Understand your new home from the ground up with this guide to house foundation types. Learn what makes a sturdy home in different ways.
Thousands of years ago, people drove long wooden poles into the soft bottoms of shallow lakes and built their homes on top, keeping themselves safe from dangerous animals and threatening neighbors.
Ancient Egyptians supported their pyramids by building on top stone blocks, which rested on the bedrock.
Foundations have been around since humans began building homes.
Without a good foundation, your home could sink. Even with a damaged foundation, cracks and leaks can quickly deteriorate your home. If you might even have tree roots causing problems with your foundations if so you may need a tree removal specialist to help you.
Nowadays, there are several house foundation types used to build a home. Which one you choose depends on factors like where you live and how long you want the structure of your home to last.
Keep reading to learn about 4 common types of foundations and how they make homes sturdy in different ways.
1. Basement Foundation
A lot of homes, especially northern ones, have basement foundations.
A basement foundation is a hollow structure, usually designed for work, living, or storage space. It’s intended for functional purposes, but waterproofing is of the utmost importance.
Basements are built with cinder blocks or concrete walls that are cast-in-place. Waterproofing is essential in basement building to avoid long-term moisture infiltration.
They begin with a giant hole, usually around 8 feet deep, that ends with a concrete slab. Typically, the walls of a basement are formed by cinder blocks.
The entire process is usually completed within 3 steps. First, the beams get poured. Then the walls get filled, and the slab is installed inside the walls.
Basements are one of the more common foundation choices because they add valuable square footage to a home. Plus, they’re very durable and are highly resistant to fire and extreme weather conditions.
Pros and Cons
The most significant advantage of having a basement foundation is the added space and square footage. Plus, basements offer natural cooling, which can help protect a home during hotter months.
The biggest con of having a basement foundation is that it’s costly to build. Plus, when basements aren’t cared for properly, they are very susceptible to mold, moisture, and flooding.
2. Slab Foundation
A slab foundation is basically a flat, concrete pad that’s poured into the ground at the site for a new home.
The installation is quite simple, and areas with little or no frost line are ideal for this particular type of foundation.
Post tension cables also work very well with this design.
The way that it works is that concrete gets formatted into a beam running 2 feet deep around the entire perimeter of the slab foundation. The remaining portions are up to 6 inches thick.
Steel and wire mesh is embedded into the concrete for reinforcement.
Slab foundations are ideal in warmer climates because freezing temperatures in colder climates can cause the slab to shift.
Pros and Cons
Concrete slab foundations are significantly less expensive to build. Plus, there’s no airspace between the foundation and the home, so there’s less room for mold or termites.
On the other hand, slab foundations are susceptible to flooding and are challenging to repair.
3. Pier and Beam Foundation
A pier foundation involves concrete piers or wood posts set deep into the ground. They bear the weight of the building.
Builders place small square or circular pads along the perimeter of the home, and then they are secured into the ground using treated steel rods or wood posts. Those posts are then connected to the home for support.
Unlike other types of foundation, a pier and beam foundation doesn’t rest directly on the ground. Instead, it’s elevated at about 18″ above the ground.
Utility units for electricity and plumbing get installed inside that 18″ crawlspace.
A lot of homebuilders choose this foundation over others because it’s less expensive than other choices, and it’s easy to build. It’s best used on smaller buildings, however.
Because of the crawlspace, access to the area is quick, making for easy foundation repair solutions.
This style should only be used in areas NOT prone to hurricane strength winds or earthquakes because the foundation is not set deep into the earth like some other foundations.
It’s essential for homeowners to watch out for sagging and creaking in the floors with this foundation, as well.
Pros and Cons
Pier foundations are long-lasting, sturdy, and they provide great support. However, they’re costly and can have issues with poor ventilation if not properly cared for.
4. Crawlspace Foundation
Crawlspace foundations are usually elevated off of the floor by 2 to 4 feet. Usually, these foundations are built with cinder block, and then a brick facing.
In moist climates, this type of foundation is ideal, especially where water is more likely to accumulate.
The crawlspace leaves room for water to accumulate, without damaging the home. Plus, these foundations are less likely to get infested by termites.
They are, however, prone to fungi and mold buildup because of the harboring environment created by that empty space.
Crawl spaces are also used when soil is tough to dig into.
Pros and Cons
In areas with a high groundwater level, a crawlspace foundation is one of the most durable. Plus, it provides airflow and can be used for storage.
If a crawl space isn’t insulated and sealed, though, moisture and water can get trapped underneath.
Think About Cost and Environment While Considering House Foundation Types
When you’re building a home and weighing the benefits and costs of house foundation types, it’s important to look at your environment.
While some foundations are more durable than others, which one you choose depends greatly on the environment in which you live.
Talk with a professional before you decide to make sure you’re giving your new home the support and value it deserves.
Are you planning on adding a garage or shed to your new abode? Check out our articles pertaining to shed and garage design!