Underground Extensions – An Affordable Option?

You’ve got a damp, dark cellar that’s full of old bits of furniture, rubbish that needs throwing out and what the kid’s are sure is a monster lurking in there. Is it time to turn this excess space into a useable room that will not only give you that extra room you’ve always dreamed of but should add value to your property when you choose to sell it?

Making an underground extension was something only heard of in the land of the rich and famous; but as moving home becomes too expensive an option, digging down into the ground has become a viable alternative. Whether people are choosing to convert cellars or are digging underground, these types of extensions have grown massively over the past few years, with far more building firms offering this option and at much lower costs.

A whole range of basement conversions have been seen, from modest single room conversions to multiple-floored ones. And, with improved technology in building products, building a basement that runs the entire length of the house or deeper into the ground is suddenly a much easier task than you may have first thought. With exceptional structural waterproofing, many have seen their dream home come true, not from building a multi-storey palace, but from digging deeper into the ground.

Can everyone extend into the ground?

Evidently, everywhere is going to be different, and a lot of factors will come into play. For example, if you don’t already have a basement or cellar, costs for the extension will probably be significantly more as the space will need excavating.

Equally, things such as soil type and water tables will come into play; so you will need to seek advice as to what ground you would be dealing with. However, that said, one company from London, the London Basement Company, did win planning permission to build one of these basement conversions just 20 metres from the tube line!

Planning permissions will vary; but if you already have a basement that you want to turn into a room, you may not need any at all. It will be affected if you are changing the outside appearance of your home or if your home is listed. Additionally, if you are building the basement from scratch you will need planning permission. Always check before starting your building work.

Money will be another important factor; if you have a lot to throw at this new extension, then, subject to planning permissions, you could be looking at a multi-storey underground phenomenon. But if you’re looking for that additional room just to make home living a little bit more comfortable then a more modest extension will be a more affordable option for you.

Building an underground extension in your garden.

Another popular underground extension feature has been seen in the garden, with people building these separate to the house.

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Sunk into the garden, these rooms can be given natural lighting with sky-lights in the room, with the roof also being turfed, decked or paved over the top so as to not lose any of your garden.

This is a great low-cost option as no underpinning of your home will be required in this outdoor space; and will create the perfect quiet retreat, a space to entertain or even an office away from the hustle and bustle of your home.

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