Why Don’t Most Oklahoma Homes Have Basements?

Living Without A Basement

With the number of storms and tornadoes that travel through Oklahoma, it’s easy to wonder why most people don’t have basements to take shelter in. Most homes in the state of Oklahoma have slab foundations, which means that the house is built on a single layer of concrete that sits on a bed of gravel. Unlike crawlspace foundations, slab foundations don’t have any space between the ground and the first floor.

So why is it that less than 10% of homes in Oklahoma have basements? Historically, this southern state was never really into basements in the first place. Oklahomans in the early 20th century had storm cellars instead, as basements were not a necessity.

Reasons Why Oklahomans Don’t Have Basements

waterproof your basementToday, there are a handful of reasons why residents of Oklahoma continue to live without basements:

Firstly, Oklahoma is known for its red clay soil, which tends to absorb a lot of moisture. When excess moisture is present in the soil, it can cause pressure against foundation walls and leak into your basement. The clay soil is also known to dry up during the warmer seasons, and this can cause cracks and holes in your concrete. Overall, there is a bad connotation against basements in Oklahoma, because they are known to be susceptible to cracks and water seepage. Nobody wants a smelly, moldy, flooded basement.

Along with the moist soil, Oklahoma also has a very high water table. This makes basements even more prone to water leaks and flooding. Since gravel is a great water absorber, most people choose to build their homes on slab foundations.

Another reason why basements are extremely uncommon in Oklahoma is that the building codes are different than other states. When it comes to building houses, the foundation must be poured below the freeze line. In Oklahoma, the freeze line is extremely shallow, about 18 inches, whereas in other states it can be 3-5 feet. When a foundation is poured below a freeze line that is more than a few feet, a basement might as well be built, unless you want to step down onto your entry floor. For residents of Oklahoma, a basement is not required.

What is the use of a basement in Oklahoma if it’s just going to be wet and musty all year round? Well, unless you have a storm shelter, a basement is the safest place to be during a tornado or severe storm. For the homeowners that do have a basement in Oklahoma, we have a waterproofing solution for you to keep your basement safe and dry throughout the year.

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