Tips & Articles
Planning to build a bungalow? The ground beneath your feet is bursting with potential. A basement can add valuable living space to a bungalow floor plan, especially one of the walkout variety.
There are numerous benefits of a bungalow with a walkout basement: more natural light, more privacy, and, of course, more room! We’ll explore these benefits in more detail and explain how to choose a lot for a walkout basement.
Benefits of a Bungalow with a Walkout Basement
A walkout basement has one or more walls with full-size windows and a door that ‘walks out’ to level ground. Typically, the open side of a walkout basement faces the backyard, though some bungalows have a street-facing walkout basement housing a garage.
Bungalows with a walkout basement have a unique visual appeal. The house fits seamlessly into the surrounding topography rather than resting on a single flat grade. From one angle, a home appears as a cozy, single-story dwelling; from another, the walkout basement gives the illusion of vertical height.
Walkout basements add a lot of habitable space. Since the windows provide ample daylight, homeowners can readily furnish the basement like the rest of the house, using it as more than a place to store things. It’s great for adding square footage to a bungalow without expanding upward or outward.
The separate entrance of a walkout basement is ideal for creating an in-law suite or a basement apartment. Walkout basements can add a lot of value to a bungalow due to the added living space and potential for rental income.
Not only are they comfortable and convenient, but the benefits of a walkout basement even extend to energy efficiency! A walkout basement takes advantage of the thermal insulation of the ground on one side and the passive heating provided by windows on the other. They are easier to keep warm in the winter and less prone to the ‘wet basement’ effect in the humid summer.
To summarize, the benefits of a bungalow with a walkout basement include:
- The visual appeal of a house nestled into the hillside
- Additional living space
- Lots of natural light
- Potential for a basement apartment or in-law suite
- Energy efficiency
How to Choose a Lot for a Walkout Basement
To create a walkout basement, construction of the home takes place on a half-excavated hillside, with level ground at the top of the hill and the landing of the walkout basement. The ideal lot for a bungalow with a walkout basement is one with a gradual slope from the front to the back of the lot. The slope should be at least seven to eight feet in elevation.
Builders can increase or reduce the size or grade of the slope through excavation and grade work, but this may increase the cost of building the house. For steep slopes, it may be necessary to construct retaining walls to prevent erosion.
The properties of the soil are another factor. It can be a problem if variations in soil cause the upper part of the foundation to settle at a different rate from the lower part. Some builders advise again building a bungalow with a walkout basement on expansive clay soils or other materials that raise moisture concerns.