When it comes to buying a home or building a new one, it’s imperative that every homeowner understands different things about the home’s main structures and systems. And, while few people bother to think about the home’s foundation, the simple truth of the matter is that this is one of the most important aspects of the structure. In order to make an educated decision, you should understand the different types.
The Four Common Types of Home Foundations
While there are dozens of different techniques and approaches to building foundations, we’re going to narrow all home foundations into four categories. In order to provide you with an unbiased and informative look, we’ll include some of the pros and cons of each so you can develop an in-depth understanding of what each one looks like.
1. Concrete Slab Foundations
Let’s start with the standard concrete slab foundation, since this is the most commonly utilized foundation in modern home building. The term, “Concrete slab” does a pretty good job of explaining exactly what this foundation is. It’s nothing more than a slab formed by a block of concrete. Slabs are typically anywhere from four to eight inches thick and are reinforced with steel rods and drainage pipes. Once the foundation’s prepared, the home is built directly on top of it.
Pros of Concrete Slab Foundations
If you’re building a home, a concrete slab makes sense because of its low cost. It’s the cheapest option available, and, comparatively speaking, it’s the quickest solution. The right crew can lay a concrete slab foundation in a short period of time, and the drying process doesn’t take much longer. Another benefit of a slab foundation is the fact that there’s no airspace in between the home and the foundation. As a result, there’s no room for mold or termite infestations.
Cons of Concrete Slab Foundations
However, slab foundations aren’t without fault. Homes built on slab foundations are susceptible to warming due to a lack of ventilation between the home and the slab. It’s also challenging to repair leaking and damaged lines that are embedded into the slab itself. Furthermore, the low-lying nature of slab foundations offers little in the way of protection against floodwater.
2. Basement Foundation
Basement foundations are common in many parts of the country and are beneficial for a number of reasons. Homes with basement foundations are built using a concrete perimeter of pillars that support the building’s above-ground structure. As a note, these foundations are typically dug at a minimum depth of eight feet above the home’s footing.
Pros of Basement Foundation
The biggest benefit of building or buying a home with a basement foundation is obviously the added square footage and space. It allows for extra living space or storage and can offer an excellent opportunity for future renovations. Basements also provide natural ventilation underneath he house, which can serve as an effective cooling mechanism during hot summer months.
Cons of Basement Foundation
While a basement comes with a number of advantages, you can expect to pay a hefty price for these features. A basement foundation is by far the costliest option and, ultimately, can lead to more maintenance issues if not properly cared for. Basements are notorious for having issues related to flooding, moisture, and mold.
3. Crawl Space Foundation
Another one of the more popular foundation types is the crawl space. As the name says, homes with crawl space foundations are built on small structures that, essentially, act as miniature basements. Crawl spaces are typically used when soil is tough to dig through. Generally speaking, a crawl space is no more than three or four feet high, and concrete pillars are placed around the perimeter to support the structure above.
Pros of Crawl Space Foundation
A crawl space is arguably one of the most durable foundations in areas with a high groundwater level. The crawl space provides better protection against water and loose soil while simultaneously providing better airflow underneath the home during hot months. Crawlspaces can also be used for storing outdoor items.
Cons of Crawl Space Foundation
The good ventilation that a crawl space provides during the summer months turns into a negative during cold months, making it slightly more difficult to heat the home. It’s also possible for stagnant water and moisture to become trapped in a crawl space and cause health issues. And, if a crawl space isn’t insulated and sealed, you may be asking for problems.
4. Pier Foundation
The final foundation type that we’re going to look at is the pier foundation. Pier foundations are constructed using small circular or square pads of concrete that are located in strategic points along the outer perimeter of the home. These pads are inserted and secured into the ground using treated wood posts or steel rods. These posts or rods are then connected to the home for support.
Pros of Pier Foundation
Pier foundations are ideal for plots of land where a traditional foundation is difficult to lay. While it’s not always the first choice, a pier foundation is one of the sturdiest and longest-lasting solutions. It provides excellent support and doesn’t come with some of the potential negatives that are associated with basements and crawl spaces.
Cons of Pier Foundation
Perhaps the biggest con of a pier foundation is the cost. While pier foundations may be a good idea for small sheds and detached structures, it’s almost always more expensive to construct a home off of the ground. If you’re buying a home with a pier foundation, you’ll have to be cautious. Pier foundations often lead to creaking and sagging floors as well as symptoms associated with poor ventilation.
Contact Edens Structural Solutions Today
At Edens Structural Solutions, we specialize in foundation repair throughout Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas. Whether you’re having issues with a concrete slab, basement, drainage, or anything in between, we can help. With more than 30 years of experience leveling and repairing foundations, we’re a team that you can count on to get the job done right the first time. For a free consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!