What Is The Different Daylight Basement And A Walkout Basement?

Basements are a common feature in many homes, but they are often underutilized or neglected spaces. These underground areas can serve a variety of purposes, from providing additional living space to housing mechanical systems and storage.

In this article, we will explore the different types of basements that can be found in homes and discuss the benefits and challenges of utilizing this space.

what is a daylight basement

The benefits of a livable basement space

A basement is a part of a building that is either completely or partially below ground level. It is typically used for storage, as a workshop, or as an additional living space.

How can you use basement space?

There are many ways to use a basement, depending on the size and layout of the space as well as the needs and preferences of the homeowner.


  • Playroom: If you have young children, a basement can be a great place for them to play. They can have their own space here.
  • Venue: A finished basement can be a great place to host parties and gatherings.
  • Home theater: If you love to watch movies, a basement can be a great place to set up a home theater.

Expansion of the place

  • Additional living space: A basement can be finished and used as an extra room, such as a family room, guest bedroom, or home office.
  • Storage space: A basement can be a great place to store items that are not used frequently, such as holiday decorations, outdoor equipment, and excess household items.
  • Laundry rooms: If you have a small laundry area or no laundry room at all, a basement can be a convenient place to install a washer and dryer.

Area for hobbies

  • Workshop: If you have hobbies that require a lot of space or specialized equipment, a basement can be a perfect place to set up a workshop.
  • Exercise room: A basement can be a great place to set up a home gym or yoga studio.

There are many other possibilities for using a basement, and the best use will depend on your specific needs and interests.

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Types of basements

Full basements are the most common type, extending the full footprint of the house and sitting completely underground.

These basements can be finished and used as additional living space, such as a family room or extra bedrooms.

Partial basements, on the other hand, only extend partially under the house and may have one or more walls that are above ground level.

Walkout basements have at least one wall that is above ground level and a door or set of stairs leading to the outside, making them easier to access.

Daylight basements, as the name suggests, have windows that allow more natural light to enter and create a brighter, more welcoming atmosphere.

Finally, crawl space is shallow spaces that are only accessible by crawling and are typically used for storage or to house mechanical systems.

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What is a daylight basement?

A daylight basement is a type of basement that has windows. These basements are typically partially or fully above ground level, with one or more walls that are exposed to the outside.

This design feature can make a daylight basement feel more like a traditional above-ground room, rather than a dark and cramped basement.

Benefits of daylight basements

There are several benefits to having a daylight basement, including natural light, ventilation, and access to the outdoors.

One of the biggest benefits of a daylight basement is the increased amount of natural light that enters the room. This can make the basement feel brighter, more welcoming, and more like an above-ground room.

The windows in a daylight basement can provide additional ventilation, which can help to improve air quality and reduce the risk of mold and other types of indoor air pollution.

Depending on the layout of the house and the surrounding landscape, the windows in a daylight basement may also offer views of the outdoors, which can be a nice feature for people who spend a lot of time in the basement.

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Drawbacks of daylight basements

There are also some drawbacks to having a daylight basement. They are high cost, reduced privacy, outside noises, and increased risk of water damage.

Building a daylight basement can be more expensive than a traditional basement, as it requires more materials and labor. The cost of building a daylight basement will depend on the size of the space, the type of materials used, and other factors.

If the windows face a busy street or a neighbor’s property, the people using the basement may feel less private.

The windows in a daylight basement may also allow more noise to enter the space, depending on the location of the house and the level of noise in the surrounding area.

The windows and exposed walls in a daylight basement can make the space more vulnerable to water damage. Water can enter the basement through the windows or walls during heavy rain or snow, or if the windows or walls are not properly sealed. This can lead to costly repairs and damage to the belongings stored in the basement.


The purpose of daylight basements can vary widely, depending on the needs and preferences of the homeowner.

It can be used as a normal living space, such as a family room, home office, or guest bedroom.

The design and layout of the basement will depend on its intended use and the needs of the people who will be using it.


In case of an emergency, there should be an egress window in daylight basements. An egress window is required in many building codes to ensure that people have a safe and easy way to exit a basement in case of a fire, flood, or other emergencies.

Egress windows are typically installed in a wall near the floor level, and must be a certain size and meet specific opening and ladder requirements to be considered an egress window.

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What is a walkout basement?

A walkout basement is a type of basement that has at least one wall that is above ground level and has an exterior door or set of stairs leading to the outside.

