Prior to roughly 1940, when individuals were building homes in Oregon, they had frequently come West and built what they were accustomed with. Houses built prior to 1940 in the Portland region, including even here in Lake Oswego, typically include a basement. These pre-1940 basements are unheated areas of the home used for storage, but they also provide protection from the elements for things like a water tank or other equipment.
Since then, most homeowners in Oregon have been given the option to build with an attached garage or not. Some people may choose to add on instead, which is when they build a second story or third story. A few more adventurous homeowners will even build a fourth floor!
Most homeowners in Oregon who can afford them will hire a professional architect to design their house. The architect will take into account any existing structures on the property, such as a shed or barn, and make sure that it doesn't interfere with future improvements. They will also help select natural materials for the exterior of the home, since wood is often chosen as opposed to concrete or steel. Finally, the architect will pick the location for any driveway entrances, sidewalks, and other amenities.
In general, houses in Oregon are designed with an attached garage because this allows room for parking cars safely away from the house.
Basements were common in Pacific Northwest homes built in the 1960s and earlier. Newer construction does not. Most California homes do not, either. Basements are expensive to build and maintain, so they are used only for special projects or when necessary to hold a lot line.
Basements are excavated areas below the level of the house. They usually extend down to solid rock or concrete, but sometimes they are open at the bottom. A basement can be used as an extra room by itself or it can serve as a utility room, laundry room, or storage area.
Basements are useful for homeowners who like to stay active outdoors even during the winter months. They can be finished to create a comfortable living space with flooring and furniture or they can be left unfinished for use as additional storage or a workshop. Either way, a basement is an excellent way to add value to your home and make life more convenient for you and your family.
Basement doors are usually closed up after they are not being used so nothing will go missing or fall into them. The door may have a lock if it's not used often. Some families keep their basement clean and use it occasionally for storing things out of sight. Other families let it become a mess so they can use it as a storage room.
Due to the additional cost of excavating deeper into the subsoil and the demand for considerably deeper foundations and waterproof tanking, practically all new homes built in the United Kingdom since the 1960s have no cellar or basement. Some older buildings may have had cellars that were used as storage space or for other purposes, but these are now mostly used as garages or playrooms for children.
In Britain, houses are usually built on solid ground without any excavation. If a house does not have a basement, then it is called a "ground-floor" building. Basements are found only in certain types of buildings such as factories, warehouses, schools, hospitals, and prisons. The word "basement" comes from Latin bassus, meaning "low" or "deep". In English, this level part of a building is called the "cellar" or the "lower court".
In France, Germany, and Switzerland, houses often have cellars or basements due to the popularity of gardening and home improvement projects such as woodworking and painting. These rooms are used for storing tools, materials, and even bicycles!
In North America, most houses have basements because they are needed to comply with local building codes requiring fire separation between the first and second floors. A floor-to-ceiling wall (or drywall) divides the basement into two levels.
Some houses in warmer climates do not have basements because they are unnecessary (although many still prefer them). The foundation in cooler areas must be below the frost line. Backfilling the surrounding dirt around basement walls may be required to return the soil to grade. This is called "backfilling".
In addition, foundations can be more expensive than floors can be raised. A house with a concrete foundation can cost up to $150,000 or more. A house with a steel-reinforced concrete foundation can run as much as $500,000 or more. Conventional brick homes usually cost $100,000-$200,000 while traditional stone homes can range in price from $300,000 to $1 million or more.
Basements are useful for storing materials that will deteriorate if not kept out of the weather, such as wood furniture and boxes full of old papers. Basements are also good places for a family to hang out together and enjoy each other's company without being seen by outsiders.
However, not all houses in warm climates have basements. Houses built before 1920 often had wooden frames covered with shingles or asphalt shingles instead. These roofs cannot be used for basements because they lack the necessary supporting beams and joists needed for a floor to be laid down.
Cellars are typically found in rural or older homes on the coastlines and in the South in North America. Full basements, on the other hand, are typical in new homes in the Canadian and American Midwest, as well as other places prone to tornado activity or needing foundations below the frost line. They are also common in Australia.
Basements are often used as legal parking spaces or storage rooms. In some cases, they may be completely empty. However, a basement is still considered to be a part of the house that can be lived in, so most cities do not require permits for renovations or home additions that affect the floor space of a basement.
Most basements are dry, although some may contain a water tank for irrigation or drinking water. Some homes with basements will have a hose leading from a kitchen sink down to the garden. This is called a "wet basement" and should never be used for anything important like an emergency shelter because of the risk of flooding. Wet basements are common in areas where it does not rain for many years at a time. The soil beneath these homes can become saturated during heavy rains, causing damage to property values if the situation isn't remedied before selling the house.
The average household income in Alberta is $60,000, which means half of Alberta households cannot afford a basement. In fact, nearly one in five households in Alberta live below the poverty line.