day light for basement window

What is a Daylight Basement

What is a Daylight Basement

A common definition of a daylight basement is a basement with at least one full-sized window that lets in daylight. It also depends on who you ask. For example, some suggest a true daylight basement has windows on one or two fully exposed exterior walls, which lets in the maximum amount of light. At the same time, others believe that a daylight basement is the same as a walkout basement. We’ll discuss the differences later.

The rise in popularity of homes with basements occurred in the 1950s. Back then, basements were more commonly seen in newly built homes, which later were remodeled by the owners themselves and finished with concrete floors, which were an improvement from the dirt floors of the past.

Throughout the years, it has been a tradition for some people to host their holiday parties in the basement. Finished basements that were suitably set up for entertaining and typically included extra seating, a kitchen, and at least a half bath.

Was it the need for extra space because so many people of that time had their parents and/or in-laws living with them? Or could it be that basements (especially in the Midwest) are cooler and more conducive to working in a hot kitchen for hours? We could continue to add to the list, and even though it seemed like everyone had a grandma cooking “underground,” the basements of their days were not the basements we commonly see today.

The necessity of ensuring that special space is clean and free of water leaks is still essential and has not changed.

For homes built in the early 1920s, basements were never intended as extra living space; they were conceived as the business end of the house, a place for the oil burner, water heater, and possibly the wash tubs when the weather was too cold to take a bath in the back yard.

Today, we call these utility basements, where housing mechanical systems of a building take place, including HVAC units, water heaters, electrical panels, or plumbing infrastructure. It is not used for living or recreational purposes.

Some other types of basements could include:

  • Full basement: Covers the entire footprint of the house and can be used for various purposes, such as additional living space, storage, or utility rooms.
  • Partial basement: Covers a portion of the house footprint. It may be used for specific purposes like storage or utility rooms, while the rest of the area may be crawl spaces or slab foundations.
  • Walkout basement: Has an exterior door or access to the outside, usually at ground level. It allows for easy entry and exit, making it suitable for additional living space or creating an apartment-like setup.
  • Daylight basement: Partially above ground, allowing natural light to enter through windows or doors. It is typically built on a sloping lot or hillside and can be used as living space, recreation areas, or bedrooms.
  • English or Garden basement: This type of basement has larger windows located partially above the ground level, allowing ample natural light to enter. It is usually used as a living space or a recreational area.
  • Finished basement: Any type of basement transformed into a usable living space or rooms, such as bedrooms, entertainment areas, home offices, or gyms.
  • Unfinished basement: A basement that has not been renovated or finished and is primarily used for storage, housing mechanical systems, or as a laundry area.
  • Cellar: Typically found in older homes or buildings, a cellar is a basement used for storing food, wine, or other perishable items. It is usually cooler and more humid than other types of basements.

Daylight basement vs walkout basement pros and cons

The main difference between a daylight basement and a walkout basement relates to doors and windows. A daylight basement typically includes full-sized windows that let in “daylight” and naturally brighten up the basement space. Still, it typically does NOT include an exterior door on the ground level.

A daylight basement is an excellent option if your site has no drastic slope and you do not want to spend extra on excavation costs but still want some natural light. If your slope allows, and you want to maximize your basement space, then a walkout basement would make the most sense.

A common area to see walkout basements is in homes on lakes. For example, in the “Lake’s area” of Oakland County, Michigan, there are over 41,000 lakefront homes. Some have basements because the slope to the lake makes sense; however, some do not because the water table is much too high.

It’s also common for the older homes that are still standing not to have basements either, as they were initially cottages. In fact, in White Lake Township, on Oxbow Lake, there are still three homes that are cottages, and one doesn’t even have a bathroom, let alone a basement!

How do I protect my walkout basement from flooding?

Over time, basements in Michigan might have their original protections fail as soil erodes, cement cracks, foundations move, and barriers fail. Poor maintenance and ignoring early signs of basement water penetration aggravate the problem. Acting quickly with a proven and patented solution from SAS Services, Inc. will save you money in the long run and protect your investment.

There are many methods for waterproofing a basement, but some of the most popular methods include the following:

  1. Installing a drain tile system
  2. Installing an internal French drain
  3. Using polymers and membranes to coat the exterior of the walls
  4. Installing a trench drain underground

Selecting the right basement waterproofing contractor to let into your home is a significant decision. SAS Services, Inc., along with our patented basement waterproofing solutions, respects you and your home. We only use ethical sales practices and honor warranties and guarantees without hassle. All of our staff follow clear rules of respect, responsibility, and integrity. We treat you the way we’d want our own families treated. We service our residential and commercial customers throughout Wayne, Macomb, Oakland Counties, and beyond.

What is a daylight basement

In conclusion, a daylight basement is a basement that includes at least one full-sized window open to the exterior with the window being above ground level, or it can also be below ground level with a window well. Some daylight basements may include a door; however, it would not exit onto ground level like a walkout basement would.

Many of today’s newer homes feature a daylight basement as an attractive feature since they almost always provide ample living space that’s finished, livable, and bright, not the dark, dreary basements of yesterday.

Always remember to contact a professional basement restoration/waterproofing company, as they can provide expert advice on preventing flooding and ensuring the basement is adequately waterproofed moving forward.

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