Should Your Dream House Include a Basement?

When building a custom home, many design choices are obvious from the start. However, there’s a crucial decision often overlooked in the initial planning: whether to include a basement.

At Falcon Alaska, we craft homes that meet your needs and exceed your expectations. We’ll design and build a structure that best suits your property.

Incorporating a basement into your floor plan can maximize your living space and enhance your property’s value and functionality. Is building a basement the right choice for your new home? Here’s what to consider:

Ensure a Basement Is Feasible for Your Property

The land you build on determines whether you can include a basement in your Alaska custom home design.

Much of Alaska is situated over permafrost, a layer of permanently frozen soil. Constructing a basement on permafrost is generally considered too risky, as heat generated by the house can thaw the frozen ground and cause uneven settling and structural damage.

Even where permafrost isn’t present, freeze-thaw cycles can lead to frost heave, where the ground pushes upward, disrupting the foundation and basement’s structural integrity.

Traditional basements aren’t feasible in Alaska. If you want a home with a basement, an ideal lot will be sloped with views.

Types of Basements Falcon Designs & Builds

Our design/build firm can integrate a basement that follows the natural contours of your property.

Daylight Basement

Sometimes referred to as a lookout basement, a daylight basement is partially underground with one side open to light and access, typically due to the lot’s slope.

Doors and windows on at least one wall allow natural light to flood in, making the space look and feel like it’s above ground.

Walkout Basement

Typically, walkout basements have separate entrances similar to those on the main floor and are built into a slope or hill.

They often include extra bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, and in-law suites and are a terrific way to seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor living areas.

Benefits of Having a Basement

There are many reasons to consider building a home with a basement:

Extra Living Space

One of the greatest advantages of a finished basement is how many possibilities the extra square footage provides:

  1. Home office: If you work from home, the basement can be an excellent location for an office. It offers a secluded and quiet space where you can stay focused and be more productive. Plus, a basement could allow for a more spacious office setup than one on the main level, including a nook for those well-deserved breaks.
  2. Next-level entertaining: Basements naturally lend themselves to becoming ultimate entertainment hubs, where friends and family can enjoy movie nights and game days with plenty of space for everyone.
  3. Second kitchen: An extra, fully equipped kitchen on the lower level is convenient when hosting get-togethers. Some homeowners opt for a smaller kitchen and include a bar or wine cellar.
  4. Home gym: It can be challenging to prioritize fitness, especially if you’re building a home in a location far from a commercial gym. An at-home workout space makes staying fit simple and accessible.

More Storage

Who doesn’t need more storage? A basement lets you store items like outdoor gear and seasonal decorations neatly and out of sight until you need them.

Your main living areas will remain clutter-free, providing a sense of calm and order that enhances your home’s comfort and aesthetics.

Enhanced Energy Efficiency

Every home Falcon builds has an airtight building envelope because we know the importance of efficiency.

An unfinished basement can make your home less efficient, but a well-insulated basement keeps heated air inside, helping regulate the rest of the home’s temperature for optimal efficiency.

Incorporating energy-efficient design elements like double-pane windows for natural light also contributes to a more sustainable home.

Misconceptions About Basements

There are several misconceptions surrounding basements that might be causing you some hesitation over whether to include one in your home’s design:

Myth #1: Basements Are Considered Another Story

Most basements are either entirely or partially below ground level. If a house is described as two-story or three-story, that count does not typically include the basement.

Myth #2: Basements Put a Home at Greater Risk Of Moisture & Water Damage

While some basements can be prone to these issues, advanced materials and building techniques have significantly reduced the risks.

Proper waterproofing and maintenance ensure a basement stays dry and free from water damage.

Myth #3: Basements Are Dark & Dreary

Modern basement design includes features that enhance lighting, including larger windows, a light color palette, and strategically placed light fixtures.

These and other design elements can create a well-lit and inviting space that looks and feels just as bright as the rest of the house.

Myth #4: Basements Decrease Resale Value & Increase Property Taxes

A well-constructed basement with quality materials, proper insulation, and professional finishing can improve your home’s resale value.

As to whether a basement’s added square footage will impact your property taxes, the increased functionality and value for your home typically outweigh a slight tax increase.

Start Your Custom Home Build With Falcon Alaska

From an initial meet and greet to project delivery, Falcon Alaska’s design/build process ensures your vision for your custom home is perfectly realized.

If a basement is suitable for your land, we’ll make it a key aspect of your floor plan and customize the space to suit you and your family.

We harmonize functionality and design, managing every step with a keen eye for detail to ensure ultimate satisfaction with your new home.

Request a consultation online or call Falcon at 907-745-3865 for design/build services in Anchorage or the Mat-Su Valley.

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