Basement Walk Outs

A daylight basement is generally found in a house situated on a slope that includes a doorway walkout to the yard from the portion of the basement above ground.  Most subterranean basements lack a walk out, we can help design one into your basement plans, SS Group is a company experienced in basements and subsequent foundation work such as underpinning.  Together we can evaluate the kind of walk out required based on the layout of the basement and the terrain of the property.  In some cases a complete staircase may be added to the foundation to allow walk out access to the ground level.


A walkout basement is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a basement you can walk out of directly onto ground level.

Walkout basements have at least one exterior entrance at ground level, which means they’re only possible under two conditions:

  • On sloped lots. The ground on one side of the home must be low enough to dip down to the bottom of the basement, but the ground on the other side covers the majority of the foundation.
  • On excavated lots. Some homeowners who have walk-up basements will excavate around one side of the basement to lower the level of the ground down to the bottom of the basement. This requires the use of retaining walls to maintain the excavated area.

A walk out (walkout) or basement entrance may be a legal requirement of a secondary suite or basement rental unit. Or you may just want to ensure  true separation between your tenants and your living space above.

Alternately a walk out can add value and accessibility to a personal use basement,  increasing the use of potentially un-used basement space.  A basement entrance increases  the year round usability of your basement allowing easy access to a BBQ, or for children to move freely from a playroom to the outside.


A walkout basement has at least one side of the home where the basement exits out to ground level, while a walk-up basement has a set of steps—either exterior or interior—that lead from ground level down to an exterior door that leads into the basement.

As a result of this, walkout basements also tend to have full-sized windows that provide more sunlight inside the space.

A daylight basement is one that has full-sized windows but doesn’t have a door that leads out to ground level. There are two ways you can achieve a daylight basement.

  • Partially excavated foundation wall. First, you can have a partially exposed basement wall, either because you dig out your basement on one side or because you have a sloped lot. This would expose enough of the wall where a full window installed at the standard height above the floor would still sit above the ground level outside.
  • Window well installation. Excavation of a small section of ground outside your basement to install a window well. This provides enough space for a full window to sit, which can introduce more natural light and provide a point of egress.

On the other hand, a walkout basement has a fully exposed foundation wall on at least one side, so while it can also have full windows, it also includes a door that exits out to ground level.



  • They provide easy accessibility to the basement. Entering and exiting the basement won’t require the use of stairs, which makes them more accessible.
  • Can fill the basement with natural light. Many homeowners with walkout basements have large sliding glass doors that let in tons of sunlight. Even without glass doors, the fact that one side of the basement is unobstructed by the ground means you can have full-size windows that let more light in than hopper windows.
  • Adds living space. Most basements can’t actually serve as living space because they don’t meet requirements for light, ventilation, and safety in terms of points of egress. Walkout basements are a rare exception in many municipalities.
  • Potential for rental income. Since standard basements don’t meet requirements for living space, you can’t usually rent them out legally. Walkout basements are usually legal to rent.
  • Easy access to outdoor space. Walkout basements provide a convenient way to access outdoor spaces. Many homeowners have their walkout basements lead out to a patio or outdoor kitchen, making entertaining more convenient.