Basement Bottom Line: Adding Living Space and Resale Value

January 21, 2008 // Franchising.com // NEW HOLLAND, PA. – You store the holiday decorations there. You have laundry facilities there. But, are you actually living in your basement?

Seen as a high-value feature of a new home, basements have moved a long way 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. What makes this evolution possible? The move toward using custom-designed foundations that make the basement warm, dry, bright and livable.

"We've created and installed more than 85,000 custom-designed, damp proof foundations for homes nationwide during the past 26 years," says Aaron Schoeneberger, director of market development for Superior Walls®. "These pre-cast insulated foundation systems help homeowners save on energy bills and allow them to fully utilize their basement space as functioning, integrated and comfortable living areas in the home."

Trending Towards Basements

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 person'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 Schoeneberger. "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® extruded polystyrene 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.

Available nationwide through franchises in 26 states, more than 85,000 Superior Walls foundations have been installed since 1981 when the company introduced the original R-5 Superior Walls precast foundation system. For more information, call 1-800-452-9255 or visit www.superiorwalls.com.

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