NEW HOLLAND, Pa.
— Builders looking to meet the needs of homebuyers should start looking below ground level when constructing new homes.
According to the “What 21st Century Home Buyers Want” survey of customer preferences conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, the inclusion of basements in new homes has been on an upward rise since 2000. Homes being built on slabs are declining, as homeowners find more value in basements both during their occupancy of the home and at the time of resale.
“There’s nothing like a well-insulated basement that can serve as valuable living space to pop the eyes open of a potential homebuyer,” says Tina Fountain of Tina Fountain, Realtors in Atlanta, Georgia. “You can see the wheels start turning in a homebuyer’s mind as they quickly calculate what they can do with the ‘bonus space.’ A good basement takes the pressure off the other living areas in the home and opens up a world of possibilities for potential homebuyers.”
The same survey by NAHB indicates that married couples with children and high-income households are generally looking for a full basement. What features are potential buyers looking for in a basement? Energy efficiency, natural light and outdoor access.
“These days selecting energy efficient products is a strong and growing trend in all aspects of construction,” says Jim Costello, president of Superior Walls. “In the basement, that means requesting a foundation system with reinforced concrete wall panels with a significant amount of insulation to help reduce energy bills.”
At Superior Walls, Xi™ wall panels are constructed with a concrete face shell, backed by 2-1/2-inches of DOW® Styrofoam™ insulation. In addition, the steel reinforced concrete walls create a permanent barrier against sidewall water penetration, making the home damp proof.
Each Superior Walls panel is custom made to the specifications of an individual home, including built-in openings for windows and doors. Pre-engineered access for wiring or small plumbing elements along with smart stud facing for easy drywall installation are included and help speed up the installation process. Foundation systems generally install in a day or less by certified installation crews, making it possible for builders to begin construction within 24 hours.
Old Basements Vs. New Basements
Seen as a high-value feature of a new home, basements have advanced significantly since the time of low ceilings, cobwebs and damp areas. While the basements in today’s homes may still be used for storage and laundry, you’re more apt to find them converted into true living spaces --- serving as bonus rooms, children’s play areas and home offices.
“Builders can set themselves apart by thinking ahead to maximize the basement area of a home,” says Costello. “We’ve created and installed thousands of custom-designed, damp proof foundations for homes nationwide during the past three decades. These pre-cast insulated foundation systems help homeowners save on energy bills and allow them to fully utilize their basement space as functioning and comfortable living areas in the home.
“Including a warm, dry basement in new home construction is a positive step builders can take to set themselves apart from the competition in the current housing market. In many locations, an integrated basement that serves as additional living space is a key factor to the success of a builder.”