Underground Extensions

If you want to increase the square footage of your home, have you considered digging deep for the extra space? Underground extensions are becoming a popular addition to homes in the UK. Phil Spencer tells us exactly why.

A basement extension offers an underground hideaway below your own home, and to Phil Spencer, the true beauty of an underground extension lies in the fact that the external appearance of your property will not have changed.
‘The beauty of well-planned underground development is that because it is beneath your house or garden, no one will realise that anything has occurred,’ explains Phil.
If your property allows, you may decide to extend an existing basement or cellar to give it a fresh lease of life, or perhaps you are starting from scratch and creating a whole new floor for your property. Whether you are lacking space and need an extra bedroom or simply want a chic new space to entertain guests, an underground extension can completely transform your property, add to its value and most importantly make it a more pleasant place to live.

Add value
An underground extension is a great way to create space in your property without reducing the size of your garden. This is particularly useful for houses in urban areas where there is a limited amount of outdoor space. In the city, if you are able to extend your property without losing garden space, your home is sure to go up in value.

Let there be light
For many, the mental image of a basement is a dark and dingy room at the bottom of some rickety stairs, but that is no longer the case. There are now plenty of different ways to allow light to reach the lower floors of a property, both natural and artificial. A great way to brighten up an underground space is to install a light well, which allows natural light and fresh air to enter from the glass dome or plate above ground. For a less costly way to add light, artificial lighting—which is now better quality than ever before—could be the answer. Alternatively, you may benefit from installing a Solatube, which pipes light through a reflective tube from the outside.

Planning is paramount
When choosing to have an underground extension, it’s extremely important to know exactly what you want and to plan it carefully. Not only will this stop you from wasting unnecessary money, it will ensure you get the best out of your renovation.
‘There is nothing worse than a wasted opportunity to best use space, so think how you will use the space now and in five years’ time,’ says Phil.
It’s also a good idea to be forward thinking and take into account how potential buyers in years to come would use the space. As well as this, part of the planning process is deciding, realistically, if all the effort and money spent will be worth it in the long run. If it’s not going to be cost effective for your family, it may not be worth the large amount of work that it involves.

Counting the cost
Converting an existing basement is significantly cheaper than starting an underground development from scratch. This is because a large portion of the cost is down to the amount of soil that has to be lifted away. Prices are generally around £300 per square foot if you’re beginning a new project—less if you’re adding onto an existing basement. However, underground extensions can be seen as a great investment, especially if you are trying to add value to your home.

See also:
How to Increase the Value of Your Home
The Smart Sell: The Golden Rules for Selling Your Property

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