Chances are when you think about building your dream home your thoughts do not immediately turn to its foundation. However, without a sturdy foundation, your home will not last. But what type of foundation should you choose? The type of home foundation you select is important, and you will need one that is ideal for the design of your home as well as the soil you will be building on.
As you make your foundation decision, it is helpful to understand a bit about the various choices and talk to a specialist to learn what type(s) would be best for your home.
Common Home Foundations: Their Pros and Cons
Concrete Slab Foundations
Perhaps the most common type of home foundation, concrete slabs are exactly what they sound like. They may be between four to eight inches thick and will be reinforced with drainage pipes and steel rods. They can be built directly on the soil by simply pouring the concrete into a prepared space; comprised of rigid foam insulation that is designed to prevent the ground below from freezing thus reducing risk of cracks; or, may be concrete footings placed below the frost line and walls with footings reaching the surface of the soil, then topped with the concrete slab.
- Quick, easy, and budget-friendly
- Can be used in nearly any home build
- Minimal maintenance required
- Fire resistant
- Uninviting to pests
- Do not protect against flooding
- Can crack due to significant changes in weather
- Repairs can be difficult to implement
This type of home foundation has an open space that is at least 2 feet off the ground. They can be designed as a stem wall which is a continuous masonry wall or a pier and beam design. The pier and beam design consists of concrete footings that support wood piers and concrete beams that fit between the piers.
- HVAC and plumbing equipment are easily accessed so any repairs are simple to make.
- One of the most durable home foundations, especially in areas with a high groundwater level.
- Provides better protection against water and loose soil
- Allows for airflow beneath the home
- Provides additional storage space
- The ventilation that is great during hot weather also means that it can be difficult to keep the home equally comfortable in cold weather.
- It must be sealed and insulated properly.
- Without proper ventilation water and moisture can be trapped and cause health issues due to mold, dust and other elements.
Typically done by first digging down a minimum of eight feet and then building a floor and walls from concrete. Quite often footings are placed below the frost line and enclosed with a four-inch slab. It can also be insulated to maintain the temperature. A basement is ideal for nearly any location but is especially nice with lots that are sloped.
- Added square footage for your home.
- Natural ventilation underneath your home.
- The most expensive of home foundation types.
- Can be problematic for issues such as flooding, moisture, and mold.
Pier and Beam Foundations
Built using small square or circular pads of concrete placed in strategic locations along your home’s perimeter. The pads are installed and secured in the ground using treated wood posts or steel rods that are connected to the home. This type of home foundation is especially useful for lots of land that is hilly or has unstable soil or sand.
- Excellent support without concerns that accompany basements or crawl spaces.
- Ideal for challenging land areas.
- Repairs are easily made as plumbing, electrical, etc. is easier to access.
- Long-lasting and keep crawling pests away from your home’s structure.
- They might keep out insect-type pests, but small rodents have been known to find their way in.
- You must have proper ventilation or moisture can build up and cause problems.
- Pier foundations can lead to creaking and sagging floors.
- Typically, more expensive.
Still have questions about the best home foundation for your needs? No problem. Talk to the pros at Sherrill Structural Repair. We can help you make a decision. Give us a call today.