaper than underpinning.
It makes no changes to the existing foundation walls.
It involves less excavation work.
It is a viable option if your house has a common wall and the neighbor does not consent you to dig under the foundation.
You can use the newly created ‘bench effect’ as a display area and make the space attractive.
It adds a luxury appeal to the basement, making it eye catching for guests or potential tenants.
What are Disadvantages of the Bench Footing Technique?
· The technique is called a ‘thief of space’ because it reduces the square footage area of the basement. Also, it leaves you with limited options for using the bench structure effectively.
· It may not add to the market value of your home.
· It does not involve fixing any cracks in the existing structure. If you want the general contractor to repair the cracks, you may have to pay extra money for it.
What Precautions are necessary before starting the Process of Bench Footing?
· Examine preliminary factors such as the following:
o The soil on which the house is built
o The required depth of the area
o Intended use of the basement
o Maintenance cost in the long run
· Hire an expert such as a structural engineer. Get him to examine the entire area, even the outer walls of the house to know whether bench footing is the best suited technique for your house.
· Ask the engineer to check the basic design of your house and consider factors such as the level of sanitary sewer connection.
· Usually, lowering the basement requires a building permit from the Municipality, so make sure you get one before starting the process.
· Do not forget to clear the basement of all the furniture or storage items.
Not all homes can withstand the process of bench footing. So, it is vital to understand the structure of your house before you begin any work in the basement. Remember that bench footing is an effortless technique for lowering the basement. But, if it is done in an incorrect manner, it may cause harm to the house in the future.