Cellars and basements can both add value to your home. With this in mind, it is essential to know the difference between the two so you can market your home correctly if you’re ready to sell or to maximize the space if you’re buying a home that includes one.
A basement is a space located underneath a building structure. Many basements have windows, and some basements even have outdoor entrances. You may sometimes find stairs or a ladder that goes down into the basement. Basements are often used as storage spaces, but they can also serve as another bedroom or living space.
With cellars, space is a little more enclosed than in a basement. Cellars are a bit deeper underground, often below a building’s curb line. Sometimes people build cellars adjacent to basements or attach them to an outside structure. A cellar can be accessed using a ladder or via a staircase.
The most common use for cellars is for wine storage, primarily because the spaces are void of direct sunlight and cooler, both of which are prime conditions for storing wine.
Basement and cellar are often used interchangeably to describe lower-level spaces. But there are also some differences between the two of them that may prove important, especially when valuing a property. The difference also impacts how this part of the home is treated during a home inspection.
One key difference centers around purpose. People build basements as a game room or storage space, while cellars are usually built for more specific purposes like wine storage or a storm shelter.
Basements are more comfortable and safe if converted into a living space because it has better finishing. A cellar, on the other hand, may not be suitable as a living space because it’s not finished the same.
Basements are usually larger spaces, while a cellar is usually a smaller, more confined space.
Cellars usually have lower ceilings than basements. On average, the ceiling in a cellar is less than 7 feet high.
One key difference is that cellars tend to have entrances that are external to the home. If you can access the space without having to go outside to do so, it’s considered a basement.
In some parts of the world, an underground area that has a large window and that can be used as a living space is called a basement, while a similar space without windows is a cellar.
It is less likely that you’ll use a cellar as a living space like a bedroom or rent it out as an apartment. Popular uses for cellars include:
There is a lot that you can do with a basement–they can be used as:
Regardless of whether you have a basement or a cellar, these spaces require periodic maintenance and regular housekeeping just like the rest of your home.
Here are a few maintenance tips for keeping that underground space inviting and usable:
A basement or cellar is a great space that can be turned into anything you like. Always check for signs of foundation problems or leaks if you’re thinking of buying a property with a basement or cellar. If you find issues, get them fixed before you finalize the sale.