Basement & Crawlspace
Where conventional four-foot deep frost footings are required a trench is needed around the house perimeter to install the footing and foundation system.
Since this excavation has to be made in any case, it is not much more expensive to dig a big hole and create a basement.
The below-grade space is inexpensive to build and can be used for anything from rough storage to living space.
Basements commonly house the mechanical and electrical systems.
Disadvantages of basements include the susceptibility to water leakage and lack of natural light.
Basement ceilings are often low, and even if there is no water leakage, they can be cool and damp.
Where a trench is dug for the foundations, and the earth under the house floor is not removed, a crawl space is created.
It may have an earth floor, although a concrete slab is more desirable for storage and moisture control.
Since they are hard to get into, and usually poorly lit, crawl spaces can be left without inspection for long periods.
Where moisture levels are high over the long term, structural damage, due to rot and termite activity, can go unnoticed for some time.