Why Many Texas Homes Don’t Have Basements

If you move to Texas from somewhere else, you might be surprised with exactly how few homes have basements. There are some reasons why this is.

In many parts of the country, people live in the home upstairs but they also enjoy having a basement under the home. That isn’t necessarily the case in all parts of the country, however, including homes in Texas. In fact, if you move to Texas from somewhere else, you might be surprised with exactly how few homes have basements.

There are many reasons why you might find a basement to be beneficial in Texas. Aside from the fact that it provides extra storage space or perhaps an area for your workshop, it can also protect you from tornadoes that are sometimes a problem. Because of the terrain in Texas, however, having something more than a crawlspace under the home is not always possible or practical.

Photo: flickr/trevoronim

Southern Living reports on the features of the land that make it impractical to have basements in Texas. Generally speaking, the state is flat but it is also close to sea level. That means that the surface is not very far above the water table, so digging a basement would quickly put you underwater. Even in Houston, the water table is only 10 feet down.

Photo: Pixabay

Another issue that reduces the possibility for basements in Texas is the type of soil. Clay soil is common in the eastern part of the state, so if it gets wet, it tends to swell but it also contracts when it is dry. If you were to dig a basement, then the walls would likely crack and you have a big problem.

Photo: Pixabay

Digging a basement is also a costly part of building a home in many parts of the state, including West and Central Texas. Since you would be digging through limestone bedrock, it would be expensive and would not be worth the price. In many other parts of the country, builders use the basement to keep the foundation below the frost line, but in Texas, that is not typically a concern.

As you can see, there are many reasons why Texas does not typically have a basement and now you know the rest of the story.