Depth Restrictions on Home Building in Texas

By Prev Info - January 21, 2023

Depth Restrictions on Home Building in Texas

Building a home in any U.S. state requires following the bylaws and building codes, preapproval of building plans, acquiring the correct permits and passing all inspections of the completed structure. In Texas, many homes are not built with basements due to the soil type and density in certain areas. These factors can restrict the depth of homes and foundations during construction.

Home Depth

Texas home builders do not usually build basements for several reasons, such as saving money and decreasing liability in case of damage. Particularly in the northern areas of the state, soils can expand and cause structural damage to the basement of homes. Hence, it is more costly to make basements with necessary techniques that prevent structural problems. Builders may choose to build a home without a basement that requires a deeper foundation.

Soil Type

It is important to know what type of soil you are building the home on to determine how deep the foundation should go and whether a basement should be built. Builders and homeowners can obtain this information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has soil-mapping information for most of the country. A soil analysis can also verify the type and consistency of the land. Clay soils in particular can cause problems to basements and foundations of homes due to shifting and expanding in varying temperatures. Clay-rich soils also hold large quantities of moisture that can leak into basements. Builders must also ensure that the ground is firmly compacted before setting the foundation of the home.

Zoning Laws

Historic zoning laws and other building compliance laws must be followed by builders and architects when designing plans for a new or renovated home. A property survey may be necessary before a building permit is granted. Texas laws and city bylaws for home construction vary depending on the shape and size of the lot, the shape and size of the house and any accessory buildings on the property. Under Texas law, a single-family property can have only one livable dwelling on it, though it may also have a separate garage and garden shed.


According to the Texas Homestead Act, building work on a home requires a permit from the city. For example, electrical and plumbing work require permits from City Hall. Additionally, as a homeowner, you are responsible for hiring a licensed electrician or other building professional unless you can prove to the chief electrical inspector that you have the skills and expertise to do the electrical work on your own. After the work is completed, an inspection may be required.





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