Are there basements in North Carolina?
Do you wonder why there are so few basements in North Carolina and the Triangle? There are basements, just not many. Most are walk out with doors and windows. Our soil is heavy clay and doesn’t drain well and the frost line is shallow so builders don’t need to go deep with the foundation footings.
Watch the video below to find out more, if you would rather read about it, see the video transcription below.
Here is the transcript of the video:
Hi. I’m Marianne Howell Wright from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. When
people come to North Carolina, often they’re really surprised that we can’t
have many basements here. Basements aren’t typically done in our area for
The first reason is our heavy clay soil. Clay particles
are really small and won’t let the water drain away from the house. An
underground basement would be really wet. It would almost be like the house
was sitting in a swimming pool.
Also, in the North you have to go down pretty deep to do your foundation
to get below the frost line. In North Carolina we only need to go down 18
inches, while up in New England you’d need to go down as much as 5 or 6
feet and it’s just not as cost effective here to do a basement.
Builders will do basements on sloped lots. In North Carolina, we tend to call
a sloped lot a basement lot. The slope allows for the water to be carried
away from the house.
This is a poured concrete foundation basement and poured
concrete is much more popular than the masonry brick and block that was
done in the past. Carlos is just going to tell me why.
Carlos:It’s a lot better
Marianne: It is? What makes it better?
Carlos: You got rebar every 16 inches on the center. 3,000 PSI
Marianne: The basement put on a slope will have drain tiles and gravel all
the way around the foundation to carry the water away from the house.
This is the house framed up and this is the back, just to show you what the
basement would look like when it’s framed.
I hope that helps to explain why basements aren’t common in the triangle area of North Carolina.
Marianne Howell Wright. Be sure and watch my other neighborhood videos on my Youtube channel
Homes for sale with basements in Raleigh
By Marianne Howell Wright