There are some homes with basements in Oklahoma, but most do not have them. It would seem to be a good idea to have basements in a state that is notorious for its tornado activity every year. Despite this, basements are rare due to the dampness of the soil in much of the state. With advances in technology, it is possible now to build basements, but only in newly constructed homes.
The soil in Oklahoma has a lot of moisture in it. Some areas have a lot of clay, which just increases the dampness of the soil. This dampness seeps into anything that is underground, including housing foundations, storm cellars and basements. If you have ever been in a basement that smells damp or moldy, it is probably because the soil surrounding it is damp. This is the case in Oklahoma, where water leaks, mold and fungus are all possible hazards when building a basement due to the amount of moisture.
Because of the dampness of the soil, water pressure can build up and put a strain on buildings, especially ones underground such as basements. Even the thickest concrete walls that are well-constructed and strong can still give way to water pressure, particularly if that water pressure has been over a long period of time. During rainy seasons like in the spring, the soil becomes more saturated, leading to an increase in the pressure. If the walls of a basement give way, this means the foundation is no longer sound, which means the entire house can be a hazard.
Over time, all of the horror stories about homes with basements that rotted, had leaks or otherwise damaged a property led many to believe that it was unwise to build a basement in Oklahoma. At the time, this was the correct thinking. But advances in technology, particularly waterproofing, now make it possible to build a basement in Oklahoma. As concrete walls are poured for basements, they are coated in waterproof polymers and allowed to dry, making them waterproof.
Though these new polymers are a new approach to building basements in Oklahoma, they are not without cost. Traditionally, a basement was a cheap form of storage that cost a fraction of the cost of building storage above ground. But when you factor in the engineering and special equipment involved in waterproofing a basement in Oklahoma, the cost may be too much for some homeowners. Many would rather have a traditional house with no basement and spend those extra dollars somewhere else. On the other hand, basements can provide more energy efficiency because they are cheaper to heat and cool than above-ground spaces. Homes with basements also may take up less land.
- Photo Credit irina88w/iStock/Getty Images
How to Build Your Own Basement
If your basement is an unfinished, damp and shadowy place, consider finishing it by building a basement room that can be used...
Can You Put Laminate Flooring in Your Basement?
Laminate flooring offers a homeowner the look and feel of more expensive flooring with easy installation and little or no maintenance. In...
How to Build a Basement Closet
Many homeowners look to increase their home's storage space by adding extra closets in the basement. Maximize your basement space by building...
How to Build a Waterproof Basement
Basements are used for storage, exercise and playrooms, and even for living spaces. If a basement is not constructed properly, it can...
How to Buy a Storm Shelter in Oklahoma
Projects funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency have shown that taking cover in storm shelters during tornadic events saves lives, but...
How to Build a Poor Man's Storm Shelter
A storm shelter is an area where you go to protect yourself against torrential weather conditions. Underground bunkers are strong structures for...
How to Estimate the Cost of Finishing a Basement
Finishing a basement can add square footage and increase the value of the home. To estimate the cost of finishing your basement,...
Do Split-Level Houses Have Basements?
Split-level houses have living room and kitchen space on a lower level, with bedrooms and accompanying bathrooms on a higher level. The...
Are Suspended Ceilings OK Above a Shower in the Basement?
Suspended ceilings are ceilings of choice for many basements because they allow easy access to the wiring, plumbing and mechanical elements that...
Egress Window Ideas
In the event of an emergency, such as a fire or forced entry, an egress window may be used to escape from...
Why I Need a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is a device that uses fans or turbines to pull moisture out of the air, lowering the humidity of an...