Basements in the South


A Basement

Jake Simons, Junior Editor


Have you ever wondered why when you visit a family members house in the South they don’t have a basement? Well I did, so that’s why I started studying different reasons why people don’t have basements in the South. The three reasons why are water table, frost line, and the extreme cost.


First off, the water table in the South is higher than the North. The water table is basically how far the water is beneath the ground. Because of the rivers, swamps, and lakes running through a large portion of the land, the water table tends to be higher up down there. For example, in Kansas the water is around 50 feet below the ground but in a place like Houston, Texas the water is at least 7 feet below the ground. So when digging a basement in the South you might need a pump for the water. Making it a lot more costly but I’ll get into that later.


Secondly, the frost line in the South, is a minor reason but still a respectable reason. “When water changes from liquid to solid, it expands 9% in volume.” ( When water freezes near an object that is stationary and can’t move then the water will break the object. Frost can be detrimental to foundation and footing, this is why specific codes list structural footing be placed below the frost line. In the North, we don’t need to worry about the frost line or water table but the South is another story. The groundwater depth up here is quite a bit deeper than the south, so there is no need to worry about basement destruction.


Lastly, these problems cause making a basement more costly than in the North! In the South basements could cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands, because of the procedures involved to make sure the basement is safe and won’t be destroyed in the first year. For the water table problem you will need series water pumps which would add thousands of dollars to the project, and I don’t have that kind of money to basically gamble and hope that it works. With the frost line problem which I don’t know how to get around you might need your basement walls to be heated so the water can’t freeze on the walls or near it.


So we concluded building a basement in the south is feasible just not exactly wanted unless you’re Bill Gates. All of the reasons above can destroy a families home or cause major damage if not built professionally. Hopefully know you know why when you visit the South you don’t see basements.