Basements may be a desirable home feature, but there are also structural and regional factors as to why some cities have more homes with basements. Soil conditions, the frost line, and flood risks are all factored into the engineering decisions about whether a home should have a basement foundation.
This Colorado real estate report breaks down which parts of the state have the most basements and where basements are uncommon.
How Many Colorado Homes Have Basements?
Aggregate data about property records and building construction is not widely available. However, real estate records can provide helpful insight into construction trends happening on the local level.
Using Zillow’s data on recently sold homes, we’re able to identify which Colorado cities have the biggest concentration of basements. The report below looks at the percentage of single-family homes with finished or unfinished basements, and the report uses county-level data to get a large enough sample size.
The results of the analysis reveal that Douglas County to the south of Denver has the highest percentage of homes with basements at 59 percent. Throughout the Denver area, there is a wide variety of basement construction trends. In Arapahoe County to the southeast of the city, 48 percent of homes have basements, and in the city itself, 40 percent of homes have basements. On the north side of Denver in Weld County and Adams County, about 35 percent of homes have basements.
Basements are less common in other parts of Colorado. In Boulder and Colorado Springs, about 31 to 33 percent of homes have basements. In Mesa County, home to Grand Junction, only eight percent of homes have basements.
|Colorado County and City||Percent of Homes with Basements|
|Douglas County (Castle Rock)||59%|
|Broomfield City and County||50%|
|Pueblo County (Pueblo)||49%|
|Jefferson County (Lakewood)||48%|
|Arapahoe County (Aurora)||48%|
|Denver City and County||40%|
|Weld County (Greeley)||35%|
|Adams County (Thorton)||35%|
|El Paso County (Colorado Springs)||33%|
|Boulder County (Boulder)||31%|
|Larimer County (Fort Collins/Loveland)||19%|
|Mesa County (Grand Junction)||8%|
Why Are Basements More Common In Some Areas?
Basement foundations are based on several different factors.
First, there’s cost and the age of the home. Basements require excavation, which can be expensive. Many newer homes use slab foundations, which are more affordable to build.
Another issue is the frost line. Colder climates like Colorado tend to have more homes with basements because generally, homes are more stable when they’re anchored below the frost line. The Colorado frost line is about three to four feet below the surface, and digging an eight-foot basement puts the home’s footings solidly below the frost line. Comparatively, Florida’s frost line is just five inches or less below the surface making it unnecessary to dig eight feet down to build a basement.
Water risks are also a factor when building basements. Homes built in flood zones or flood-prone areas are less likely to have basements because of the high water table and the increase in damage that can occur to below-grade stories during a flood.
The steep inclines of Colorado are also a factor for basement foundations. Structural engineers need to consider the risk of landslides or erosion. Inclines can also be a structural advantage, making it possible to build a walk-out basement by cutting into a sloped terrain.
What’s the Future of Basement Design?
During the pandemic, homeowners who have basements have valued the flexible space that can be used for home offices, homeschooling children, at-home gyms, fan caves, and more.
The multipurpose space of a basement has been so important that it’s changing the real estate market. A report from Homes.com said that basements were a trending real estate feature among homebuyers in 2020. We’re also seeing an increasing number of basement refinishing projects during the 2021 surge in home renovations.
With the flexibility of basements now in the spotlight, it’s more important than ever to get the advice of basement experts to ensure your basement renovation goes smoothly.
At Complete Basement Systems, we recommend basement waterproofing as one of the first steps to your renovation project. This has multiple benefits including protecting your floors and furnishings from flood damage and improving the livability of the space through a vapor barrier that seals out moisture. Adding these types of wall systems behind your drywall can help you feel confident that your newly renovated space won’t be damaged during the next big rainstorm.
Sign up for a free inspection from Complete Basement Systems to learn how basement waterproofing or foundation repair can help improve your home.