What are Unexcavated Basements and What They Mean

In today’s post, I’m going to explore basements and how you can go about excavating them in your own house.

We will look at typical costs and who you should consult before getting started on a major construction project

. In fact, some of these tips will save you lots of money and help you figure out what to do with your unexcavated space. Let’s dive right in!

What Exactly is an Unexcavated Basement?

The basement is the base of the existing house, meaning that the walls of the basement hold up the main structures of the rest of the house.

Sometimes, basements are mud, meaning the basement area below the structure has been dug out but has not been enclosed or reinforced.

An unfinished basement falls under this category. However, a partial basement that includes windows is usually converted to a room that is indistinguishable from the living area above.

Some partial basements are completely below-ground, and others are dug out like daylight.

For example, a fully underground basement (full basement) might not be a good idea for living areas or bedrooms, since most homeowners would rather have windows in those types of spaces.

The Other is a popular type of underground excavation for building homes because it allows for one or more sides of a basement to be partly or fully above ground.

Excavating allows the contractor access to the walls of the basement so that they can be repaired, restored, or improved in some way.

A Milwaukee basement contractor will have to clear dirt around basement walls (in the dirt crawl space) in order to fully have access to them for the repairs or improvement to take place.

Times When You Have To Excavate Your Basement

There are situations where you are left with no choice but to excavate your basement. Here are a few common reasons for this type of project to be required:

When the Foundation Is Destroyed

Any structure’s foundation is the basement.

When the building begins, it is the first to be dug up. It’s no surprise that the basement walls support the main structure because it’s the building’s anchor.

Shifts in the soil, erosion, poor construction process, and other factors might cause the walls to sink.

When one or more of the walls adjusts its position, the structure of your building may be damaged, necessitating repairs.

To make repairs possible, both the inside and external sides of the wall must be worked on.

This is required to safeguard your property’s structural integrity and keep them in good condition. Also, keep in mind that the soil type doesn’t really matter.

When the Walls Are in Bad Shape

Some outside basement walls are in bad condition due to weathering and the passage of time, and some have never been waterproofed or weatherized.

It’s possible that inferior-grade materials were utilized to save money on other walls.

These are often less durable and must be strengthened, reinforced, or, in certain cases, completely replaced with new materials.

To remove the soil from around the basement walls, you’ll need the help of a basement contractor.

This is so you may have complete access to them and ensure that the repair or upgrade work is completed effectively.

When Should Your Basement Be Waterproofed?

If you’re thinking about upgrading your basement space, your only option might be to start with waterproofing it.

You may waterproof it in a number of ways, one of which is to apply a coating or liner to the outer walls of your basement.

Because the walls must be in good shape for this operation, they may need to be replaced before waterproofing can begin.

Excavation is required around the whole perimeter of your home so that they may be accessible and repaired as needed.

After you’ve completed this stage, you may touch up the interior of your basement and turn it into the area you’ve always wanted.

A skilled basement contractor may make repairs and adjustments to the external walls of your basement using a variety of ways.

In the long run, excavation isn’t always necessary; in certain circumstances, the interior walls can easily be accessible from the inside.

The contractor can come to your house and check your basement thoroughly.

The recommendations a contractor has for your space might provide a lot of helpful insight during that initial visit.

Why Your Basement Needs To Be Excavated

We will discuss more details about why you might need your basement walls to be dug out below, but it is a necessary step to perform some critical repairs on the basement floor and foundation.

In addition to being a necessary step when building your new home or building your facility, basement wall repairs, foundation repairs, and basement waterproofing can all need to be done with foundation excavating.

Excavation may be required in order to prepare the basement for the new construction of a home or other structure.

If you require a basement wall or foundation excavation for your home, this means that we will need to gain access outside of your basement walls.

The process of digging out your basement walls requires the removal of soil from around your basement walls in order to reveal the entire length of the walls.

You must use the proper methods for basement excavation, which creates the foundations which support your buildings.

If the house needs foundation work, you might have to dig underneath the house or into the basement in order to do that work.

When you are ready to build a new house, you will have to excavate to pour a foundation and construct the basement.

To greatly cut down on excavation costs, a basement should be excavated before any portion of the structure is built.

If the person’s wish is for a cellar or extra room, then excavation depths may be increased for laying out a cellar, in order that both a cellar and a foundation may be established simultaneously.

The excavating contractor will excavate down to the center of the basement, and pour concrete along the perimeter, with 45-degree angles between the new floor and the base of the foundation.

The Island Method starts with building out the center of the basement first, then when you excavate out the basement, you will press the soil up against the sides of the walls to create a slope.

With the island method, when you excavate the basement, excess material is used to create steep slopes on the walls of your foundation, giving it the support it needs.

The ground level of flooring is installed right over the place the basement is going to be before the basement is ever excavated.

Typically, digging the basement is the first phase of construction, since excavated materials are moved around, leaving an opening in the earth in which a home’s basement will be built.

Excavating soil for a basement foundation is more than simply using heavy machinery to dig a large hole into the earth and pour in cement.

Basement excavation is considerably more difficult, requiring an experienced excavation contractor that can get down in the dirt and carry out excavated materials without damaging the foundation, footing, or joists of the building.

While a “top-down” approach is an excellent approach for urban areas, you will have to hire a specialized excavation company for the technique as careful skills are needed to dig into the basement after constructing a concrete floor level or whole building site.

This method of digging is costly, but is actually more flexible than the top-down excavation method, as it allows you to construct an upper level of a building simultaneously with a basement being dug.

A good basement contractor, such as Renew Basement Foundation LLC, will use multiple methods for making repairs to the walls in your basement.

Keep in mind, that in order to waterproof your basement, you need to dig a trench that is 7-8 feet deep, and doing this on your own is no small undertaking.

Arguably the best way to solve wet basements is to excavate the soil around your foundation outside, waterproof your walls, and install new sump drains.

If you are building an entirely new foundation wall, this is not as big of an issue since you will have easier access to create an excellent water-proofing system, but if you are keeping the existing foundation and creating a new one within the old, then you have more complicated water-proofing issues which might make digging out not the best approach.


Q: Has anyone excavated their basement for extra headroom?

A: Our specialists have assisted in the raising of a house, and it may be less expensive than digging your basement.

When you do it in Canada, it has a benefit since the extra space in the basement qualifies as habitable space and is added to the total square feet or square footage, increasing the market value of your home.

However, it is not always the extra room that qualifies the basement as a storage space. In the event of a fire, it serves as a means of escape.

As long as there’s a route out, 8ft ceilings are OK. However, elevating the home rather than digging makes more sense.

In most states, the minimum headspace requirement is between 7 and 712 feet (which most basements are already built to).

However, egress is generally one of the most important elements in deciding whether or not a basement section may be used as a living space.

You’ll need to dig out a window and replace it with one that is large enough and has rungs or something similar.

Section R305 of the International Residential Code (which is the foundation for municipal codes in 95 percent of the United States) prescribes a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet for inhabited rooms.


As you can see, it’s a complex process that requires some careful planning.

Check state regulations and make sure you have a building permit before making any drastic changes to your basement.

Hire civil engineers or specifically a structural engineer so you can have a structural analysis done.

The average cost for excavating your basement is between $20,000 to $150,000 depending on the scope of the home improvement project.

We hope you found this article useful and are now well informed about what unexcavated basements are all about. If you have any queries then feel free to leave them below.

We will get back to you as soon as we can!

by Richard Kelly

Having experienced significant success as a house flipper, I am often approached with questions about all things home improvement. That’s why I decided to start this site. My objective is to share all of the insights I have accumulated over the years so other people can design the homes of their dreams.