Walk-out basements are often found in houses that are built on sloping or hilly lots, as they allow the basement to be at the same level as the ground level outside.

Advantages of walkout basements

The most obvious advantage of a walkout basement is access to the outdoors. This can be especially useful if the basement is being used as a guest room, as it allows people to come and go more easily. It can also provide a convenient way to access the yard through the exterior door for activities such as gardening, grilling, or relaxing in the fresh air.

In addition, there is great potential for an additional living room. A walkout basement can also be used as extra space, such as a family room, home office, or guest bedroom.

Given that at least one wall of a walkout basement is open to the outdoors, it could also offer more sunlight and ventilation than a typical basement. In addition to improving the air quality, this may make the room feel lighter and more inviting.

Disadvantages of walkout basements

There are several potential disadvantages to the walkout basement.

Walkout basement cost is higher to construct than traditional basements because they require more materials and labor to build. The additional construction costs can be significant, especially if you are building on a sloping site.

This basement requires more maintenance since they are prone to leaks and water damage due to exposure to the elements.

This can lead to higher maintenance costs over time.

It often has a large exterior door that opens to the outside, which can reduce privacy. If you value privacy and want to keep your living space separate from the outdoors, walk-out basements may not be the best choice.

A walk-out basement can be more difficult to insulate and seal, which can lead to higher energy costs in the winter months. This can be particularly problematic if you live in a climate with cold winters.


A walkout basement is a type of basement that is designed with an external entrance and exits to the exterior of the home. This type of basement is typically built on sloping lots and has doors or windows that provide access to the outdoors.

The purpose of walk-out basements is to allow natural light and ventilation into the lower level of the home, as well as provide easy access to the outdoors.

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Comparing a daylight basement and a walkout basement

Let’s look at the difference between a daylight basement and a walkout basement. One of the main differences is the amount of natural light that each type of basement receives. Daylight basements typically have more windows and receive more sunlight than walk-out basements, which may only have one or two windows.

Another key difference between a daylight and a walk-out basement is the level of accessibility. Walkout basements are generally easier to access than daylight basements, as they have a door or other opening that leads directly to the outside.

Overall, a daylight basement and a walkout basement can be useful and functional spaces, depending on your needs and preferences. It’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons of each type of basement before deciding which is the best option for your home.

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Costs for daylight vs walkout basement

It is difficult to provide an average cost for both daylight and walkout basements as it will depend on several factors such as the size of the basement, the materials used, and the location of the property.

However, some estimates suggest that a walkout basement may be more expensive to build due to the added cost of excavating and grading the land to create a sloping entrance.

In comparison, a daylight basement may be more cost-effective as it typically does not require as much excavation work.

A finished basement typically costs between $50 and $100 per square foot. This comprises a full finish, which includes flooring, drywall, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical work, among other things.

Nevertheless, it is important to consider your budget and the specific needs of your project when deciding between a daylight or walkout basement. It is also recommended to get quotes from multiple contractors to get a better idea of the costs involved.

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What is the difference between a basement and a daylight basement?

The main difference between a daylight basement and a basement is that a daylight basement has at least one wall that is above ground level and allows for natural light to enter the room. A basement is completely underground.

Does a daylight basement count as square footage?

Whether or not a daylight basement counts as square footage depends on the specific definition of the square foot used by the person or entity measuring the space. Some definitions may include the space as part of the square footage, while others may not.

How much slope do you need for a daylight basement?

The amount of slope needed for daylight basements depends on the specific design of the home and the desired level of natural light in the basement area. A slope of at least 6 inches per horizontal foot is generally recommended to allow for sufficient natural light.

Conclusion: choosing the right basement for your home’s needs

When deciding between a daylight or walkout basement for your home, it’s important to consider the intended use of the area, your budget, and the overall value it will add to your home.

Daylight basements, while typically less expensive to finish, may not be as desirable to potential buyers because they are fully underground. A walkout basement, on the other hand, offers the convenience of being partially above ground and may feel more like a traditional living space.

However, they tend to be more expensive to finish due to the need for exterior finishes and higher-quality doors and lighting. Ultimately, the right choice will depend on your specific needs and priorities.

Read More About Basement Types

James Derrick

If you have become a reader of my blog, you are thinking about how to properly equip your home. I want to say that together with my family we live in our own big house.

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