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All You Needed to Know About Basement Construction: An Interview with Tom Werling of North Texas Basements

By Tom Werling

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you provide.

North Texas Basements, Inc. is a total solutions residential and commercial concrete form contractor specializing in basement construction. In other words, North Texas Basements, Inc. provides a new homeowner with the most stable foundation known. Basements virtually eliminate all potential foundation issues caused by soil movement.

Can you actually build a home with a basement in Texas?

Yes. The misconception that Texas soils are not conducive to basements is absolutely false! While states in the north build homes with basements to combat the movement of soil due to frost, Texas can use this same solution to combat the soil movement issues caused by sun, wind, rain, and most importantly, drought.

What are the biggest challenges that Texas homeowners have with their slab foundations?

It's a proven fact that slabs are shallow foundations that are vulnerable to movement. We hear about potential vertical rise (PVR), but that is only relevant for shallow slabs. Movement in Texas is caused by the severe drying and then the rapid expansion of the earth when it gets wet. Hence, the term we have coined as a "drought line." A deeper foundation--basement-- prevents the damage that is so common throughout the state as a result of this drastic movement of soil.

Explain the difference between what we commonly call a frost line and what you are calling a "drought line."

A frost line is caused by freezing, and the earth moves as a result of the expansion and contraction caused by this freezing and thawing. However, the majority of Texas soil shrinkage is a result of the drought line occurring in the top three feet of the ground. It makes sense if we use foundations that are at least three feet deep that they would be below the "drought line" and therefore, more resistant to soil movement and the resulting damage.

What are the benefits of building a home with a basement?

In addition to eliminating foundation issues due to soil movement, there are many benefits to building a home with a basement. Basements can provide you and your family with a safe haven from tornadoes and storms. Basements are an energy-efficient way to air condition your home and cut down on those electric bills. Basements also provide great additional living space/square footage for very little cost.

So is it expensive to build a basement in Texas?

Actually, no. A basement is a very good investment when building a new home. The cost per square foot is minimal in relation to the additional living space you receive. Additionally, the air conditioning and storage rental savings can offset the extra cost of a basement. Not to mention provide a much safer and more convenient location for your heating, air and water units. Bottom line, with the proven energy efficiency of a basement, a home with a basement can offer significant savings in energy use. What better way to go green!

What kind of lot should one look for when building a house with a basement?

If you can build a house on a lot, we can provide you with the basement foundation. As an added bonus, basements are also great and beautiful solutions for those hillside lots. It is important to note, basements also eliminate the need for fill, retaining walls, and piers on hillside, sloped lots.

What is the best way for people to contact you and your company?

Our website is www.ntxbsmt.com. I can also be reached via phone at 817-770-2768 or via email at Tom@ntxbsmt.com.

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About The Author

Thomas Werling has more than 39 years of homebuilding experience and is the founder of...

Phone: 817-770-2768

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