6 Common Types of Home Foundations
There are six main types of home foundations: Crawl Space, Full Basement, Stone, Concrete Slab, Pier & Bean, and Pier and Beam. Each is designed to meet specific structural, thermal, and radon requirements.
Which foundation type is right for your home depends on a variety of factors, including climate, overall building design, and construction cost. Read on for more information about each type of home foundation.
Crawl Space Foundations
A Crawl Space Foundation elevates your entire home off the ground. It protects you from flooding and other environmental hazards and provides easy access to plumbing, wiring, and mechanical systems. Crawl space foundations are very common in warm climates, and they are especially popular in areas prone to earthquakes. They can also reduce heating costs.
If your home is located in a flood plain, you should avoid a crawl space foundation. You may have to relocate plumbing or even change the floor plan.
A crawl space foundation can also be raised above grade. This type of foundation typically features load-bearing components within the perimeter of the house. These components may be piers or columns made of wood. They should be set on a footing wide enough to support the building's weight.
Basement foundations, on the other hand, often have walls around the perimeter. Older homes may have bricks or stone walls.
Full Basement Foundations
Full basement foundations are typically constructed with a concrete footing that is 12 inches below the frost line. They are also typically constructed with large structural walls around the perimeter of the basement area. Once the footings are in place, foundation walls are erected, and cement slabs are placed inside the basement walls.
Another variation on full basement foundations is the daylight basement. These basements are partially below ground with windows to let in natural light. These are common in properties that are built on a slope. This is particularly useful if you want to create separate entrances or rent out part of the basement.
Daylight basements also provide more living space, and are less expensive than full basement foundations. A daylight basement is also suitable for properties with patios or other basement-accessible rooms.
A full basement foundation requires the most excavation. A full basement foundation will cost approximately $18,500 and up. It can also include waterproofing, French drains, footing drains, and sump pumps. You can expect to pay $30-$40 per square foot for a finished basement. A structural engineer or expert concrete company will be needed to properly assess and design your foundation.
If the damage is beyond repair, it may be possible to save money with an unfinished basement or a simple waterproofing paint job.
Concrete Slab Foundations
Concrete slab foundations are one of the most common styles of home foundations. They involve digging a hole of twelve inches below the finished grade, pouring concrete into it, and reinforcing it with steel beams. Homes are then constructed directly on top of concrete slabs. Because of their cost and ease of construction, this type of home foundation is very popular among homeowners.
While the concrete slab may not appear to have any problems, cracks in the slab can affect the entire structure. Cracks in the concrete slab can affect nearly all types of foundations. Although they're common, the severity of these cracks varies from home to home. Some are minor, and thin cracks typically don't need repair. Crack sealing can cost upwards of $300 per crack.
Compared to other types of home foundations, concrete slabs offer very little flexibility when it comes to repairing leaks. But while concrete slabs are durable, they're not the most attractive option for every homeowner.
If your home is located in a climate with rocky or heavy soil, concrete slab foundations are the way to go. But the disadvantages are low-lying and offer little protection from flooding.
Pier & Bean Foundations
If you're considering putting a new structure on top of an existing one, you may want to learn about pier and beam foundations. These types of foundations allow for easy access to utilities, including electrical wiring and sewer line sleeves. Plus, pier and beam foundations are far easier to repair than a slab. For instance, if a pier is damaged, you can repair it without affecting the rest of the foundation.
Homeowners should always hire licensed concrete contractors to perform repairs on pier and beam foundations. These professionals are well versed in state building codes and can determine the damages that your foundation may have sustained. They will also be able to estimate the costs involved in repairing or replacing the foundation. There are several common problems that can arise, but proper maintenance can make your foundation last for decades. Listed below are the pros and cons of pier and beam foundations.
A post and pier foundation is elevated 18 inches above ground level. This type of foundation provides a crawlspace beneath the home that offers easy access to utilities and air insulation.
Permanent wood foundations are constructed with lumber that has been treated. The wood is treated to resist rot and insects, and it's designed to withstand pressure from the earth. Wood foundations require counterforts, blocking, and backfilling.
Concrete piers are a common solution for basements, but wood foundations have a few additional challenges. They may be susceptible to pests, moisture, and rodents.
Installing concrete piers may require additional labor and heavy equipment. A wood foundation requires minimal preparation and construction time, and can be built even when your home is built with a wood frame. Regardless of how the foundation is built, it is important to consider the climate conditions and your lifestyle when deciding between concrete vs. wood.
Another advantage of wood foundations is that they're more affordable than concrete slabs. Some woods are more insulating than concrete, which can reduce energy bills. However, wood foundations are not as strong as reinforced concrete.
Wood foundations tend to be cheaper, but they're not as stable as concrete slabs. They're prone to moisture seepage and insect infestation, so they're not a good choice for wet climates. But they're worth considering if your budget allows.
Stone foundations can be built using bricks and stones that are eight to sixteen inches thick. This type of foundation requires only moderate height. Block masons can raise the foundation above grade and install concrete forms. Concrete contractors can bring in ready-mix trucks to add additional concrete if necessary. A concrete block on stone foundations is typically faster and easier to install than traditional forms.
In addition to their traditional appearance, stone foundations require periodic maintenance. These may include repointing, filling voids and securing loose stone. Over time, mortar on stone foundations tends to crumble.
Some homeowners may prefer a stone foundation because of the aesthetic appeal. This type of foundation is typically more expensive than the concrete slab-on-grade foundation.
Considerations when choosing a foundation
There are several factors to consider when choosing a home foundation. It should be based on local climate and zones. The type of soil and the amount of rainfall are also factors to consider. Seismic mapping is also an important factor. The location of the house will also affect the combination of dead and live loads. Moreover, the choice of a home foundation depends on the construction material. Nowadays, there are various types of construction materials and trends.
When choosing a home foundation, it is important to consider the surrounding environment and soil. If the ground is too wet or has natural drainage problems, you should consider a different type of foundation. In addition, you should also consider the slope and proximity to water bodies.
A home foundation is the most important part of a house. You should seek the advice of experts who can determine which type of foundation is ideal for your property. Different types of foundation have different pros and cons.