All the Pros and Cons of Building a Walkout Basement

Tuesday Feb 18th, 2020


Basements have a bad rap for being dark, creepy, and depressing. If you’ve got a basement unit you’re hoping to rent out, then it’s even more imperative that you make it look inviting and livable.

One impressive way to do that is to build a walkout. It instantly adds more light to the space and gives tenants their own separate entrance. If you’ve never heard of a walkout basement, it’s essentially a basement with a door that opens out onto the ground level, typically out into the backyard.

Walkout basements certainly have their advantages, but they also aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Here is a good and bad of it all.

Pro: They’re more attractive to tenants

The main reason people love walkout basements is because it has a door that leads directly outside. This is a highly desirable feature for tenants who are looking to rent a brightly lit, above-grade space and don’t want to share an entrance with their landlord. For homeowners who want to rent out their basement, a walkout gives them more privacy and they’ll be more likely to successfully rent out the space. Plus, they’ll be able to charge a little bit more for rent and secure some additional monthly income.

Con: It could be an expensive renovation, if you can do it in the first place

Not every lot allows for a walkout basement. It’s most feasible on properties where the land slopes down towards the back of the house. If your lot seems like it could be suitable, then the next steps is to consider the expenses of excavating the land and constructing the door and framing. Special attention must also be paid to drainage. Depending on how it’s designed, a finished walkout basement can potentially add square footage to your home and increase your home’s overall value, but the downside is that it may also raise your property taxes.

Pro: More lighting

When you have a standard underground basement, it’s not always everyone’s fist choice to hang out in simply due to the fact that it’s cooler and darker down there. A walkout basement, on the other hand, can feel more like any other part of the house since it’s got full-sized windows and doors that allow for a little extra natural lighting to enter the space. As a result, the basement will get used more often.

Con: You still have to worry about moisture

Just because a portion of your basement is exposed to the outdoors, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about moisture and mold problems. A walkout basement still has the same problems as any standard basemen.

Pro: More ways to decorate

Thanks to the full-sized door, you’ll be able to incorporate larger furnishings that you weren’t able to before because they didn’t fit down the narrow staircase. This allows for endless possibilities for decorating – and maybe how you can finally fit in that huge pool table or entertainment system.

Con: It could pose a security risk

Adding another entrance means adding another entry point for intruders to break in. And because it’s located on the basement level, it’s easy to forget to lock the door down there – or even hear suspicious activity when you’re in the house. For families, a walkout basement may also make it harder to keep track of younger children since there are multiple levels of access in the house.

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