A home with a walkout basement has its advantages. Building steps leading down into the basement and having a door to connect your basement to the outside will add convenience. You may need to carry groceries or gardening supplies in and out of your home. A driveway area near the exterior door of the basement will facilitate loading and unloading of boxes, tools and camping equipment.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Sketch pad and pencil
- Graph paper
- Home design books
- Online floor plans
- Photo of property terrain
- Building contractor for advice
Create a floor plan to accommodate a set of basement stairs and a door in the basement to walk out into the yard area, Examine your property to see if you can position a basement walkout door on the lower side of a slopped yard. You can dig away dirt to make an exit space for the basement, but it's easier to design the house by working with a natural land slope.
Figure out if you want to build a drive-under garage as part of your house plans. Install a walkout door right beside the garage roll-up door because that wall of the basement will not be underground. Design a ramp to slope down to a walkout door if your property is flat or install a set of steps to be built inside a walled-off area.
Use graph paper to lay out a floor plan that will place basement stairs near the kitchen or in a hallway close to the kitchen. Allow one square of graph paper to represent 6 inches of real space. Basement stairs close to the kitchen have been a preference in home floor plans for the past 50 years. Design the stairs to be away from sleeping areas so walking up and down will not disturb anyone in the bedroom areas.
Consider where to place the exterior door of the basement, since you must consider safety issues. Place the door to come out in a well-lit area you can view from a first floor window area, so that family members can watch out for each other when it's dark outside. Curtail burglaries as well by placing the walkout door where neighbours can view that general area when you're not home.
Designing the basement steps to descend to an area close to the walkout basement door will save steps in bringing groceries into the home from a lower driveway. You can take out trash or transport gardening supplies down basement steps and outside through the walkout door easily if you don't have to travel the whole length of your basement to do so.
Tips and warnings
- Build basement steps at least 42 inches wide, say experts at the National Association of Home Builders. If you have room, make the basement steps 48 inches wide. This will allow you to bring in furniture you've purchased through the basement door and up into the house more easily.
- Buy a steel door with a heavy deadbolt lock to install in the basement walkout area. Install an exterior light with a motion detector next to the door. A steel door will help prevent break-ins, but buy doors with only very small window panes or you will defeat the purpose of having a steel door.
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