Why aren’t there more basements in Oklahoma?

In the wake of a series of tornadoes in Oklahoma, many are asking why homes there aren’t built with basements.

During severe weather, residents are often urged to go to their basements. Basements protect from flying debris and strong winds. Tornadoes often hit Oklahoma so why doesn’t the state have more underground shelters?

Basements are rare in Oklahoma because of the damp soil. The water seeps into storm cellars and basements. The dampness often leads to mold and fungus, which can be hazardous to those living inside the home.

Water pressure can build up, putting pressure on basement walls. Even thick concrete can give way to water pressure.

Bedrock is also prevalent throughout Oklahoma. It can be especially difficult and expensive to chip away at the bedrock. Buildings often have to use explosives to clear room for a basement.

While there are new waterproof polymers that can make basements a reality in Oklahoma, they too remain expensive.


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