Walkout Basements: The Pros & Cons

Walkout Basements: The Pros & Cons

Walkouts bring a lot of advantages to a basement, including better lighting and accessibility, but what are some of the disadvantages?

When it comes to home design, deciding what to do with your basement is harder than it seems. Do you want a dark basement, or would you rather it be bright and comfortable? Would you like to provide extra rooms for family and guests, but don’t want them disturbing the main floor when they come and go? In both cases, a walkout solves the problem! A walkout basement has both pros and cons, but it's a great way to spice up your home's design, not to mention the increase of value to your property. While they do offer significant practical and aesthetic advantages, there are a few disadvantages to consider.

Pros of installing a walkout entrance

Walk-outs provide better lighting and accessibility to a basement, while also increasing the value of a home
Walk-outs provide better lighting and accessibility to a basement, while also increasing the value of a home

Pro: Better lighting

Perhaps the most essential feature of a walkout is its ability to boost the natural light in your basement. Natural light often has an understandably difficult time reaching a regular basement space, making the basement feel closed off and dungeon-esque. Adding a door (or double door) walkout provides the light the opportunity to flood into the basement. Not only is the additional light aesthetically pleasing, but air will also flow with much greater ease through the basement, helping with mold prevention.

Pro: Accessibility

This is a rather obvious feature—an additional entrance means easier access. Walkouts are perfect if you have people living or staying in your basement. Family, guests, teens with their friends, renters, and so on can keep odd hours without waking the rest of the house. It’s really the best way to keep the night owls and the morning people in your home from disturbing each other. Additionally, the new entrance is also useful for emergency situations, such as a fire!

Pro: Increase in property value

Since a walkout is both beautiful and practical, installing one in your basement will significantly increase the overall value of your home!

Cons of adding a walkout to your basement

Installing a walkout requires excavating part of your basement foundation, which can be priceyInstalling a walk-out requires excavating part of your basement foundation, which can be pricey

Con: Price

Installing a brand new shiny walkout in your basement is not easy, and anything not easy is bound to cost you money. Part of the basement foundation has to be excavated, and you also need to know how to get the permits that allow it. If you’re thinking about adding a walkout to your existing home, or even a partially finished basement, expect it to be pretty pricey!

Con: Feasibility

Another unfortunate downside about installing a new basement entrance point is that it’s not always possible to pull off. Walkouts work best on properties where the land is already sloping down toward the back of the house. As we mentioned previously, your basement has to be excavated to make room for the new opening, and sometimes city codes, covenants, or even the topography of your land simply won't allow it—especially if your basement is entirely underground. 

Overall, basement walkouts can be both practical and lucrative for your home. But the installation will definitely not be cheap. So, provided you have the extra cash, the right land layout, and the proper permits, installing a walkout entrance to your basement is a fantastic design choice for homeowners.

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