3 Common Home Foundations: Pros & Cons

A home’s foundation is a crucial element of the structure. It supports everything above it.

There are three types of foundations to choose from when you are building a house. These are: basement, crawlspace, and slab foundation. The foundation you choose essentially boils down to your budget as well as personal preference.

In this article, the experts from Granite Foundation Repair, a professional foundation repair company in Dallas, discuss the pros and cons of each of the three foundation types to help you make the right decision.

Basement Foundations

A basement foundation is a hollow, below-ground structure that’s designed for living or storage. It’s built by excavating down to about eight feet, then constructing a floor and walls for the resulting space.

Basement foundations are popular along the east coast of the United States.

Unlike other foundations, basement house foundations often require extra materials and time. Because of this, they are often the most expensive option of the three.

The extra expense, however, will result in a better resale value. And, will also make your home easier to maintain in the long run.

Pros of Basement Foundations

  • Provides shelter during extreme weather (tornado’s, hurricane’s, etc)
  • It can be built on a sloping grade
  • Increased re-sale value of home and increased buyer appeal
  • Inexpensive additional square footage, can be finished at a later time
  • Additional storage/workshop
  • HVAC is located in conditioned space (more energy efficient)
  • Easy access for repairs
  • Wood floor structure is softer than concrete

Cons of Basement Foundations

  • Higher likelihood of radon issue
  • Need a sloping lot to build a walkout basement
  • Most expensive to build
  • Lack of natural light (not an issue with walkout basements)
  • You may end up with a flooded basement if you don’t have a sump pump

Pier and Beam Foundations

Majority of homeowners don’t understand what is meant by pier and beam foundation or how it works. Essentially, it’s made up of concrete pillars supporting load-bearing beams.

It has a crawlspace beneath it, that is about eighteen inches high, that includes utilities such as electrical and plumbing units.

Many homebuilders prefer this foundation type because it’s less expensive and is relatively easier to build than others. It’s best used on smaller structures, however.

Pros of Pier and Beam Foundations

  • Workers can easily get underneath a house to repair electrical or plumbing problems
  • Repairing a pier and beam foundation is relatively cheaper over time
  • Offer protection from floods
  • Less chance of damage from ground
  • Easier to find termite damage
  • It’s more comfortable to walk on the floors of this type of foundation

Cons of Pier and Beam Foundations

  • Floors can feel extremely cold during winter because no insulation is underneath it
  • Mildew and mold can develop
  • There is risk of drainage issues

Slab Foundations

Slab foundations are simple to build. They are a concrete pad that’s poured directly onto the ground. This needs little ground preparation, formwork for the concrete and some labor.

Slab foundations are popular in regions where a high water table makes pouring a crawl space or basement unfeasible. Homebuilders also recommend them in warmer climates. This is because freezing temperatures can cause the slab to shift in cold climates.

Similar to other foundations, concrete footers are poured 24 inches below the projected finish grade. Then, a minimum of two layers of concrete block is laid on top of the footers.

Next, the installation of internal pipes is done. Finally, rock fillers are added followed by the pouring of concrete on top.

Pros of Slab Foundations

  • It’s generally cheaper than a pier-and-beam foundation. In many instances, a homebuyer can save up to $10,000 off the cost of the house as opposed to a basement or crawl space foundation.
  • Leaking showers, tubs, or toilets won’t cause rotting on a concrete foundation.
  • This foundation is a better choice for people with handicaps as only one or two steps are involved in entering a house.
  • One benefit of having a slab foundation is that pests and other critters cannot nest underneath your house.
  • Slab homes are often built closer to the ground than homes with basements or pier and beam foundation. This helps reduce the number of steps it takes to enter.
  • A concrete slab can protect a home from termites or other similar insects.

Cons of Slab Foundations

  • Some people find the lower-to-the-ground look of a slab house unattractive.
  • Slabs can crack. If this happens, the structural integrity of your house can become compromised. The repair costs can also run the gamut.
  • Since the home is typically closer to the ground, there is the risk of pests gaining access to your home.
  • Slabs offer minimal shield from storms and other inclement weather events.

There you have it. Pros and cons of the 3 most common home foundations. If you are still unsure about which one to choose, please consider hiring professional services.

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