The Three Types of Home Foundations Explained

The Three Types of Home Foundations Explained

There are three fundamental types of structures in use today in the building of a house.

Slab Foundations

A slab foundation is a foundation built directly on the soil with no basement or crawl space. Slab structures prevail in areas where soil conditions are not suitable for a basement, and are the most common foundation discovered in warmer locations such as Florida, Arizona, California and Texas, or anywhere where the depth between the soil and stable hidden rock is extremely shallow. Slabs are the quickest and least expensive foundation because they need less labor, ability and products expense. They consist of a concrete slab that is generally 6 to 8 inches thick. Embedded within the piece is a grid of supporting ribbed metal rods referred to as “rebar.” Even in places where basements are common, slab foundations are typically laid to function as the base for structures like garages, pole barns, and sheds. Pieces are the least costly of the 3 main foundation types however supply no storage or utility area, as the home in fact sits straight on a big platform of solid concrete. Slabs have the disadvantage of being hard and expensive to repair when they settle and split, and pipes lines that protrude from the soil upward through the concrete can also be pricey to repair. In areas where the underlying soil is thick or susceptible to excessive growth and contraction, cables are ingrained which can be tightened up to provide better horizontal support and lessen the width of fractures.

Crawl Space (Pier and Beam) Foundations

A pier and beam foundation consists of either vertical wood or concrete columns (piers) that support beams or flooring joists in the air. The areas in between the soil and the bottom of your house floor is called the crawl area. These structures are built either at ground level or over a shallow excavation that differs in depth, however is commonly about 36 to 40 inches deep. The finest crawl area foundations have a load-bearing concrete boundary wall and concrete or steel piers, both having footings below the freeze line of the soil, in addition to a good barrier over the soil to keep moisture under control. More economical versions have no load-bearing perimeter walls, piers with shallow footings, and no moisture barrier at all over the soil. Crawl spaces that confined by a wall or by skirting need to have vents on every side to permit air to flow and assist keep the soil dry under the home. These vents must be set up to avoid the entry of rodents and snakes. Crawl space structures are frequently used in areas where there is heavy clay content in the soil that can significantly damage (fracture) slab foundations, or in waterside or flood prone structure sites where the needed flooring height to avoid water penetration of the home should be higher than a slab can usually provide. The main benefits of crawl area structures are that pipes lines are easily available for repair work, and foundation settlement problems are simpler and less costly to fix than with slab structures. A main disadvantage takes place when these foundations are not correctly maintained or are built without appropriate ventilation, allowing water or bugs to trigger damage. Crawl space foundations without sufficient insulation used to the bottom of the home flooring can be really energy inefficient in a cold climate.

Basement Foundations

A basement is a kind of foundation that includes an accessible space in between the soil and the bottom of the very first floor of a house. This foundation offers living area below the home, listed below the ground elevation. It is generally a piece foundation with walls and a floor. Basements are frequently built in winter environments such as the Northeast, Midwest and Rocky Mountains, and in locations where the cost of excavation is not prohibitive. Basements begin with a hole roughly 8 feet deep, nevertheless, some property owners will choose a 9 or 10 foot deep basement wall to increase height and volume of useable area. The floor and walls are constructed, then the house itself is built over that. Basement foundations have the advantage of providing helpful space for energies, mechanicals systems, and storage not readily available in the previous two types of foundations. The main downside of basements is that due to the fact that they are primarily below ground level, they are susceptible to leakage, mold formation, and flooding. Basements in damp environments should constantly have a working drain and pump in the floor to fight flooding.

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