Why North Carolina Homes Don’t Have Basements

Have you ever noticed that houses in North Carolina do not have basements? Maybe you have not, but after reading this article, you will certainly understand why.

North Carolina homes do not have basements because of the water table, the soil, and the climate. The South, specifically North Carolina, is known for its humidity and moisture. With moisture comes mold and wet soil, so it makes basements in North Carolina tricky and dangerous. 

If not done correctly, basements can be very unsafe. So if you are thinking of building a home in North Carolina, continue to read this article so you will know exactly what to expect and look for on your plot of land if you are wanting a basement.

What’s a Water Table and Why Isn’t It Good for Basements?

A water table is a boundary between the water-saturated ground and the unsaturated ground. In simpler terms, a water table shows where the ground gets wet from the rain and where the ground stays dry.

North Carolina has a small water table, which means your backyard is easier to flood. This is especially a problem if you live near a creek, pond, or lake, which is common in North Carolina.

It is easy to find wetlands in North Carolina, so having a basement can be dangerous. When the ground is wet, it moves easier and can become a hazard.

When the ground is constantly wet, it creates moisture that leads to mold or mildew. Having a basement in these conditions will lead to mold, which is expensive to fix and dangerous to live around.

Flooding issues and mold are just two reasons why a basement in North Carolina might not be a good idea.

Hot, Sticky, Humidity isn’t Good Either

Building off the idea of moisture, another reason to not have a basement in North Carolina is the humidity.

While the ground is wet, so is the air in North Carolina. Basements can attract unwanted moisture with North Carolina’s climate, which makes a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and water damage.

It is almost impossible to keep mold away if your basement is moist, which is almost a given when you live in North Carolina. Even if your basement is finished, the humid conditions of North Carolina encourage the growth of mold and other bacteria.

Even just a little bit of moisture is unsafe when it comes to the structure of your home.

Bad Dirt and Soil for Foundation

In other areas of the country, the soil is more conducive to the digging of basements. The soil in North Carolina is more like clay, so it is heavy and hard to dig in.

The heavy soil also does not drain well, so it leads to more moisture issues for your basement.

Sometimes your yard will be on bedrock, which is much more expensive to build a basement, so North Carolina’s ground conditions are not great for building a basement.

Also, the constant cycle of rain and sunshine in North Carolina makes the soil expand and contract differently, which is not a great foundation for a house, especially a basement.

Frost Line is Not Deep Enough

The frost line is the maximum depth in the ground which the soil does not freeze in the winter.

There are regulations where builders legally cannot build the foundation of a home below the frost line. In the North, this is fine, because the frost line is 6-8 feet. But when it comes to the South, the frost line is only 18 inches deep.

If builders build the foundation below the frost line, the foundation can be unstable, which is very dangerous for the home.

Since basements are below the first level, the builders will have to dig deep into the ground (as basements usually require a depth of eight feet) it is almost impossible to build a basement in North Carolina, because of the frost line.

Despite This, Is It Possible to Have a Basement in North Carolina?

Even though there are all of these reasons to not have a basement in your North Carolina home, it is still possible to have a basement in North Carolina.

If you are building a new home in North Carolina, you can have your contractor waterproof your basement. The process will cost more, but you would be able to have a basement in North Carolina.

Older homes do not have the level of protection needed to build a basement, so it is much easier to add a basement if you are completely building a new home.

Some Alternatives to Basements

If you are needing more space for your North Carolina home, here are some alternatives to basements.

  • Finished attic
  • Storage sheds
  • Screened-in porch
  • Garage

If you are needing storage space for decorations, suitcases, or whatever else you have, storage sheds and garages are great options for you.

You can buy a storage shed at your local hardware store or you could easily build one in your backyard for your specific needs.

A garage is something you could either add-on to the house or have a detached garage for storage. It does not even need to be for your car. You can use it for any sort of storage you would need!

For more space for your family and friends to hang out, a screened-in porch or a finished attic is a great idea!

Screened-in porches are nice because usually a North Carolina house will already have a deck, so you just need to add the screening and roofing. This style of porch is convenient in North Carolina because it keeps out the pests and bugs.

Since a screened-in porch is protected from the weather, you can put out furniture for you and your loved ones to sit outside and enjoy each other and the nice weather.

Finishing an attic is a bigger project, but it can almost double the space of your home, so if you are needing more space, this may be the option for you.

It is always easier and less expensive to build up rather than dig into the North Carolina ground.

We hope you find this post helpful!

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Mackenzie Jiminez

Hello! I'm Mackenzie, but I usually go by Kenzie. My hobbies are reading and writing. If I had to pick a favorite genre, it would be fantasy. I love writing on suggested by locals so I can share about the places I've lived.

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