How much [basement] wall out of the ground?

Discussion in 'Framing and Foundation' started by molder101, May 3, 2009.

  1. May 3, 2009 #1




    New Member

    Jun 18, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I need to submit to my foundation company how far out of the ground I want my basement to be.

    Based on the numbers I was thinking (below), it would be 3 feet out which I'm not sure is too much or not, especially since most of the houses on the street are slab or crawl space.

    6" grade
    2" to bottom of basement window
    20" basement window
    8" header
    36" total

    There isn't much I can do to fool around with the height. The 6" grade is code, but I can drop the 2" so the window would essentially be "right on" the ground.

    I could go with a smaller window (16" or 17") but I really think that the larger one is the way to go.

    The 8" header is required for the superior wall system I am using.

    After thinking about it, it seems the only option I have (if I want to put more of the foundation into the ground) is to put in window wells.

    I guess my question is, what is the benefit to being further off the ground? Is it normal to have a house that is about 30" out of the ground after grading? Does anyone have any recommendations as to what I should do?

  2. May 3, 2009 #2




    Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Apr 14, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I like 12" between the ground & the bottom plate of the wall

    Window wells collect leaves, snow & rain
    If drainage is not a problem then a window well is OK
    I prefer a basement window out of the ground instead of a window well

    I do not have a window header above my basement windows
    The double rim joists act as the header
    20" window, 6" to bottom of the window, total of 26"
  3. May 3, 2009 #3




    Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2009
    Likes Received:
    The others are 30" above if crawlers, or close to. The higher up you go, the more it costs to heat and cool.

    If you want a finished basement........ a second means of escape required, all basements and bedrooms.

    Window egress: 44" max. above finished floor, 5.7 min. clear opening EXC. 5. OK if direct grade access, Min. 20" wide---24" high , separate rules for window wells.

    Anything less, putting someone in danger, in case of fire. Even after you sell the place.

    So a 20" high window with 44" to the floor, = 66" Not legal for headroom, so it would not be habitable, or living space.

    Run it by your Building Department for minimum safety code requirements. Be safe, G

Share This Page