Why are Basements in Arizona such a Rarity?

Other areas of the country have them in spades, but out in the deserts of Arizona, basements are few and far between. These areas that are used for storage, workshop areas, and even adjusted to be used as bars and in home movie theaters are taken for granted by those who have them. The question remains: Why don’t we have basements in Arizona?

There are a few reasons as to why basements are so uncommon in the desert.

Time and Money

Adding a basement can add as much as a month to the construction process, and the more time one spends on a project, the more they have to pay for labor. It is time and cost effective to add a second story rather than dig deeper than the 18 inch depth used for the foundation on a home that does not have a basement. Areas in the Midwest require at least a 4 foot depth to break the frost line, so there’s not a lot of extra cost to go a couple of feet deeper.


You’d think the rockier terrain in the Midwest would be more difficult to dig through than that of the sandy sediment in the desert, but you’d be wrong. Here we have caliche, which is a calcium rich deposit that makes it incredibly difficult to dig. The extraction of this, along with the other hard soils contained beneath the silty exterior, makes the digging extra difficult and extra expensive.

If you do not mind the extra payout when building your new home, you can have a basement that would be great as an entertaining space that would be cooler than that of the ground levels of the home, simply because it doesn’t absorb all the heat. There are also a number of contractors that will install the basement to your already purchased home. It all depends on your preference.


Interested in finding your next home, with or without a Basement? Contact us today at MTREAZ to see how we can better assist you in your home buying journey.

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