So you know which type of foundation you want for your new house and understand the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
Regardless of the architectural design, a house is only worth as much as its foundation; the lowest supporting element of the structure that holds up the flooring, walls, etc., which comprise the system. Three basic foundations include a full basement, slab, and crawl spaces.
As the term implies, a is a thick cement block placed on top of a building.
Slabs and basements are standard foundations for homes; however, they're not always the right choice for every situation. Read on to learn the main difference between slab and basement foundations so you can decide which type of foundation is best for your next project.
Slope lots are best suited for crawl spaces.
Slab foundations with shallow footings (steel-reinforced concrete pads that support a foundation) are limited to flat or nearly flat lots where only minimum excavation is required to pour the concrete slab. When a lot is sloped, however, a slab would require extensive excavation because the high side of the lot would have to be dug out and made level with the low side. For example, on the down side of the lot, a two-foot deep trench might be needed, while on the high side, a four- or five-foot channel might be necessary, but the canal needs only be two feet wide (standard foundation wall trench width). Crawlspace foundations are a better choice for slopes because less excavation is necessary (digging only for walls, not an entire slab).
They're not suitable for cold climates.
When soil gets frozen, it expands and may push against foundations, causing them to crack or move. To avoid this, footers should be placed no more profound than the frost line—the depth to which the ground would generally get frozen in any particular area. For example, if your home is in Kansas, you might build a crawl space under the house rather than digging down the earth to create a basement. A crawl space provides a stable base for a floor because it doesn't extend far enough underground to allow the soil to settle around the building.
Foundations for crawl spaces are best built in dry locations.
Conventional wisdom suggests that if your home is built on an existing foundation, you should avoid installing new floors directly on top of it. While this may sound obvious, there are reasons why you might choose to do so. For starters, if you're building a house from scratch, you'll probably need to install a new foundation. That means you'll have to tear down whatever was already there. And if you're not planning on tearing down any walls, you won't have much choice but to build a new one. But if you've got an old foundation, you can save yourself from having to demolish everything around it. You can lay your new floor on top of what's already there.
If the house is located in an area prone to flooding, then the chances of it taking on water during a storm surge increase significantly. However, most communities enforce strict building codes tprohibitinghouse installation in areas prone to floods.
They're cheaper to build than blocks.
A common misconception is that foundations are expensive. However, they're inexpensive compared to a house's total price. For example, the average concrete basement starts at about $5,000, but the total cost of a new home could be anywhere from $200,000 to $600,000.
They're easier to install than concrete slabs.
Both crawl spaces and basements are good options for building an addition to your house. However, if you live in a region where the soils are prone to swelling, you may need to consider using a concrete slab instead of a basement.
Slopes are flat and thick (eight inches) and are often used for home construction because they require fewer building materials than a slope that would be dug out into a hillside. Because pitches are flat, they do not allow the development of invasive tree roots, which might damage a home’s foundation. Slope foundations do not freeze during winter, so they are an excellent choice for areas where freezing temperatures occur. Slopes provide easy access to underground utilities, such as water lines, gas pipes, electrical wires, and sewer lines.'
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Another option for fixing leaks in a slab foundation is to use an epoxied patch inside the house to seal off the leaking part of the piping. However, if that doesn't work, another option would be to route the piping outside the home.
Slabs are more energy efficient than poured concrete.
To prevent water damage, homeowners should install insulation around the perimeter of their basement walls. Insulation prevents the circulation of cold outside temperatures into the home and helps maintain a consistent temperature inside. However, insulation does not stop cold drafts from blowing under the house, so if you live in an area where winters are particularly harsh, you might consider installing additional vents near the bottom of your foundation wall. These vents allow warm indoor temperatures to escape the basement, preventing them from entering the rest of the house.
Crawl spaces give homeowners more excellent options when remodeling their homes.
Changing the layout of a house with a crawl-spaced foundation isn't tricky. You need to move the kitchen and bathrooms from one ehouse endto another.